UPDATE: A public event was held at Brisbane’s Albert Street Uniting Church on Friday 30 October to allow the Australian public to remember and celebrate the distinguished life of Major General Digger James.
Major General William Brian ‘Digger’ James was laid to rest with full military honours in the ANZAC section of Pinaroo Cemetery in Brisbane’s north on 22 October.
In a small private ceremony, the Albany Creek man widely regarded as one of the most decent and honourable Australians of the 20th Century was farewelled.
Digger, as he was affectionately known, was awarded a Military Cross for his actions in evacuating his wounded soldiers following a land mine incident during the Korean War, where he served as a platoon commander in the 1st Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment.
He lost his foot as a result of the Korean land mine but stayed in the Army, transferring to Cavalry, before being reassigned to undertake medical studies at the University of Sydney.
He commanded the 8th Field Ambulance in South Vietnam and was Senior Medical Officer of the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat for 12 months from January 1968 to January 1969, and was inspirational for the encouragement and personal example he provided to soldiers wounded by
In 1971 he served with a British St John Ambulance medical relief team at the conclusion of the
Biafran Civil War in Nigeria, for which he was awarded the Order of St John.
In his retirement, Digger James took on roles as the national president of the Returned Services League and was appointed chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial.
Digger James was born on 14 May 1930 at Shepparton, Victoria, and was educated in Grahamvale State School, Shepparton High School, Royal Military College Duntroon (1948-1951), University of Sydney, RAMC Millbank UK and in London.
He was patron of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, since 1985.
Major General William Brian ‘Digger’ James died on Friday 16 October, aged 85.