George Brock Chisholm was born on May 18, 1896 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada to parents Frank Herbert Chisholm, a Canadian militia officer, and Lizzie Annette McCraney. The family had strong ties to the military and to their hometown of Oakville, which was founded by his great-great-grandfather in 1827.
On May 26th, 1915, at 18 years of age, Chisholm joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, serving in the 15th Battalion as a cook, sniper, machine gunner, and scout. He rose to the rank of Captain, was injured once - a gunshot wound to the left thigh - and returned home in 1919. He was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts in a battle outside of Lens, France on October 18, 1917; and the Bar to M.C. in 1918 for his efforts at the battle of Amiens. The Military Cross was awarded for "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty." He organised a defensive flank, working with a company that had lost its officers, and then later led a party to repulse a counter-attack. He showed great coolness and determination, leading his men with great skill and complete disregard of personal safety.
He earned a medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1924. He then married Grace MacLean Ryrie Chisholm, whom he had met before the war. Their daughter, Catherine Anne Chisholm, was born in 1928 in London, England, while Chilholm was on an internship specialising in psychiatry. They also adopted a son, Brock Ryrie Chisholm. After six years of general practice in Ontario, Chisholm attended Yale University where he specialized in the mental health of children.
In WWII he served as a psychiatrist dealing with psychological aspects of soldier training, before rising to the rank of Director General of the Medical Services, the highest position within the medical ranks of the Canadian Army. He was the first psychiatrist to head the medical ranks of any army in the world. In 1944, Chisholm became the first person to occupy the position of Deputy Minister of Health, which he held until 1946. Chisholm became the first Director-General for the World Health Organization in 1948, where he remained until his retirement in 1953.
In 1956 he became the honorary president of the World Federalists of Canada. He co-founded the World Federation for Mental Health and was its president from 1956-1957. In 1959 the American Humanist Association named him Humanist of the Year. In 1968 Chisholm became the first honorary president of the Humanist Association of Canada.
George Brock Chisholm, died on February 4th 1971, at Victoria's Veteran's Hospital in British Columbia due to pneumonia.
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Kitchener Public Library
Soldier Information Cards - World War One
Chisholm, G. Brock
Was a student at the Galt Collegiate Institute.
He was the Military Cross with a bar.