(Service number 4/1058)
|First Rank||Sapper||Last Rank||Corporal|
|Date||23 March 1892||Place of Birth||Weston, Oamaru|
|Date||3 August 1915||Age||23 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Bank Street, Timaru|
|Occupation||Telegraphist (NZ P & T Dept)|
|Previous Military Experience||P & T Corps, Timaru - serving|
|Next of Kin||Alexander MDONALD (father), Bank Street, Timaru|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||6th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||New Zealand Field Engineers|
|Date||14 August 1915|
|Transport||Willochra or Tofua|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Divisional Signals Company|
|Campaigns||Balkan (Gallipoli); Egyptian; Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||13 April 1919||Reason||On termination of his period of engagement.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||19 January 1978||Age||85 years|
|Place of Death||Auckland|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Cremated; ashes interred North Shore Memorial Park Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials|
George McDonald was born on 23 March 1892 at Weston, Oamaru, the fifth of the six sons of Alexander and Georgina (née Pringle) McDonald. There were also seven daughters, two of whom had died before the war. Alexander came from Scotland to New Zealand in 1863 and married Georgina in 1874, probably when he was a shepherd on Ardgowan Station near Oamaru. Sometime after their youngest child was born, they made their way to the Clutha district.
George was a telegraphist with the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department at Timaru, and was serving with that Corps at Timaru. He enlisted on 3 August 1915 at Palmerston North. Single and Presbyterian, he named his father as next-of-kin – Alexander McDonald, Bank Street, Timaru, although this was probably only a temporary address for his parents. Sapper G. McDonald embarked with the New Zealand Field Engineers of the 6th Reinforcements, departing from Wellington on 14 August 1915. The Clutha Leader of 20 August 1915 reported that Mr George McDonald, formerly of Balclutha, and another Balclutha local were with the Sixth Reinforcements as military telegraphists. Altogether 22 military telegraphists had been selected from New Zealand.
Mr Alexander McDonald died suddenly at his Balclutha residence in January 1917. He left a wife and a family of 10 (five boys and five girls) to mourn their loss. The names of the surviving members of his family are: William (manager dairy factory, North Island), Colin (manager dairy factory, Owaka), Charles (manager dairy factory, Banks Peninsula), George and Norman (on active service in France), Mrs Fraser (North Island), Mrs Clark (Maheno), Mrs Turner (Anderson Bay), and Misses Catherine (Dunedin) and Florence (Balclutha). A son, James, who left with the main body of the Expeditionary Forces, was killed at Gallipoli.
One of George’s sisters, Florence Nightingale McDonald, married Charles Redpath McDonald in August 1981 at Balclutha. Her beautiful dress of charmeuse satin of a dove grey colour, with an overbodice of Georgette relieved with pink, was a present from Sapper George McDonald, sent from Paris. Charles Redpath McDonald died 20 Nov 1918 at Dunedin Hospital, of Balclutha, aged 26 years, of pneumonic influenza, and was buried at Andersons Bay.
Corporal G. McDonald, 4/1058, of Timaru, returned to New Zealand by the “Hororata”, embarking at London on 1 February 1919 and arriving on 15 March 1919. Returning Draft No. 221 brought home 1500 survivors of the Main Body and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Reinforcements. He was discharged on 13 April 1919 on the termination of his term of engagement. He had served at Gallipoli and in Egypt and France, and was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
George McDonald died, unmarried, on 19 January 1978 at Auckland, aged 85 years. He was cremated, his ashes interred at North Shore Memorial Park Cemetery. His brother James McDonald, the fourth son, was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915. The youngest son of Alexander and Georgina, Norman Murdoch McDonald, also served in World War One. His sister, Florence Nightingale McDonald, married secondly William Everard Gibson in 1923. Her living son and the children of her sons were the beneficiaries of his estate, along with two friends and the Balclutha Presbyterian Church. Colin Everard Gibson was bequeathed George’s three First World War medals.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [18 July 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [18 July 2023]; Clutha Leader, 20 August 1915, 19 January 1917, 16 August 1918, Timaru Herald, 5 March 1919 (Papers Past) [18 & 20 July 2023]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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