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Remembering World War II
Donald William Chisholm
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Name: Donald William Chisholm Rank: Private Service Number: N67794 Service: 8th Garrison Battalion (Coast Defense), Australian Army Date of Birth: February 19, 1878 Place of Birth: Antigonish, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: October 11, 1939 Place of Enlistment: Kurri Kurri, New South Wales Age at Enlistment: 61 Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Hair color: Gray Eye color: Blue Occupation: Master tailor Next of Kin: Olive Grace Chisholm (Wife) Date of Death: June 29, 1941 Age: 62 Cemetery: Sandgate General Cemetery, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Roman Catholic Section 62, Grave 62 Donald Chisholm was the son of James William Chisholm (1850-1930) and Catherine Chisholm (1845- 1890), and the husband of Olive Grace of Berowra, New South Wales, Australia. His father was born in New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. His mother was also born in Nova Scotia. Donald was a veteran of the Boer War in South Africa (Natal) and served with the Hussars of the Line, Cavalry. Donald married Olive Grace Miller of Sandgate, Kent, in 1910 in Elham in Kent, England. Donald and Olive departed England on October 25, 1911, for Australia aboard the SS Wakool (of the P&O Line), and arrived in Sydney, Australia on December 22, 1911. They settled in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and had one son Donald (1927-1991). Donald Chisholm enlisted for service in WWII on October 11, 1939, and served as an Australian Army tailor with the 8th Garrison Battalion. After initially enlisting in Kurri Kurri, he completed his induction at Broadmeadow; both in New South Wales. Garrison Battalions were part of the Australian 'Army Reserve' within the Militia structure for Homeland Defence with the role of manning fixed defences and vulnerable points. The personnel were Class B men, those between 48 and 55 who had seen war service before September 1939, therefore mostly WW1 veterans. The first seven Garrison battalions were raised in October 1939, including Donald on October 11th. Initially, all Garrison Battalions wore the same shoulder patch, a black square on a green square. Donald’s date of birth is February 19, 1878, but on some of his Australian records it reads as 1887. He may have provided the wrong date of birth to appear younger than he was. By providing 1887 as his year of birth, it made it appear he was 52 in 1939, and therefore eligible for Garrison Battalion enlistment. The 8th Garrison Battalion was raised in New South Wales and throughout the war was responsible for coastal defence in and around the Newcastle region. On March 8, 1941, Donald was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant (Tailor), but reverted to the rank of Private on March 22, 1941, at his own request. On April 28, 1941, he was admitted to the Newcastle District Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, for investigation of an illness. It was determined he had cancer, and Private Donald William Chisholm died June 29, 1941, of his illness. He was interred at the Sandgate Cemetery in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Donald Chisholm's name also appears on panel 77 of the Roll of Honour in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.