Donald Marsh Douglass, son of Norman and Edith Douglass was born in, Sydney, Australia on 7 May 1919. He moved to England with is family when a young child. He was education at Epsom College, where he was in the rugby and cricket teams and a keen cross-country runner. On leaving school he went to work at the New Zealand Insurance Company, where both his father and brother worked.
Having missed his first call up due to a hernia operation Donald enlisted in January 1940 into 5th Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment.
Private Douglass’ brother Peter joined the RAF and was shot down on 12 May 1940, he was wounded and cared for in secret by some Belgian famers. On 20 June 1940 his parents were informed of his death.
Corporal Douglass was granted a commission into the Parachute Regiment and qualified as a military parachutist on Course 70, which he attended at RAF Ringway from 28 June to 9 July 1943.
2nd Lt Douglass was posted to B Company, the 2nd Parachute Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2nd Para Bn) in North Africa, before going on to Taranto with them in September 1943.
Lt Douglass Jumped into Arnhem on Operation Market Garden with Assault Platoon, HQ Company, 2nd Para Bn on 17th September and made his was way with his unit to the bridge. He was taken Prisoner of War and sent to Oflag 79 in Waggum, Germany.
Lt Douglass’ diaries and letters can be seen here.
After the war, he returned to Australia with his family. Donald went to university in Sydney to Study Medicine in 1947, where he met Margaret who he married in 1950.
His daughter Helan writes:
In 1952 he felt called to the Ministry and studied to become an Anglican Minister at Moore College in Sydney. Dad worked initially in a Parish in Sydney, then in North West Australia as a Missionary, then another two Parishes one in Queensland and in Sydney.His final job was as Chaplain at North Ryde Psychiatric Hospital.
During Mum and Dad’s travels they managed to adopt four children.
In his later years his greatest joy was his freedom to have time with his children and all his eleven grandchildren. We were always amazed and humbled by his patience and love for all.
He taught us to be individuals and to accept other people’s individuality.
Dad passed away June 10th 2003.