The Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers Museum (Warwickshire)

St John's House, Warwick, CV34 4NF

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Major General R C Macdonald CB, DSO, OBE

He was born in Quetta, India in August 1911, a sixth generation grandson of Flora Macdonald who rescued Bonnie Prince Charlie after Culloden in 1746. Educated at Rugby School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was the second son of Colonel C R Macdonald CMG who had himself commanded the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the mid-twenties.

Commissioned in 1931, he was Adjutant of the Training Depot in Warwick on the outbreak of War, and joined the 2nd Battalion after its return from Dunkirk. He attended the Staff College, Camberley in 1941. He landed in Normandy on D-Day as Second in Command of the 1st/6th South Staffordshire Regiment, but after five months he took over as Commanding Officer until the battalion's disbandment in November 1944. For his outstanding leadership, he was awarded his first Distinguished Service Order.

After this Battalion's disbandment in November 1944, he was appointed to command the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers and led this battalion into action from the River Maas through the gruelling battles of the Rhineland. In March 1945, he returned to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the command of its 2nd Battalion which he commanded with great distinction from the Rhine crossing to the end of the war at Bremen, gaining a bar to his DSO.

After the War, he took the 2nd Battalion from Petershagen to Palestine spending part of the winter of 1945/46 in Jerusalem. In 1946, he was appointed Military Assistant to Field Marshal Lord Montgomery, then Chief of the Imperial General Staff and a lifelong friend. He later served Field Marshal Lord Slim in the same capacity. In January 1950, following a course at the Joint Services Staff College, Latimer, he served on the West African Staff in the Gold Coast (later to become Ghana) for which he was made an OBE before taking up his fourth Command appointment in 1953 with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment which he took to Korea as part of the Commonwealth Division.

In 1954 he took the battalion to join The 1st Division in the Canal Zone of Egypt. After a further year on the staff of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Versailles, he was appointed to command 10th Infantry Brigade Group in Luneburg, Germany.

In 1959 he became Deputy Director of Infantry, and followed this with two years as Chief of Staff to the C in C British Forces Arabian Peninsula. General Macdonald retired in 1965 and after a tour with Headquarters Allied Land Forces Central Europe in Fontainbleau where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff and for which he gained a CB.

On retirement, 'Mac' settled down near Melksham to become a successful farm manager to Griffin Farms, one of the largest egg producing units in the UK.

It was in 1963 that the Royal Warwickshire Regiment became the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and General Macdonald accepted the appointment of Colonel of the Regiment in succession to Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, remaining for a further six years as Deputy Colonel for Warwickshire after the four English Fusilier Regiments were merged in 1968. He continued his close involvement with his war time colleagues of the 59th Staffordshire Division and maintained close links with the affiliated town of Thury Harcourt in Normandy.

'Mac' played an excellent game of hockey at Army level and was trialled for Scotland. He was President of the Fusilier golfing society for some fifteen years and captained the Regimental team, which won the Army's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Challenge trophy in 1975. It was a point of pride to him that he was instrumental in creating a 9-hole golf course in Korea in 1953, probably the only one in the country up to that date.

'Mac' is well loved by everyone in the Regiments in which he served and commanded. With his great sense of humour and fun, but firm and decisive when necessary this polite, gentle and very gallant officer, is a wonderful example to members of the Regiment of future generations.