MacDONALD, Graham Osborn
(Service number 25920)

Aliases Served as Graham Macdonald
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 8 June 1898 Place of Birth Johannesburg, South Africa

Enlistment Information

Date 30 May 1916 Age 17 years 11 months
Address at Enlistment C/o D. J. Crabbe, Marton
Occupation Farm labourer
Previous Military Experience NZ Territorials - serving
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Peter MacDONALD (father), 34 Beverley Street, Timaru
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 11th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company
Date 25 September 1916
Transport Devon
Embarked From Destination Devonport, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 8 June 1919 Reason On termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 15 April 1934 Age 35 years
Place of Death Auckland
Cause Traumatic epilepsy caused by an old injury to brain, through accidental gunshot wound of head. Two pellets lodged in brain - Spastic paraplegia 3 years
Notices Auckland Star, 16 April 1934; Timaru Herald. 16 April 1934; Press, 21 April 1934; Star, 21 April 1934
Memorial or Cemetery Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Memorial Reference Auckland Star, 16 April 1934; Timaru Herald. 16 April 1934; Press, 21 April 1934; Star, 21 April 1934
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Graham Osborn Macdonald was born on 8 June 1898 at Johannesburg, South Africa, the younger son of Peter Peterson and Mary Elizabeth (née Osborn) Macdonald. Although 1894 is given as his date of birth in his military file, the school admission gives 1898, which corresponds to his registered age at death. Presumably he put his age up to enlist.

Graham's parents, Peter (born in Scotland) and Mary (born in England), married at Johannesburg in 1893. Two sons and two daughters were born in South Africa. In July 1909, Graham, his brother Peter and his sister Emily entered Kaikorai School, Dunedin, having come from Bournemouth, England. All left Kaikorai for South Canterbury in December 1909. Graham received a General Excellence award at Hunter School in 1910. Mr P. P. Macdonald, of Dunedin, had acquired 370 acres freehold, orchard and grazing land, at Hunter in the Waimate district, in November 1909. Jessie Macdonald, the second daughter, probably attended Waimate School in 1914-1915 and Strathmore School, Timaru, in 1917. Jessie married in 1925 at Chalmers Church, Timaru. The eldest daughter, Emily Macdonald, probably returned to Dunedin for further education at Braemar House School. In 1929 she left her parents’ Timaru residence to take up a scholarship in post-graduate kindergarten work in the USA. Emily married at Timaru’s Chalmers Church in 1932. Another daughter, Mary Joyce Macdonald, was born to Peter and Mary in 1910 at Timaru. Known as Joyce, she transferred from a private school to Waimataitai School in 1919 and went on to the Girls’ High School in 1923.

When Graham Macdonald enlisted on 30 May 1916 at Trentham, he was working as a farm labourer at Marton, single and Presbyterian. He named his father as next-of-kin – Peter Macdonald, of 34 Beverley Street, Timaru. He was still serving with the New Zealand Territorials. Rifleman G Macdonald embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade of the 11th Reinforcements, leaving for Devonport, England per the “Devon” on 25 September 1916. He embarked for the return to New Zealand per the “Northumberland” on 28 March 1919, arriving home on 10 May. The Northumberland’s draft (No. 243) brought home 1336 of all ranks.

Graham was discharged on 8 June 1919, on the termination of his term of engagement. For his service in Western Europe, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Graham Osborn Macdonald died on 15 April 1934 at Auckland, aged 39 years. He was buried in the Soldiers’ section of Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland. His death was the result of traumatic epilepsy caused by an old injury to the brain, through an accidental gunshot wound to the head. Two pellets had lodged in his brain, leaving him with spastic paraplegia for three years. His parents were still living in Chalmers Street, Timaru.

Graham’s older brother, Peter Peterson Macdonald, also served in World War One with the New Zealand Forces. Their youngest sister, Mary Joyce Macdonald (afterwards Mrs Guthrie) served as a nurse in World War Two. Peter Peterson Macdonald, senior, died in 1950 at a daughter’s residence at Palmerston South, while Elizabeth Mary Macdonald died in 1952 at Port Chalmers. Both are buried at Timaru.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [05 December 2022]; School Admission records (Dunedin & South Canterbury branches NZSG) [05 December 2022]; Waikumete Cemetery record [05 December 2022]; Timaru Herald, 20 November 1909, 16 April 1934, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 28 December 1910, Auckland Star, 16 April 1934, Press, 21 April 1934, Star, 21 April 1934 (Papers Past) [05 December 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

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