Lieutenant General Sir Leslie James Morshead, (18 September 1889 – 26 September 1959) was an Australian soldier, teacher, businessman, and farmer, whose military career spanned both world wars.
During the Second World War, he led the Australian and British troops at the Siege of Tobruk (1941) and at the Second Battle of El Alamein, achieving decisive victories over Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps.
A strict and demanding officer, his soldiers nicknamed him "Ming the Merciless", later simply "Ming", after the villain in the Flash Gordon comics.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Morshead resigned his teaching position and his commission in the Cadet Corps to travel to Sydney and enlist as a private in the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force.
He was commissioned as a lieutenant in September.
He landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and his battalion made the farthest advance of any Australian unit that day.
Invalided to Australia, he became commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion, which he led on the Western Front at Messines, Passchendaele, Villers-Bretonneux, and Amiens.
Between the wars Morshead made a successful business career with the Orient Steam Navigation Company, and remained active in the part-time Militia, commanding battalions and brigades.
In 1939, he was appointed to command the 18th Infantry Brigade of the 6th Division in the Second Australian Imperial Force.
In 1941, he became commander of the 9th Division, which he led in the Siege of Tobruk and the Second Battle of El Alamein.
He returned to Australia in 1943, where he was appointed to command II Corps, which he led during the New Guinea campaign.
In 1945, he commanded I Corps in the Borneo campaign.