Macalister Adair Blain

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Macalister Adair Blain
Blain Mcalister Adair.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 21 Dec 1894
Place of Birth Inverell, New South Wales
Death 24 Apr 1983
Place of Death New South Wales
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 2 months
Description 5'9½" (1.76m) tall; weight 125lbs; medium complexion, brown eyes, black hair, scar near left ear. tall ; 125lbs
56.699 kg
; medium complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair ; scar near left ear
Occupation Chainman
Religion Methodist
Address NOK Maidenwell Post Office, Queensland
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Katurah Anne Blain
Military Information
Reg Number 2126
Date of Enlistment 13 Feb 1916
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 4th Reinforcement, transferred to 32nd Battalion, D Company
Date of Embarkation 9 Aug 1916 ‒ 25 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades Fremantle to Plymouth
Date of Return 6 Oct 1919 ‒ 16 Nov 1919
Ship Returned On HMNZT Pakeha to Fremantle
Fate WIA 3 Sep 1918
Returned to Australia
Monument Kelmscott War Memorial (West panel)
Perth Modern School Honour Roll
The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal
1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

It is possible that he was living in Kelmscott while attending Perth Technical College. Address while attending Perth Modern School in 1911 was 115 Hay street, West Perth, and at the time of his enlistment he gave his address as c/o Post Office Wickepin.

Pre WW I Service - worked as a chainman/surveyors assistant. 1912-1915. Probably studying too as he sat for the Adelaide University Examinations at the end of 1912. (Note: As UWA wasn't yet established, Adelaide University conducted the equivalent of the 'Leaving' examination, in Perth).[1]

WW1 Service

Soon after enlisting he was sent to the NCO's School at Belmont on 1 Apr 1916 and as a result was an Acting Corporal at the time of his embarkation with the 4th reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion aboard HMAT A28 Miltiades. On arrival in England he was sent to the 13th Training Battalion at Rollestone to prepare for service in France. Completed his training, Blain was about to embark for France when one of the soldiers in his tent was suspected of having mumps, and as a result all members of the tent were placed in quarantine at the Codford Camp Hospital on 25 Dec 1916 and passed on to the Sutton Veny hospital. He was discharged on 6 Jan 1917 and embarked on 13 Mar 1917 for France as a reinforcement to the 32nd Battalion, reverting to Private on 11 Mar 1917 before his arrival in France. Macalister joined the 32nd Battalion on 6 Apr 1917 near the end of the lengthy period of routine trench occupation that followed their heavy losses at Fromelles. At the time he joined them they were in Rose Trench near Grevillers. Soon after, on 26 Apr 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal, and promoted to Corporal on 1 Dec 1917. He attended a Bombing Course from 25 Aug until 10 Sep 1917, and a Musketry School from 18 Dec 1917 until 8 Jan 1918.

Macalister was admitted to hospital sick on 24 Feb 1918, and was evacuated to England aboard HMHS Cambria with a nasal obstruction. He was admitted to the Kitchener Military Hospital in Brighton with a burst ear drum on 17 Mar 1918, and released to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield on 27 Apr 1918, and enjoyed furlough from 1 - 15 May 1918. On 10 Jul 1918 he embarked for France from Folkestone, and rejoined his battalion on 13 Jul 1918.

Macalister was wounded on 3 Sep 1918 near Mount St Quentin near Perrone. Injured in the face by a chlorine gas shell, he was treated first by the 5th Field Ambulance, who then passed him to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to the 9th General Hospital in Rouen on 6 Sep 1918. Macalister was evacuated on 8 Sep 1918 aboard HMHS Aberdonian to England where he was admitted to hospital in Birmingham. On 9 Oct 1918 he was discharged and placed in the hands of the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital who sent him on furlough from 11 - 25 Oct 1918

Following a period bouncing from one Command Depot to another, he was able to take advantage of the non Military employment programme that Gen Monash had set up to keep soldiers busy while they waited for their return to Australia. Macalister was attending the Regent Street Polytechnic studying Architecture. from 23 Jan until 16 Sep 1919. He returned to Australia aboard HMNZT Pakeha and was discharged on 31 Dec 1919.

389th Casualty List has Blain listed as ill.[2] Macalister is reported as returning on the "SS Pakeha".[3]

Post WW1

Returning from Europe, Blain worked as a surveyor in Northern Queensland before moving to the Northern Territory in 1929 to become the Darwin area surveyor. Blain's work took him throughout northern Australia, giving him the opportunity to gain a high profile, which he used at the 1934 Federal election, standing as an independent for the Division of Northern Territory. (At this time the NT Member was not entitled to vote on Legislation). However, he argued for greater Territory control for their own affairs.

Macalister Adair Blain
Personal Information
Date of Birth 21 Dec 1894
Age at Enlistment 46 years, 7 months
Occupation Surveyor
Religion Church of England
Address Nanango, Queensland
Next of Kin Sister , Ms Bessie Blain
Military Information
Reg Number NX56669
Date of Enlistment 6 Jul 1940
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 2/12th Australian Field Company, RAE
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 10 Jan 1942 ‒ 26 Jan 1942
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 11 Sep 1945 ‒ 11 Sep 1945
Transport Details plane Singapore to Labuan
Journey Dates 12 Sep 1945 ‒ 12 Sep 1945
Transport Details plane Labuan to Morotai
Journey Dates 16 Sep 1945 ‒ 16 Sep 1945
Transport Details plane Morotai to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW Singapore 15 Jan 1942
Returned to Australia

WW 2 Service

After changing his year of birth to 1897,[4] Blain enrolled in the army during World War II in Sydney. Following training he was granted pre-embarkation leave from 18 Dec 1940 until 3 Jan 1941. On 25 Mar 1941 he transferred to the 1st Field Training Regiment at Cowra and on 24 Aug 1941 he was sent to the Eastern Command Engineer Training Depot. On 23 Oct 1941 he was appointed Acting Sergeant and again was granted pre-embarkation leave, this time from 3 Dec 1941 until 14 Dec 1941. On 2 Jan 1942 Macalister was appointed Specialist Group 1 Surveyor. On 10 Jan 1942 he was embarked in Sydney for Singapore, via Batavia as a Sergeant [NX56669] in the 2/12th Australian Field Company RAE, (8th Division), (on one of the 4 troopships in Convoy MS 3 i.e. Antilocus, Charon, Mangola, and Morella), disembarking on 26 Jan 1942.

Notified as missing in action on 16 Jan 1942 he had been captured by the Japanese following the fall of Singapore. Blain was a Prisoner of War, first in Singapore and later Borneo, until his release in September 1945. On 5 Sep 1945 he was released into Australian hands, and on 11 Sep 1945 he enplaned in Singapore for Labuan, there the next day he boarded a plane for Morotai where he was seen by a POW recovery medical unit and sent to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital for health investigation. Released on 16 Sep 1945 he was flown to Sydney and entered the 113th Australian General Hospital on 24 Sep 1945 for treatment of a Hernia. He was released to the 101st Australian Convalescent Depot at Coorparoo in Brisbane on 15 Dec 1945.

Blain remains the only serving member of the House of Representatives to have been a Prisoner of War.[5][6]. Blain returned to Australia, and upon re-entering the House, wearing his uniform, was the subject of a standing ovation from his fellow members.[7] He was then ordered to return to hospital where he spent the next two months recovering before returning to parliament.[8]

While serving as a POW, Blain had been re-elected unopposed to his Northern Territory seat at the 1943 election,[9] and elected again in 1946 before losing his seat at the 1949 election.

Post WW2

During 1949 Blain married Margaret Sylvia Nottle. Following his defeat as representative for the Northern Territory, from 1955 he worked as a surveyor for the Western Lands Commission in New South Wales.


Enlisted in 1916 as Macalister Adair Blain but is better known as Adair Macalister Blain. He was to explain that he discovered he had been christened as Adair Macalister Blain so reverted to his correct name. Perhaps he was tired of being called 'Mac'.[10]

  1. Roger Stubbs email 27 Apr 2019
  2. "THE ROLL OF HONOUR. 389TH CASUALTY LIST.". Western Mail. XXXIII, (1,688). Western Australia. 3 May 1918. p. 35. Retrieved 25 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "COMING HOME". The Daily News. XXXVIII, (13,940). Western Australia. 7 November 1919. p. 5. Retrieved 25 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. Carment, D., Maynard, R. et al. (1990) Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography Vol. 1, Northern Territory University Press: Casuarina.
  5. Carment, D., Maynard, R. et al. (1990) Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography Vol. 1, Northern Territory University Press: Casuarina.
  6. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - Macalister Adair Blain". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  7. Lumb, M., Bennett, S. et al. (2007) Commonwealth Members of Parliament who have served in war, Research Brief, Australian Government Department of Parliamentary Services. 26 March 2007, no. 10, 2006–07
  8. Kemp, R. & Stanton, M. (2004) Speaking for Australia: Parliamentary Speeches that Shaped Our Nation, Allen & Unwin: Sydney. ISBN 1-74114-430-2.
  9. 4. Lumb, M., Bennett, S. et al. (2007) Commonwealth Members of Parliament who have served in war, Research Brief, Australian Government Department of Parliamentary Services. 26 March 2007, no. 10, 2006–07
  10. Roger Stubbs email dated 27 Apr 2019

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