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Robert George McDowall

The second lady from left is my aunty Pat who was Robert's wife

Wife - Pat

Image may be subject to copyright restrictions. [email protected]

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

Civilian life

About birth

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

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    • WW2
      North Africa, Africa AWMM
      Nov 1941-Apr 1945 AWMM
    • WW2 POW - Stalag VII-A, Moosburg, Germany AWMM
    • WW2
      13 December 1941 AWMM
    • WW2 POW - Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg, modern day Mühlberg ad Elbe, Germany 2NZEF, Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. N.Z. 1945.
      Germany, Europe 2NZEF, Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. N.Z. 1945.
    • WW2 POW - P.G. 57, Gruppignano, Udine, Italy Italy Imperial POW Alphabetical List
      Italy, Europe Italy Imperial POW Alphabetical List
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
    WW2 1 April 1945 AWMM Liberated by Russian Army AWMM
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number
    WWII 228234 AWMM

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

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

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    Drumm, Angus. Prisoner of War Camps WWII. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 9 March 2021.
    https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/features/studentship
    Further Reference
  • References
    • 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
    • McDowell, Robert George. Red Cross parcel receipt, 1942. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-2010-12. AWMM
    • Scars on the heart: two centuries of New Zealand at war AWMM
      Pugsley, C. (1996)., pp. 242-43. AWMM
    • Tagg, Mary Alison. The Prisoner Padre : The impact of war on a New Zealand cleric, 1997. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 98/78. AWMM
    • McDowell, Robert George. Papers. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-874. AWMM
    • McDowall, Robert George. Prisoner of war diary. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 97/27. AWMM
    • Tagg, Mary Alison. The Prisoner Padre : The impact of war on a New Zealand cleric, 1997. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 98/78. AWMM
    • List of 2NZEF Prisoners of War. 1941-1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2009/8. AWMM
    • Great Britain Army. (1945). Germany and German occupied territories : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. London, U.K.: Government Printer. AWMM
    • Rev. M. L. Underhill ... [et al.] (1950). New Zealand chaplains in the Second World War. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
    • Great Britain Army. (1945). Italy : imperial prisoners of war alphabetical list : section 4. London, U.K.: Government Printer. AWMM

Contributors

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
31 March 2024JudithInvercargill New ZealandDirect descendant

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