McDonald, James Alexander

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James Alexander McDonald

1687, Private, 59th Australian Imperial Force
Died of wounds, 6 October 1918, aged 40
Buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery, France

CWGC registered (Son of Thomas and Margaret McDonald; husband of Martha McDonald, of 10, Winllan Avenue, West Shore, Llandudno, Wales. Born at Belfast, Ireland)


James Alexander McDonald, the son of Thomas McDonald and his wife Margaret, was born in Belfast on 22 July 1878. The first known census return for the family dated March 1901 recorded that it lived at Castle Street in Dundalk, Co Louth, both Thomas and James McDonald being recorded as builders. James McDonald married Martha Hughes (b 1880, Llandudno), the sister of Daniel Hughes (qv) at Llanrhos Parish Church on 20 February 1911. James gave his address as Iona Castle Road, Dundalk. The Census of Ireland for the same year records the couple living at Castle Street in Dundalk with James’ parents. James and Martha McDonald emigrated to Australia; their son Claude Melbourne Alexander was born in Melbourne on 27 July 1912, followed by their daughter Mary Victoria on 19 July 1914. The electoral roll of 1915 indicates that the family lived at 362 St. Kilda Road, South Melbourne; James was employed as a carpenter.

On 28 July 1915, James McDonald joined the Australian Imperial Force at Melbourne with a service number of 1687. He served in a number of local units until being transferred to the 59th Battalion 1st Reinforcements at Broadmeadows on 31 March 1916. He sailed for Suez on HMAT A-17 Port Lincoln, disembarking on 10 June 1916. He embarked from Alexandria on 2 August 1916 on the SS Franconia, disembarking at Marseilles on 8 August. He arrived in England on 21 August.

At this time, Martha and the two children were returning from Australia. Having sailed from Sydney on the SS Malwa, they arrived at London on 8 September 1916 and took residence at 10 Winllan Avenue, Llandudno.

On 11 November 1916, James McDonald sailed from Folkestone to France on the SS Golden Eagle, joining the 5th Australian Division Base Depot at Étaples the following day. He joined the 60th Battalion AIF on 2 December 1916. His daughter Margaret D McDonald was born in 1917. When James made a will in June 1917, his family’s address was given as “Ty Aildro”, Hill Terrace, Llandudno. James spent two weeks on leave to the UK in January 1918 and was transferred to the 59th Battalion AIF on 25 September 1918, only to receive gunshot wounds to the abdomen and left foot four days later during the Battle of St. Quentin Canal.

On 7 October 1918, James Alexander McDonald died of his wounds aged 40 at 12 Casualty Clearing Station, Tincourt. He was buried following day at Tincourt New British Cemetery; the funeral being led by the Rev H Griffiths.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • English Presbyterian Church, Llandudno
  • Ireland, Casualties of the Great War
  • Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance

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