Douglas Murray (Dougy) MCWHAE CMG, CBE, MiD

MCWHAE, Douglas Murray

Service Numbers: Officer, W237373
Enlisted: 14 August 1914, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Colonel
Last Unit: Army Medical Corps (AIF)
Born: Lancefield, Victoria, Australia, 28 May 1884
Home Town: Maylands, Bayswater, Western Australia
Schooling: Toorak Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar School, Melbourne University, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Perth, Western Australia, 22 September 1969, aged 85 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery & Crematorium, Western Australia
Cremated at Karrakatta Crematorium, his ashes were scattered over garden at Karrakatta Cemetery.
Memorials: Crawley University of Western Australia Honour Roll, Lancefield State School No 707 Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

14 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, Medical Officers, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
2 Nov 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance, HMAT Medic, Fremantle
2 Nov 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Officer, 3rd Field Ambulance, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '22' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Medic embarkation_ship_number: A7 public_note: ''
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Officer, 3rd Field Ambulance, ANZAC / Gallipoli
27 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, Officer, 3rd Field Ambulance, ANZAC / Gallipoli, Shrapnel wound to the forehead and right eye at Gaba Tepe
5 Aug 1915: Honoured Mention in Dispatches
6 Feb 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, Australian Army Medical Corps WW1
1 Jan 1918: Honoured Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
12 Feb 1918: Honoured Mention in Dispatches
11 Nov 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Colonel, Australian Army Medical Corps WW1
1 Jan 1919: Honoured Commander of the Order of the British Empire
12 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Colonel, Officer, Australian Army Medical Corps (WW2)
12 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Colonel, Army Medical Corps (AIF)

World War 2 Service

18 Nov 1939: Enlisted Colonel, W237373, Perth, Western Australia
18 Nov 1939: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Colonel, W237373
11 Jun 1943: Discharged Colonel, W237373

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Douglas McWhae practised as a consultant physician from his home at the top of St George’s Terrace, Perth, where his children’s friends who lived nearby were sometimes invited to lunch. They sat at a large table replete with finger bowls, a rarity even then, and Dr McWhae while carving at the sideboard would engage the children in conversation. His mild air and charm and distinction were accentuated by his monocle, but it was only later appreciated that he wore it because he had lost an eye in the landing at Gallipoli.

Born in Victoria, he went to school at Toorak Grammar and Melbourne Grammar School and proceeded to the University of Melbourne where he spent part of his time at Trinity College. He excelled scholastically, gaining first-class honours in every subject except for his second-class in biology. He proceeded to MD in 1908 and then into general practice in Perth, intending to specialise in surgery. But in 1914 he went to Egypt with the 1st Division of the AIF and in 1915 his unit was landed in row-boats about 500 yards north of Anzac Cove. In an Anzac Day radio interview many years later he recalled the troops lying in the bottom of the boats and the water stained with the soldiers’ blood. Late that day he was struck in the head by flying shrapnel which necessitated the removal of his right eye while he was being transported back to Alexandria. The disorganised socket was reconstructed with the use of mucous membrane from the mouth by plastic surgeon Cargill.

His aspirations for a surgical career at an end, on the advice of Dr (later Sir) Thomas Dunhill, he turned his attention to medicine. He was appointed SMO in charge of convalescent units and later ADMS Headquarters AIF Command in the United Kingdom, being responsible for clearing casualties for invaliding back to Australia, and on the other hand hardening those fit to return to their units. Under his command were reinforcements, hospitals and AAMC training units totalling in all about 50,000 personnel. After the War he attained his MRCP in London and returned to Australia. There is considerable reference to his work as ADMS AIF depots in the official history of the Australian medical services.

His later career in Perth included the position of honorary physician at Perth Hospital and the Children’s Hospital and chairman of the visiting board at the Claremont Mental Hospital and the board of Lemnos Hospital for thirty-six years. He was a foundation Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians as well as a member and director of numerous public and private organisations. From 1925 to 1941 he was DDMS Western Command and during the Second World War his numerous responsibilities included a casualty clearing station, an ambulance train, camp hospitals at Karrakatta, Point Walter, Rottnest naval base and Northam. In 1942 as DDMS he was raised to the rank of brigadier and was responsible for arrangements for possible casualties from Japanese attacks.

His wife Gwynnyth Muriel, daughter of Dr Hope, Commissioner of Public Health of Western Australia, was educated at Godolphin School, England, and was studying in Dresden at the outbreak of World War I. She was in the last group of English people to leave Germany after the outbreak of hostilities. She carried out VAD work throughout the War and they met at the initial Anzac Ball at Salisbury in 1919. She was of the greatest assistance to him personally and in a secretarial capacity. Richard Hillary, the author of The Last Enemy, the famous moving book about the Battle of Britain, was her nephew.

Douglas McWhae was made Chevalier de la Legion d’honneurin 1915, CMG in 1918, CBE in 1919 and VD after ten years in the service. He was honorary physician to the King from 1941 to 1945. In 1938 he attended the unveiling of the AIF memorial at Villers Bretonneux and had the unique distinction for a medical officer of succeeding to the command of the Fourth Division, replacing General Hobbs who died at sea on his way there. Not only was Dr McWhae a man of quiet distinction but so was his car, a Nash which although not one of Perth’s first motor vehicles, was venerable. During Dougie’s whole professional career in Perth it continued to carry licence plate no.3.