b. 13/09/1922 Timaru, New Zealand. d. 28/10/1969 Waimate, New Zealand.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 22/06/1943 Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Donald was born in Timaru, and was educated to Fairview School. He then became a farmhand and labourer, before enlisting with the New Zealand Army at the onset of World War II. On 20th May 1942 he transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy, serving on HMNZS Achilles as a Stoker. Having become the only member of the RNZN recipient of the Albert Medal, he was discharged in 1946. He then married Lois Chamberlain and they had four children. In 1953 he attended the Queen’s Coronation in London.
When there was a bad explosion in his ship in dock, Dale, as all anti-smoke apparatus was already in use, tied a handkerchief round his mouth, and went down into a smoke-filled compartment, from which he helped to rescue four workmen. He then came up for a spell, after which he went down in another part of the ship to the compartment in which the explosion had taken place. With help from one other man, he here rescued two dockyard workmen, getting them up through a manhole with ropes. To reach the scene of destruction Dale, who was still without apparatus, had to grope his way through smoke and debris. The last twisted vertical ladder down which he went fell short of the deck below. Hearing the cries of those trapped, he trusted to chance and jumped. Luckily the deck proved firm. Although unaware of the full damage which had been caused to the ship Dale well knew that he was facing the gravest danger.
BURIAL LOCATION: WAIMATE LAWN CEMETERY, WAIMATE, NEW ZEALAND.
BEAM 6, GRAVE 0630.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
Allan Stanistreet – Image of Donald Dale AM.