This Is Why It's Taken So Long To Add The Name Of The First Australian Killed In WWI To The Commemorative Roll

The grave of Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm. Photo: photo courtesy of Pierre Vandervelten

Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm, now believed to be the first Australian killed in the First World War, had his name added to the Australian War Memorial’s Commemorative Roll today.

The former Sydney Grammar School student served in the British Army and died fighting in one of the earliest battles fought on the Western Front in 1914.

Lieutenant Chisholm was mortally wounded in the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August 1914, just three days after arriving in France, and died the next day, aged 22.

The first Australian uniformed troops to be killed were members of the Australian and Naval Military Expeditionary Force. They died at Bita Plaka in German New Guinea on September 11, 1914.

Chisholm’s descendants had been campaigning to have his service recognised.

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, said the memorial was approached recently regarding the possible eligibility of Lieutenant Chisholm for the Commemorative Roll.

“His name has been added today, along with that of Captain Charles Dalglish, who was also killed in one of the war’s opening battles,” Nelson said.

Charles Antoine De Guerry Dalglish. Image images courtesy of St John’s Beaumont Preparatory School, Berkshire

“The Australian War Memorial acknowledges the service and sacrifice of Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm.”

Lieutenant Chisholm was born in Sydney in 1892, the eldest son of a surgeon. He attended Sydney Grammar School and was commissioned in the New South Wales Scottish Rifles before his family moved to England in 1910.

He was accepted into the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1911. Two years later he was gazetted into the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, and embarked for France in August 1914.

Also added to the roll is the name of Charles Antoine De Guerry Dalglish. Captain Dalglish, 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), was born in Goulburn, New South Wales, in 1883. He served with the regiment in the Boer War, and was later killed in the fighting for the French village of Soblonnières on September 8, 1914.

Almost 59,000 Australians died fighting in the Great War.

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