Service Numbers: SX27205, S40117
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Prospect South Australia, 23 June 1912
Home Town: Torrensville, South Australia
Schooling: Unley High School, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Kensington Gardens South Australia, 1995, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Captain, SN SX27205
3 Sep 1939: Involvement Captain, SN S40117
5 Mar 1946: Discharged
Date unknown: Honoured Military Cross

Help us honour James David Fotheringham 's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Annette Summers


1912 – 1995

James David Fotheringham was born, on 29th January 1912 in Prospect, SA. He was the only son of David Fotheringham.  He was educated at Unley High School and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, graduating MB BS in 1937. He married Lorna May Scoble on 15th April 1939 at the Norwood Wesley Church.  She was the only daughter of Mr and Mrs J Scoble of Kensington Park. Before joining the Army, Fotheringham was a divisional medical officer in the St John Ambulance Brigade from 1940.

Fotheringham first joined the AAMC in early 1941 and was called up for full-time duty with 3rd FdAmb, on 16th December 1941.  He was living in Henley Beach Road, Torrensville, SA, at the time.  He was sent with 3rd FdAmb to 8 MD, Port Moresby, on 3rd January 1942.  Fotheringham recalled that he had no Army experience at the time and within a couple of days he boarded the Aquitania for PNG and saying goodbye to his wife and his baby son Brian. He was evacuated to Murray Barracks with dysentery within two weeks of arriving in PNG.  He remained with 3rd FdAmb in 8 MD until he transferred to the 2/AIF in September 1942. Allotted to 49 Bn, along the Goldie River, in PNG, he commenced intensive training, with long route marches. Fotheringham was flown, over the Owen Stanley Ranges, with his unit, to Sanananda on 2nd December 1942.  49 Bn was engaged in a fateful battle on 7th December 1942, fourteen officers and two hundred and fifteen men were killed or wounded, amounting to nearly 40% of the Bn.  Fotheringham had set up an aid post and despite, by his admission, his inexperience, with battle casualties, his actions throughout this time were exemplary and he was recommended for the Military Cross; this was awarded on 23rd December 1943. The citation stated; On the morning of 7 December, during a Battalion attack, his RAP came under intense MG [machine gun] and sniper fire which continued throughout the day. Capt. Fotheringham carried out his work with conspicuous gallantry without any regard for his personal safety and on that day treated over 200 casualties.  Throughout the time the Battalion was in action Capt. Fotheringham was conspicuous by his gallant and distinguished actions.  He was admitted to 105 AMH in Adelaide, in July 1943, with malaria, which he had contracted in PNG.  He was reposted to 101 AGH, but remained allotted to 105 AMH, after his discharge from hospital. He attended a chemical warfare course in August 1943 and was briefly attached to 16 FdAmb. Because of his malaria, he had several hospital admissions and was allotted to 105 AMH. Fotheringham continued to be plagued by sickness throughout 1944 and worked in 105 AMH, as a psychiatrist, in between admissions to hospital.  His medical classification was downgraded in November 1944, but he was returned to a medically fit classification in January 1945.  He was sent for temporary duty in NSW and WA but returned to 105 AMH and was promoted to temporary major, psychiatrist, on 30th October 1945.  His appointment was terminated on 5th March 1946.

Following the war, Fotheringham took up practice in psychiatry and became an honorary assistant psychiatrist at the RAH.  He continued with the St John Ambulance Brigade after the war and became the Commissioner of St John Ambulance Brigade, SA from 1946 until 1973. He was a member of the Thebarton Rotary Club, the Royal Overseas Club and the Royal Commonwealth Society.  He was living in Kensington Gardens in 1977.  James David Fotheringham died on 23rd June 1995.


Blood, Sweat and Fears III: Medical Practitioners South Australia, who Served in World War 2. 

Swain, Jelly, Verco, Summers. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2019. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD