MacDONALD, Peter Petersen
(Service number 7/1383)

First Rank Trooper Last Rank Trooper


Date 23 May 1894 Place of Birth Barberton, South Africa

Enlistment Information

Date 14 June 1915 Age 21 years
Address at Enlistment Roxburgh
Occupation Fruit farmer
Previous Military Experience 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles; transferred to 12th Mounted Rifles
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin P. P. MacDONALD, sen. (father), Rhodes Street, Waimate; Egerton, Beverley Street, Timaru
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 6th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Date 14 August 1915
Transport Tofua
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Mounted Rifles

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkan; Egyptian; Egyptian Expeditionary Force
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; 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 18 September 1919 Reason No longer fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on Active Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Insurance agent


Date 12 August 1972 Age 78 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Notices Press, 14 & 15 August 1972
Memorial or Cemetery Harewood Crematorium, Christchurch
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Peter Peterson Macdonald was born on 23 May 1894 at Barberton, South Africa, the older son of Peter Peterson and Mary Elizabeth (née Osborn) Macdonald. Peter, senior, (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, Peter, his sister Emily and his brother Graham entered Kaikorai School, Dunedin, having come from Bournemouth, England. All left Kaikorai for South Canterbury in December 1909, Peter after gaining his Proficiency Certificate. Mr P. P. Macdonald, of Dunedin, had acquired 370 acres freehold, orchard and grazing land, at Hunter in the Waimate district, in November 1909. Graham Macdonald received a General Excellence award at Hunter School in 1910. 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.

According to the Timaru Herlad "P. P. McDonald" [sic] was one of the men who, having volunteered and been accepted for service in the New Zealand forces, and were given a very hearty send-off on 11 June 1915 before they left Timaru for Trentham. After assembling at the Drill Shed, they were entertained to afternoon tea. Following the roll call, they marched to the station, headed by the Band of the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. The Mayor congratulated the men and expressed gratitude for the sacrifices they were making. “He hoped they would be truthful, honest, fair and square to one another wherever they went, . . . .” When Peter Petersen Macdonald enlisted on 14 June 1915 at Trentham, he gave his occupation as being a fruit farmer at Roxburgh, Central Otago, single and Presbyterian. He named his father as next-of-kin – P. P. Macdonald, sen., Rhodes Street, Waimate, South Canterbury, and later at Egerton, Beverley Street, Timaru. Peter had previously served with the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles before transferring to the 12th Mounted Rifles. Trooper P. P. Macdonald embarked with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles of the 6th Reinforcements, leaving Wellington for Suez, Egypt per the “Tofua” on 14 August 1915.

At the end of his service Peter embarked on 6 March 1919 for home per the “Kaikoura”. This Draft No. 230 of 1114 men from Egypt and Palestine was due about 17 April. He had possibly been serving with the Mounted division across Jordan Valley when the Armistice was signed. Peter was among those who reached Timaru by special train from Christchurch shortly after 3 p.m. (an hour late) on 20 April 1919. The Battalion Band played when the soldiers arrived. The Mayor welcomed them. “All were thankful to see them back and proud of the way they had upheld the honour of the country and made the name of the New Zealand Division famous throughout the world.” They were wished all the good luck they deserved, in the future. The welcome concluded with further cheers for the returned men and the playing of the National Anthem by the Band. He was discharged on 18 September 1919, being no longer physically fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on active service. His intended address was 23 Elizabeth Street, Timaru, and as of June 1923 he was at 72 Arthur Street, Timaru. Trooper P. P. Macdonald gave over four years of service, serving in the Balkans and Egypt. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Peter Petersen Macdonald married Ella Murray Wilson (née Reese), a widow, in 1955 at Christchurch. Ella had married another serviceman in 1924, but had been a widow since 1925. After a long life Peter died on 12 August 1972 at Christchurch, aged 78 years, his funeral service being held at the Memorial Garden Crematorium Chapel, Harewood. He was survived by Ella, who died in 1976, and his three sisters.

Peter’s younger brother, Graham Osborn MacDonald, who also served in World War One with the New Zealand Forces, died in 1934. 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. In November 1915, Kaikorai School was seeking confirmation of old pupils who had served or were serving at the front, in order to establish a permanent record in the school. Among the names published was that of Peter Macdonald.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [05 December 2022]; School Admission records (Dunedin & South Canterbury branches NZSG) [05 December 2022]; Timaru Herald, 20 November 1909, 14 June 1915, 2 & 21 April 1919, Otago Witness, 19 January 1910, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 28 December 1910, Otago Daily Times, 12 November 1915, Sun, 31 March 1919, Press, 1 April 1919, 14 & 15 August 1972 (Papers Past) [16 December 2014; 17 January 2015; 31 October 2022; 02, 05 & 06 December 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

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