Service number 126497
Born: July 17th 1910
Died: February 16th 1945
David was the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Macdonald. He had four brothers and two sisters. His father was a Procurator in Inverness.
The family lived at Blarour, Spean Bridge, Inverness shire which had a private chapel where Mass was said, occasionally, by special permission of the Bishop. Later, they moved to Hilton House, Inverness.
David was educated at Ampleforth and Matriculated in 1930. He graduated with a 2nd in History in 1933.
He was a Major in the 5th King’s Own Scottish Borderers when he was killed on the Dutch border on February 16th 1945.
He is buried in the Milsbeek War Cemetery Plot I. A. 3.
His obituary notice in The Times said “aged 34 eldest son of the late Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Macdonald, Hilton House, Inverness and brother of Ranald, Charles, Allan and Andrew Macdonald, Elizabeth Barnicot and Rachel O’Malley, 10 Royal Mansions, Henley-on-Thames.”
[Rachel O’Malley’s husband, Derek Keppel Coleridge O’Malley had been killed on September 4th 1940. He was up at Christ Church in the year before David.]
From the War Diary of the 9th Royal Tank Regiment:
OPERATION “VERITABLE” 8 February to 12 March, 1945
On 15 February the Regiment was briefed for operations south of Gennep. It was known that 2 Para Regiment originally holding line of Maas had to swing right to meet the threat from the North flank and were holding line running approximately south-west to north-east from just north of Afferden with 2 Battalion right – 1 Battalion left.
Between 2/2 Para Regiment and 20 Para Regiment, who were holding the area south of Hassum, is Battalion Reigels, a rather nondescript GAF Battle Group. All these Battalions had suffered heavily in the last week. Six Jagd panthers had been encountered south of Heijen, probably elements of 685 anti-tank Battalion and a few SP guns.
16 February 1350 hours 32 Guards Brigade, established between right and Centre brigades to attack high ground area Mull. 52 (L) Division to pass through 51 (H) Division to seize wooded area, High ground about Grootehorst & Weeze
The intention of 9 R Tanks, less A Squadron, was to support 157 Brigade in passing through 153 Brigade and capture wooded area; destroying all enemy and exploiting to line of road Afferden, Rempeld , Kasteel Blijenbeek, and the general plan was to attack in two phases
Phase I: capture wooded area. 5 KOSB were part of this
At 0600 hours, 16 February, 9 R Tanks, less A Squadron, left Groesbeek and passing through Mook and Gennep arrived in the assembly area at 1000 hrs, each squadron having eleven battle-worthy tanks.
1500 hours: Squadrons crossed Start Line in support of infantry. On the right there was only slight opposition. One strongpoint, however, had to be reduced with a combined assault with close artillery support – 30 prisoners of 2 Para Regiment were taken and many killed. From the left, HVHE fire was reported from the direction of Neiuw farm and OC C Squadron lost his tank on a mine. Resistance was stiffer on this flank and a pocket of enemy which had been left by the infantry, fought strongly using a considerable number of Panzerfaust which, fortunately, fell short or wide of the two troops who had become involved in this little battle. Short range HE and MG fire eventually broke resistance and by 1615 hours the tanks had joined up again with the infantry who, though fighting well in the open, appeared to lack confidence in wood clearing and tank co-operation. By 1700 hours, 2 troops on the right and one on the left had reached their objectives and fifteen minutes later another troop on the left reported in position. In centre of the left section infantry were held up 30 yards short of objective by heavy Spandau fire and the troop in support was threatened by frequent Panzerfaust. This enemy position took some time to destroy as concentrated and accurate fire from the tanks was not possible owing to damaged traverse systems. One tank was hit by a Panzerfaust and brewed up. The crew were badly burnt and one OR had his leg crushed as he fainted in front of a neighbouring tank. By 1830 hours, all objectives had been secured but between 1900 and 1940 the artillery had to be called twice to break up the enemy forming up for a counter-attack.
At 2300 hours, SPs and anti-tank guns had been moved up to position and the Squadrons were released and joined RHQ, where it had been established for the battle During the day’s fighting 2 Officers and 73 ORs had been taken prisoner all belonging to 2 Para Regiment.