Story by Charles Miranda Forever young … Lt William Chisholm is buried in France. Source: News Corp Australia French authorities believe they have identified the first Australian to have died during World War I as they prepare to honour the sacrifice made by the then young national from the other side of the world.
Forever young…Lt William Chisholm is buried in France – Source: News Corp Australia
The Australian War Memorial has long listed the first Australian fatalities of the Great War as being sailors from the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force during the landing on German New Guinea in September 1914.
But officials in France tasked with WWI commemorations say the first Australian to die in theGreat War was Sydney man Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm who died some weeks earlier in the Battle of Le Cateau — the first clash of Allied soldiers on French soil.
The finding of his name and grave in a civilian cemetery came after researching the battle and found a street in the northern French town of Ligny en Cambresis named “Chisholm” which piqued their interest.
They found it was named after the family including the soldier’s mother Emma Isabel Chisholm Mitchell who died in Sydney in 1928, but whose ashes were reinterred by her husband, respected Macquarie Street doctor William Chisholm, so she could rest next to their son.
“We are pretty sure this is now the first Australian to die in World War I, certainly the first to die in the campaign here in France,” said Delphine Bartier from France’s northern district tasked with WWI commemoration promotion.
“We were quite excited when we put it altogether and realised he was possibly the first. We were interested in the Le Cateau battle of 1914 and we popped into a small cemetery and realised this was the first battle of the war that an Australian took part we thought he must be the first Australian to die in the Great War. So for us it was exciting to find that some Australians were here in France before 1916.”
Ms Bartier said if it had been known at the time it had largely been forgot over the years but they would single it out now for commemoration.
The former Sydney Grammer boy was an army cadet in Sydney and also a lieutenant of the NSW Scottish Rifles. The family moved to the UK when the father got a job at a London hospital and William joined Sandhurst military college in 1911 and joined the Lancashire Regiment a year later.
On August 26, 1914 with the British troops in retreat from the battle of Mons in Belgium they faced the German artillery at Cateau Cambresis. In a matter of hours from the 40,000 British troops that took part, 9000 were listed as dead or wounded with 2500 taken prisoner. Lt Chisholm had only arrived at Le Cateau at 5pm on the 25th and took action from 4am but by 3pm had been shot in the stomach and died the next day. He died at the age of 22.
August 29, 2014: Australian endurance athlete, John Van Wisse has broken the record for the Arc to Arc triathlon – which involved a 34km swim across a rough English channel, a 140km run and a 289km ride – by 12 hours. The event starts with an 87 mile run from London’s Marble Arch to the Dover coast, then the athletes must swim across the English Channel to the French coast, and finally the athletes finishes with a 181 mile bike from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. For this challenge, the clock starts at Marble Arch and stops at Arc de Triomphe. John battled hurricane force winds as he swam across the channel, but with the help of his Australian team was successful in smashing the record for the world’s longest triathlon.
Mr Rafai, underscored the progress made by Australia in converging with UNWTO main policy requirements during his recent visit to Australia. He congratulated the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb and his team for their comittment to review taxation in the sector and facilitate visas. Mr Rafai concluded, ‘ The transversal nature of tourism calls for a broad focus of tourism policy, interacting with a set of general policy measures; Australia shows how it can be done’.