David MacDonald STEELE MC and Bar, MID

STEELE, David MacDonald

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 11 October 1915
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 13th Field Ambulance
Born: East Adelaide, South Australia, 9 January 1886
Home Town: Burra (SA), Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College and University of Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Practioner
Died: Natural causes, Tusmore South Australia, 25 February 1964, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Grange Public School Roll of Honor, Henley Beach Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

10 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, Medical Officers, Melbourne, Victoria
11 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 1st Australian General Hospital, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 1st Australian General Hospital, HMAT Nestor, Melbourne
11 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 1st Australian General Hospital
28 Feb 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 13th Field Ambulance
23 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, 13th Field Ambulance

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers

STEELE David MacDonald MC and Bar MB BS


David MacDonald Steele was born on the 9th January 1886, son of Robert Moore Steele and Theresa, nee O’Leary of Jeffcott St, North Adelaide. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide graduating in 1909. He was a house surgeon at Brisbane General Hospital returning to South Australia where, on the 21st May 1911, he took over the practice of Alexander Ruan Caw in Burra.

Steele applied for a Commission in the AIF on the 5th October 1915 at 4 MD, Adelaide. Adelaide with his postal address, Kooringa, SA, aged 29 years, 5ft 6ins tall, and weighed 9st 2lbs. He nominated his father of Jeffcott Street, North Adelaide as his next of kin. He was posted captain to 1 AGH, Heliopolis, Egypt. He embarked from Melbourne on the 11th October 1915 arriving in England on the 5th November 1915. During his service with the AIF overseas he spent 3 months at 1 AGH in Egypt followed by 13 months as a RMO with the 16th Bn until March 1917. It was during this period that on the 25th October 1916, he was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of the evacuation of the wounded from a whole divisional front during thirteen days operations. On several occasions when it was impossible to bring casualties through by the existing route he personally inspected the new line of evacuation on each occasion and made admirable arrangement for getting them clear and avoiding further casualties.  His next postings were RMO to the 52Bn for 2 months and other short postings during 1917 to 49Bn and 52Bn and finally 13 FdAmb. During this time, on 15th December 1917, he was awarded Bar to his Military Cross whilst attached to the 49 Bn.  He was promoted major in July 1918 and Mentioned in Despatches in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch of 8th November 1918. He returned to Australia in April 1919 with his service terminated on the 23rd June 1919. Steele was issued with the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal with Oak Leaves.

Steele returned to Burra after the war and remained in practice there for over thirty years, resigning in 1946. He was the first president of the Burra High School Council and retained this post for 26 years. Steele House won the High School Swimming Carnival just prior to his death and a minutes silence was observed. He showed a keen interest in education and encouraged “give boys and girls every chance, this was a duty parents owed the child and the nation” He was interested in golf, tennis and bowls in Burra and his Koo-owie Merino Stud which he relinquished in 1963 to Barton Hill Proprietors. David MacDonald Steele died on the 25th February 1964, aged 78 years, at Tusmore, South Australia. He was survived by his wife, two sons Dr D M Steele of Strathalbyn and Mr J R Steele and a daughter Mrs George Mollard-Humphrys. His brothers Dr Kenneth Nugent Steele and Dr Donald MacDonald Steele also served in WW1.


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