George Brock Chisholm (1896-1971)
Chisholm was born in Oakville, Ontario, on the 18th of May 1896.
Canadian World War I veteran, medical practitioner and the first
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He was a strong
advocate of religious tolerance and often commented that man's worst enemy was
not disease, which he felt was curable as long as men worked together, but man
As an 18-year-old at the start of World War I, Chisholm joined the Canadian
Army's 15th battalion, serving as a cook, sniper, machine gunner and scout. His
leadership and heroism were twice rewarded: with a Military Cross for his
efforts in a battle outside of Lens, France, and the Bar. He rose as high in
rank as captain, was injured once and returned home in 1917 as a Canadian war
After the war, Chishold pursued his lifelong passion of medicine, then he
specialized in psychiatry. After six years in general practice in his native
Oakville, he attended Yale University where he specialized in the mental health
At the outbreak of World War II, Chisholm rapidly rose in stature within the
Canadian military and government. He joined the war effort as a psychologist
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.
Chisholm was a controversial public speaker who nevertheless had great
conviction, and drew much cynicism within the Canadian public for comments in
the mid-1940s that children should not be encouraged to believe in Santa Claus.
He died on February 4, 1971 in Veterans' Hospital, Victoria, Ontario after a
plane crash. He was agnostic.