Born Greenock June 27th 1879. Son of John and Margaret Macdonald, 6 Spring Gardens, Glasgow. farmer. Lived in Mannville, Alberta, Canada.
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Served for 10 years in the Royal Garrison Artillery.
In January 1900 MacDonald was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery and is found stationed at Dover Castle next year when the census was taken. He served in the RGA for ten years according to his enlistment papers in 1915 but little is known about his service. By 1906 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant and in February that year he was appointed Adjutant to the 1st Renfrew and Dumbarton Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers) with the temporary rank of Captain. In 1908 he was still serving as adjutant and as a result of the conversion of the Volunteer Force into the Territorial Force that year he transferred to the 3rd Highland (Howitzer) Brigade (TF). It is not known exactly when he left the RGA but in March 1910 he arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on his way to Mannville, Alberta.
When the First World War broke out MacDonald enlisted on 6th August 1915 at Edmonton, Alberta six weeks after the death of his father. Apart from the basic facts of his enlistment, details of his service are unknown. It is not known when he went to Europe but it may have been as part of the 1st Canadian Reserve Battalion which reinforced the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion which had been serving in France since February 1915 in the 2nd Canadian Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. The Division took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and MacDonald may have been present at these engagements before taking part in the Battle of Vimy which started on 9th April 1917. The war diaries of the 7th Battalion are on line but it has proved impossible to trace GB MacDonald in them (there is at least one other Macdonald in the Battalion).