New Accession: Donald James MacDonald Record of Service Book (1941 to 1945)
A recent donation to the Queensland Memory's Original Content collection is a Record of Service Book and a Demobilization Procedure Book issued to a Queenslander, Donald James MacDonald, on 28 July 1941.
From the Record of Service Book we learn that Corporal MacDonald (whose Army Number was Qx33581) was born on 14 January 1917 in Innisfail. He was a Surveyor's Assistant by trade and his religion was Presbyterian. His address in the 1940s was 6 Bunda Street, Innisfail, his marital status was “S” and his employer was the Main Roads Commission.
5’7” (170 cm) tall, MacDonald weighed 150 pounds (68 kilograms) when he enlisted. He is described as being of fair complexion, with grey eyes and brown hair, and he had a mole on the left shoulder.
The Record of Service Book lists “personal issues” to the soldier. In MacDonald’s case these included: 1 beret, 3 military khaki shirts, 3 pairs of drill trousers, 2 pairs of boots, two identity discs, razors, a lanyard, socks and an anti-gas cape. His “personal equipment” included: a bayonet, a rifle, water bottles, a haversack, sheets and a tent.
We also learn that on 25 of September 1944 Corporal MacDonald had chest x-rays. Between 1941 and 1944 he received vaccinations for tetanus and cholera, and in 1944 he suffered from malaria.
Donald James MacDonald’s Demobilization Procedure Book contains his education record. He attended Millaa Millaa State School for seven years, finishing in 1930.
These official documents naturally do not tell us much about Corporal MacDonald as a civilian. Looking at the photograph of the man, it is difficult not to wonder how he spent the rest of his life. Did he marry after the war? Did he have children? Did he live a happy and fulfilled life or did his experience of the war leave him psychologically scarred, as was the case with many men of his generation?