Graham Stuart SHIPWAY

SHIPWAY, Graham Stuart

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 7 July 1916, Victor Harbor, South Australia
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Army Medical Corps (AIF)
Born: Victor Harbor, South Australia, 26 February 1889
Home Town: Victor Harbor, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Victor Harbor Public School and Prince Alfred College, South Australia
Occupation: Medical practitioner
Died: Natural causes, Victor Harbor, South Australia , 26 January 1956, aged 66 years
Cemetery: Victor Harbor General Cemetery, S.A.
Memorials: Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Victor Harbor Congregational Church Roll of Honor, Victor Harbor War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

7 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, Medical Officers, Victor Harbor, South Australia
10 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Camel Field Ambulance, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
10 May 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, Camel Field Ambulance, HMAT Boorara, Melbourne
8 Aug 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, Army Medical Corps (AIF)

Suggestion For Victor War Memorial,

From The Advertiser Wednesday 15 January 1947

Suggestion For Victor War Memorial, Victor Harbor January 14

That the Victor Harbor war memorial should take the form of an illuminated cross to be erected at Granite Island, was suggested at a special meeting of the local RSL, sub-branch and it was decided to recommend the plan to the public. At the same meeting Mr. B. Walters, was appointed president of the sub-branch, in place of Dr. Graham Shipway who filled the position for 15 years. Dr. Shipway was appointed patron, and Mr. W. W. Jenkins vice-president.


History of Dr Graham

Major Graham Stuart Shipway
Graham Stuart Shipway was born in Victor Harbor on 26 February 1889, the eldest of two children of Cornelius John Shipway and Agnes Ann Shipway (nee Graham). He was educated at Victor Harbor Public School and undertook his secondary school studies as a board at Prince Alfred College, where after he was admitted to the University of Adelaide Medical School. After completion of his medical studies and internship he returned to Victor Harbor to practice medicine with Dr Frank Douglas, a Boer War veteran.

Dr Shipway enlisted in the AIF on 7 July 1916, age 27, and was commissioned as a captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps. His service file states he could ride a horse and spoke German. He underwent his medical examination on 20 July 1916, the examining doctor was Capt Geoffrey Penrose Arnold. Graham’s description from his service medical history sheet reveals his:
Height 5 feet 9 ½ inches
Weight 11 stone
Chest measurement 35-39
Vision R 6/6 L 6/6 with glasses

Captain Shipway entrained to Seymour, Victoria, to the base of the newly formed Camel Brigade Field Ambulance, and arrived there on 8 February 1917. During the new three months The unit embarked from Melbourne aboard the HMAT A42 Boorara on 10 May 1917, and all troops disembarked at Port Suez on 22 June 1917. He was detached to the Isolation Camp at Moascar in Egypt until 28 July, and thereafter he was appointed adjutant of the Australian Camel Brigade Field Ambulance. On 20 October, he was posted to the 4th Anzac Battalion Imperial Camel Corps.

The men of the Imperial Camel Corps, known as the ICC, had a rough reputation, largely because when the Corps was originally formed Australian battalion commanders had seized upon it as an opportunity to offload some of their more difficult characters. In 1917 a British supply dump at Rafa was warned to double their guards as the ICC was going to be camped nearby. The men of the ICC were, however, resourceful and effective. While defending a hill called Musallabeh in April 1918, some Australians of the ICC ran out of hand grenades. They resorted to heaving boulders down upon the attacking Turks and eventually fought them off. The hill became known as the “Camel’s Hump”.

Lt Col George Langley DSO, former CO of the 1st Australian Camel Battalion, author of the book Sand, Sweat and Camels (published in 1976) described the mode of ambulance transport in the desert by the Light Horse Regiments and Camel Corps where motorised transport was not available.
To cope with the variety of terrain the Light Horse Field Ambulance had sand carts and sledges whilst the Camel Corps had cacolets.

The sand cart was a broad wheeled, light vehicle drawn by horses, resembling a wire mattress on wheels with a hood. This generally carried two patients but in an emergency, four or five could be placed on a sand cart.
Cacolets were used on camels where the terrain was difficult and there were two kinds.

The “sitting-up’ cacolet consisted of two chairs, slung one on each side of the camel. The ‘lying down’ cacolet took the form of two stretchers. With the swaying and stumbling of the camel these devices did not contribute to a comfortable or smooth ride for the patient and were only used when no other method of conveyance was available. Extreme suffering was inflicted on the wounded in the course of transport and the broken nature of the ground slowed up considerably the process of collecting the wounded. All the medical equipment was carried on baggage camels, at the rear of the brigade, and an ambulance tent division formed a dressing station at a point some miles from the actual fighting.

On 16 January 1918, Capt Shipway returned to the Camel Brigade Field ambulance. He was detached to the Officer School at Moascar in early March for a one-week course and then returned to his unit, remaining there until 1 July 1918, when he was posted to the 5th Light Horse Field Ambulance. By this time the Imperial Camel Corps had been disbanded.

When the Allied offensive was launched along the coast of Palestine in September 1918, the 5th Light Horse took part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan. It attacked at Amman on 25 September, and on 29 September, 4,500 Turks surrendered to just two squadrons from the Regiment at Ziza.
On 17 October, Capt Shipway was evacuated to the English Hospital in Damascus with malaria. He was discharged and returned to his unit on 4 November. Turkey had surrendered on 31 October 1918, but the 5th Light Horse was employed one last time to assist in putting down the Egyptian revolt of early 1919.

Promoted to temporary major on 7 February 1919, he remained on the AIF List in the Middle East until 2 August 1919 when he was granted paid leave to attend the Royal Bristol Infirmary at Bristol, England, sailing from Port Said on the HT Caledonia. At this time he relinquished his major’s rank and reverted to captain. Capt Shipway remained in England on paid leave until 16 April 1920 when he sailed for Australia aboard HT Hororata.

Major Shipway was demobilised on 8 August 1920. He had served 1,494 days in the AIF of which 1,142 days were served abroad. He was later awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Dr Shipway resumed his medical practice in Victor Harbor. He married Hilda Elizabeth Reynolds on 15 March 1922 at St Augustine’s Church, Unley and there were three children of the marriage. Dr Shipway was a foundation member of the Victor Harbor RSL, its first patron and president from 1931-1946. During the Second World War he was the area medical officer.

Dr Shipway died on 26 January 1956, age 66. He is buried in the Victor Harbor Cemetery.

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Annette Summers

SHIPWAY Graham Stuart MB BS


Graham Stuart Shipway was born on the 26th February 1889 at Victor Harbor, South Australia. He was the son of postmaster Cornelius John Shipway, of Meningie and later Victor Harbor and his wife Agnes Ann, nee Graham of “Glenwreath” Long Valley, Strathalbyn.  He had a brother John and sister Margaret. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide graduating in 1916.

Shipway joined the AAMC in July 1916 and enlisted in the AIF on 5th February 1917 after completing his residency. He was 26 years old, single, and his father was named as his next of kin. He was 5ft 9ins tall, and weighed 11st, of dark complexion, green eyes and dark hair. He could ride and had a fair proficiency in German.  He was posted to the Australian Camel Brigade Field Ambulance (ACBFA) and embarked on the ‘Itria’ from Sydney for the Middle East in May. He was appointed adjutant of the unit in September 1917 and one story of his escapades said; “he infiltrated enemy lines on his camel in the dead of night to steal drugs for the patients he was looking after, as supplies had failed to arrive.” Shipway was detached to 4 Bn ICC as RMO from October 1917 until January 1918. He transferred to 5 LHFA when the ACBFA was disbanded in August 1918. When the FdAmb reached Damascus in October 1918, Shipway fell victim to malaria, and was admitted to the English Hospital in Damascus. He was promoted temporary major in May 1919, and left Egypt for England with a group of casualties. He was granted study leave in England, and used the time to work at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. There he met one of the first two female medical graduates of Bristol University, Hilda Elizabeth Reynolds. Shipway returned to Australia in April 1920 with his appointment terminated on the 8th August 1920. On discharge Shipway was granted the honorary rank of major. He had served for 1494 days with 1142 abroad. Shipway was issued with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He set up practice in Victor Harbor. Hilda followed and the couple were married in 1922 at Unley and had four children, Mary, Phyllis, Gerald, and Margaret. He became a prominent member of the community, was a trustee of the newly built Victor Harbor and South Coast District Hospital in 1925, and was President of the Sub Branch of the RSL for 15 years.  He is noted with Dr W A Verco, as a prominent exhibitor at the Inman Valley Flower Show in 1935, and a member of the Council of the Victor Harbor High School. He was a visiting MO at the South Coast Hospital, and in 1938 was President of the Recruiting Committee for the CMF. The Victor Harbor Rifle Club had a competition for the Dr G S Shipway Trophy. Hilda helped in the Red Cross and also helped him in his practice; they were both well-known and much loved in Victor Harbor.  Graham Stuart Shipway died in 1956 and is buried at Victor Harbor.


Blood, Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australia, who Served in World War 1. 

Verco, Summers, Swain, Jelly. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2014. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD