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Biographical entry Williams, William Duncan Campbell (Mo) (1856 - 1919)


20 July 1856
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
May 1919
Caulfield, Victoria, Australia
army officer and Medical practitioner


William Williams was a medical officer with the New South Wales Artillery and the Australian Army who successfully moulded separate colonial military units into the Australian Army Medical Corps and developed the Corps into a highly effective front-line service. As Principal Medical Officer for the New South Wales armed forces he reorganised its medical service, insisting on well-trained medical staff and introducing light weight stretchers and other equipment. In 1899 Williams was deployed with the New South Wales artillery to the 2nd Boer War where his organisation of treatment facilities was remarked on as being superior to other forces in the field. His mobile medical units provided the model from which the Australian Army field ambulance system was developed. In 1900 Williams was appointed Principal Medical Officer of all Australian and New Zealand forces in South Africa. As Director General of Medical Services for the Australian Army from 1902 he created a cohesive service and established the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1903.



Education - Member, Royal College of Surgeons
Career position - Medical officer, University College Hospital, London
Education - Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians
1881 -
Career position - In practice, Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Career position - Principal Medical Officer, New South Wales Artillery, Sudan Contingent
Career position - Colonel, New South Wales Army Medical Corps in 2nd Boer War
Career position - Principal Medical Officer of Australian and New Zealand forces in South Africa
Career position - Director General of Medical Services, Australian Army
Award - Knight of Grace of St John (KStJ)
1914 - 1915
Career position - Director of Medical Services, Australian Imperial Forces
Award - Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG)

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Tyquin, Michael B., 'Sir William "Mo" Williams, KCMG, CB, KStJ, Creator of Australia's Army Medical Services - Maligned or Misunderstood', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 84 (1998), 68-81. Details


See also

  • Howie-Willis, Ian, 'The pioneers of Australian military malariology: some biographical profiles (part 1)', Journal of Military and Veterans' Health, 24 (1) (2016), 12-24. Details

Helen Cohn