As Major in the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry, Chauvel served with distinction in the Boer War (South African War, 1899-1902) was 'Mentioned in Dispatches' (16 April 1901), and was made a member of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. He went on to command the 7th Australian Commonwealth Horse in the war.
During World War One he led the First Light Horse Brigade (serving as infantry) at Gallipoli where he went on to command an Infantry Division.
After the withdrawal from Gallipoli he was appointed G.O.C Australian Imperial Force troops in Egypt, (1916/19) and also commanded the Desert Mounted Corps (1917/19) with great success. Chauvel's command of the Desert Mounted Corps is perhaps best remembered for the role it played in the capture of Beersheba in October 1917. In the last great cavalry charge of the twentieth century the Australian Light Horse charged entrenched Turkish defenders armed with artillery and machine guns.
After the war Chauvel held various staff appointments and was promoted to General in 1929. He retired in 1930.
Records of Australian Contingents to the War in South Africa 1899-1902. Murray. Department of Defence Australia 1911
The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. Bean. University of Queensland Press.
Chauvel of the Light Horse. Alec Hill. 1978.