Donald Kennedy's story

Donald Kennedy joined the Merchant Navy in Sydney on 1 February 1944, at the age of 16. His 'job interview' took only 2 minutes. Before the month was out, Donald was a deck boy on MT Seirstad of the Norwegian merchant marine.

Soon afterwards, Donald was promoted to assistant gunner on an anti-aircraft gun, then to gunner when the gunner left the ship at Panama while Seirstad was returning to Australia from the Atlantic. Donald became Kanonkommander

Donald used his gun in action for the first time in the Atlantic, about 1 month after being promoted to gunner. He remembered the anti-aircraft gunner training course was held in a shed on the wharf at Auckland. The course did not take much longer than his enlistment interview.

Donald served in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans during World War II.

Donald transferred to the United States Army Transport Point San Pedro in the last year of the Pacific War, but he left the ship in Shanghai in April 1946. He returned to Australia via the Philippines, having accepted a ride on an army transport aircraft.

Discharged from the merchant marine in June 1946, he joined the RSL in 1947 and went to sea once again in a variety of Australian ships until 1949. In 1950, Donald took a permanent position in the New South Wales Attorney General and Justice Department, retiring as state manager.

Last updated: 4 September 2023

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2023), Donald Kennedy's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 September 2023,
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