Donald Campell William Henderson

From Our Contribution

Donald Campell William Henderson
Henderson Donald Campell William.jpg
Henderson Donald Campell William 1.jpg
Donald's POW identity card
Personal Information
Date of Birth 2 May 1910
Place of Birth Launceston, Tasmania
Death 23 May 1984
Place of Death Launceston, Tasmania
Age at Enlistment 29 years, 7 months
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; ; fair complexion ; hazel eyes ; red brown hair ; tattoo of butterfly on right chest
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs. Grace Henderson
Military Information
Reg Number WX1120
Date of Enlistment 11 Dec 1939
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1940 ‒ 19 May 1940
Transport Details HMT Y3 Nevasa Fremantle to Kantara, Egypt
Journey Dates 10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Pennland Alexandria, Wgypt to Piraeurs, Greece
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 4 Jul 1945 ‒ 8 Aug 1945
Transport Details unknown England to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW Greece
Returned to Australia
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Greek Commemorative War Medal 1940-41

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries: 1936 - 1937 at 127 Wel street, Sandhill, Tasmania

War Service

Enlisted at Subiaco and was taken on strength on 18 Dec 1939 by the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion. On 27 Dec 1939 Donald was sent to the Northan Training Camp. On 14 Feb 1940 the Western Australian members of the battalion travelled to Ingleburn in New South Wales. Donald was granted pre-embarkation leave, but was late returning, AWOL from 11:30pm 6 Apr 1940 until 10:00pm on 7 Apr 1940. Donald forfeited a days pay and was awarded 2 days Confined to Barracks (CB).

On 20 Apr 1940 Donald and the rest of the battalion boarded HMT Y3 Nevasa in Fremantle for Egypt, disembarking at Kantara on 19 May 1940. Following traiing in Palestine the battalion saw action for the first time at Bardia on 5 Jan 1941. As part of the Allied advance into Italian-occupied Libya, they fought at Tobruk on 21-22 Jan 1941, and they secured Derna airfield on 25 Jan 1941. The battalion was advancing to the south of Benghazi when the Italians surrendered on 7th February.

Identified as part of the force to be sent to Greece, they boarded the SS Pennland on 10 Apr 1941 in Egypt, and disembarked in Athens on 12 Apr 1941. Once ashore, they moved to Larissa where they were to hold the line. However, by 18 Apr 1941, the Allied forces were unable to hold the Germans back, and the 2/11th withdrew from its initial positions west of Kalabaka and they then remained on the move until they occupied rearguard positions at Brallos Pass a week later. They fought a fighting retreat through the pass, slowing the Germans there on 24 April before continuing its withdrawal to Megara on the coast. On 4 Jun 1941 Donald was listed as missing, and his German POW identity card (POW Number 92266 shows that he was captured on 6 Jun 1941.

Donald was interred by the Germans in Stalag VII A at Moosburg (the largest POW camp in Nazi Germany) in southern Bavaria. This camp was liberated on 29 Apr 1945 by the US 14th Armoured Division, but Donald's records indicate that he had been shifted to Stalag VIII B near Lamsdorf in south wwest Poland (later known as Stalag 344). Prior to the Russians arrival, the camp had been evacuated, with the inmates forced to march hundreds of miles to Lamsdorf. On 14 May 1945 Donald deplaned in the UK as a recovered POW and was sent to the 1st AIF Transit Camp UK. He was embarked on a ship for Australia on 4 Jul 1945 and disembarked in Sydney on 8 Aug 1945. Following a short period in the New South Wales Recruit Reception & General Details Depot from 8 August until 5 September, Donald was admitted to the 107th Australian Convalescent Depot in Victoria from 6 - 10 Sep 1945. His records include two discharge entries, one in Victoria on 9 Oct 1945, and one in Tasmania on he same date. It would be more likely that Donald chose to take his discharge in Tasmania as his mother (next of kin) was then living there.

Post War

There is a Victorian Marriage for Donald marrying Minnie McKeand in Victoria during 1948. Electoral Roll entries: 1972 at 425 Well street, Launceston South, deck hand (with Minnie Proctor Henderson)


External Links

Donald's name is on the Ballarat POW Memorial -