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Online Cenotaph

Robert George McDowall

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  • Service number
    26343 AWMM
  • Also known as
    • Bob AWMM
    • McDowell AWMM
  • Force
    Army AWMM
  • Last rank
    Chaplain Class III (Major) AWMM
    New Zealand Chaplains Department AWMM
  • War
    World War II, 1939-1945 AWMM

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Robert George AWMM
  • Surname
    McDowall AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Bob AWMM
    • McDowell AWMM
  • Service number
    26343 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion
    Presbyterian, Christian AWMM

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Date of birth
    27 December 1898 AWMM
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Occupation before enlistment
    WW2 Minister of Religion AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown 134 Remuera Road, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Frances Mary McDowall (wife), 134 Remuera Road, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown Married AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
    World War II, 1939-1945 AWMM
  • Campaigns
  • Force
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    26343 AWMM
  • Military service
    • New Zealand Medical Corps, 3 New Zealand General Hospital AWMM
    • New Zealand Artillery, 7 Anti Tank Regiment AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Miilitary decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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  • Embarkation details
    WW2 Chaplain Class IV (Captain) AWMM
    New Zealand Chaplains Department AWMM
    Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force AWMM

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    • WW2 POW - Udine, Italy. AWMM
      Italy AWMM
    • POW - Stalag IVB, Muhlberg-on-Elbe, Germany. AWMM
      Germany AWMM
    • POW - Stalag VII-A Moosburg, Germany AWMM
      Germany AWMM
  • Days interned
    Nov 1941-Apr 1945 AWMM
  • Liberation date
  • POW liberation details
    WW2 1 April 1945 AWMM
    Liberated by Russian Army AWMM
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank
    Chaplain Class III (Major) AWMM
    New Zealand Chaplains Department AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Bob McDowall was a Presbyterian padre with 2nd New Zealand Division in North Africa during the 'Crusader' offensive in November 1941. During the battle he went with Paddy, his driver, from dressing station to dressing station, narrowly avoiding German armoured columns, to assist with the wounded and bury the dead, regardless of nationality, until they were taken prisoner, the fate of many hundreds of New Zealanders in the desert campaign. McDowall was imprisoned at Udine in Italy. It was a time of frustration in adjusting to prison life, hoping his letters were getting through to his wife Pat and his daughter Mary and being unable to help other prisoners as much as he wanted to.

    On the surrender of the Italian forces in September, McDowall was sent to Germany where he was imprisoned at Stalag IVB at Muhlburg. He remained there for the rest of the war, except for a brief stay at Stalag VIIA at Eichstatt. Mulburg was built for 13,000 but held 33,000 mainly Russian and Italian prisoners; there was also a seperate compound for the RAF and Allied prisoners. McDowall ran classes, conducted services, visited the sick and buried the dead.

    Finally, in late April 1945, Muhlburg was liberated by the advancing Russian armies.

    McDowall's name has been misspelt as McDowell in the Scars on the heart exhibition and the Pugsley (1966) publication. All war records spell his name McDowall.

    Auckland War Memorial Museum has on display a number of items related to McDowall's period as a prisoner of war. These include a funeral conducted by McDowall, memorablia from Stalag IVB, and some of the copies of hymns McDowall carefully wrote for his congregation on whatever paper was available. The items can be viewed in 'In the Bag' of the 'Scars on the Heart' exhibition. McDowall is also quoted in the exhibition, 'We walked on a clear frosty morning to the cemetery. Our funeral was first and after a photograph I conducted and then the shots were fired and then the last post and reveille.' AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Age at death
  • Date of death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference
  • Obituary

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Haigh, J. (1983). Men of faith and courage: the official history of the New Zealand Chaplains Department. Auckland, N.Z.: The Word Publishers. AWMM
    • Scars on the heart: two centuries of New Zealand at war AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 3: WW2 291 AWMM
    • Scars on the heart: two centuries of New Zealand at war AWMM
      Pugsley, C. (1996)., pp. 242-43. AWMM