Name: Macdonald, Malcolm
DoB: June 30 1897
Regt: Private S/15448, C company, 11th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
DoD: Killed in action about Oct. 13, 1916.
Academic Career: CGS 1907-15. Edinburgh University
Biographical Information: son of James Macdonald, M.D., 17 Portland Square.
Malcolm was the elder son of Dr James Macdonald (1860-1928) and his wife Gertrude Lucy Macdonald.
James hailed from Edinburgh and Gertrude from Carlisle. He had a brother Ian, also a student of CGS (1910-1916) and also then a student of Edinburgh University, who was married to Doris Curnock Wyatt in 1935. He was sent to Singapore in the Second World War and was captured. His daughter says his war was mainly spent as a doctor in the camps on the Burmese railway, and he has left extensive notes on his time there. After the war he continued to practise as a GP from 17, Portland Square until he retired in 1975.
Educated at Carlisle Grammar School from 1907 until July 1915. Malcolm won the religious studies prize in 1911 and he played Maria in Twelfth Night in 1912. He was a good sportsman, he won the 220 yard dash in 1911 and he was a member of the Rugby and football teams in 1913 and 1914. For rugby he was described as “ a hard working forward, good in the scrum and line out, tackles well. ” In 1915 was was Sports Captain and a prefect.
Student of Medicine 1915-16 at Edinburgh University.
Malcolm was a private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, regimental no. S/15448 C Company 11th bn. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders museum says he was awarded an allied victory medal and a British war medal and that this suggests that he did not enter a theatre of war before at least the beginning of 1916.
He was killed in action, aged 19 on October 13, 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. In the 11th Bn. war diary on the day of his death, it reports “Heavy shelling of Martinpuich on and off all day – mostly ‘pipsqueaks’. Entrance to Bn. H.Qrs were blown in. Lt & Adjt. Campbell, 2/Lt. D1/2W. Fyfe and 1 man wounded. This was the only day that we were at all heavily shelled and it ceased about 6pm. After dark we relieved 13/R. Scots as B. or support Battn. on 26 Avenue. B.Coy. had 1 platoon in Destremont farm S. of Le Sars.”*
This is the war diary of R.L Mackay, which reports: “When the 13th of the month falls on a Friday, BEWARE! A shell came into our dug-out bursting through the roof, shattered the mirror near where it had entered (worst of all), dirtied a few people wounded the Adjutant and one or two others. I was out at the time, looking at the line with the C.O. So I had to carry on as substitute adjutant until Tobermory Maclean came up and took over as Adjutant. We relieved the Royal Scots in the front line. Got to sleep at 3am and rose at 7am.”*
It is possible that one of the casualties refers to Malcolm MacDonald.
The Cumberland News reported that a letter of October 27 sent to a friend of the family from a Sergeant of Malcolm’s platoon read: “ Malcolm…was on a ration party to the front line, and they were not long returned and had gone into a shelter for a sleep…the Hun sent over one of his big shells, which landed in the bay where Malcolm was sleeping, and it killed him, and a chum, Private Woodrow…When I head the shell burst I jumped to see what was the matter and poor Malcolm was gone. Malcolm was a true soldier, and brave, and I have much sympathy with you inm your sad bereavement. It nearly made me cry to lose him, because he was such a willing lad, and it was also his first turn in the trenches.”.
Malcolm was a private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, regimental no. S/15448 C Company 11th bn.
We have some postcards Malcolm sent to his father in 1907 when he was nine and visiting Edinburgh; also some sent to him from James and the Artful Dodger!
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1911 RG14/31325; 1901 RG13/4867
c) Pam and Ken Linge
d) University of Edinburgh Roll of Honour
e) Lynne Macdonald
f) John de Lucey and Deidre York (relatives)
g) Jennifer Faichney, researcher at The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders museum, The Castle, Stirling, FK8 1EH. *Both war diary extracts were supplied by the museum.
i) The Cumberland News 11 November 1916