b. 24/05/1899 Findhorn, Morayshire, Scotland. d. 27/10/1942 off Canary Islands.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 27/10/1942 off the Canary Islands.
William was the son of Alexander and Mary Chisholm (nee Grant). His father was the manager of a salmon fishing company. He was educated at Findhorn, Forres Academy and at Fordyce Academy, Banffshire. He studied medicine and served in the Seaforth Highlanders in the Great War from October 1917, spending nine months at home, and six months on the Western Front. He completed his medical studies at Aberdeen University where he qualified Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 1924. He then became the Medical Officer on the West African Medical Staff. On 29th September 1930, he married Fanny Mackintosh, before he joined the Merchant Navy. The couple separated after a mere three years and were estranged until William’s death some nine years later. After William’s death, the medal was presented to his father by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 8th June 1943. His estranged wife then became involved in a dispute with Alexander Chisholm over his medal. Eventually Alexander passed the medal on to William’s widow.
The ship in which Mr. Chisholm was serving was torpedoed in darkness and immediately began to sink. A fire broke out, which enveloped the bridge in flames and orders were given to abandon the vessel. She sank within eight minutes. One of the Senior Officers, who was on the bridge, was badly injured. He was taken to the surgery where Mr. Chisholm immediately attended to him and afterward, as he was helpless, helped him to the deck in order to get him away from the sinking ship. Mr. Chisholm ‘s efforts, however, were unsuccessful and neither he nor the Officer was seen again. Although the ship was sinking rapidly, Mr. Chisholm remained and deliberately sacrificed his chance of safety in a gallant attempt to save the life of another.
BURIAL LOCATION: LOST AT SEA – ON TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, PANEL 101.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. SOLD AT AUCTION FOR £8,800 IN 2013.
Allan Stanistreet – Image of Dr William Chisholm AM.