Donald Alexander MacArthrur

Thank you to Bruce Kettles for providing the service file


Jan 14, 1898

Born in Alexandria, Ontario to Donald and Jennette MacArthur


Mar 21, 1916

Attested into the 154th Battalion in Alexandria, Ontario

Ø      Number 633865

Ø      Next of kin given as Donald A. MacArthur, father, Alexandria, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Student

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Roman Catholic


Apr 2, 1916

Proceeded to Kingston, Ontario to attend the Infantry School of Instruction.


May 21, 1916

Rejoined the battalion from Kingston


Oct 25, 1916

Embarked the HMS Mauretania in Halifax, Nova Scotia

While onboard the ship, he was appointed to the rank of Acting Sergeant


Oct 31, 1916

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and the battalion proceeded to Bramshott


Jan 31, 1917

The battalion proceeded to East Sandling and was absorbed into the newly formed 6th Reserve Battalion.  Shortly after, the battalion was moved to Seaford.


Apr 13, 1917

Reverted to the rank of Private at his own request


Apr 21, 1917

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Apr 22, 1917

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France as part of a draft of 1,886 reinforcements from England and was TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Apr 24, 1917

He left the CBD to join his battalion


May 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the support trenches near Vimy Ridge as part of a draft of 149 reinforcements for the battalion.

There is no explanation in the file as to why it took almost a month to join the battalion, but the CBD war diary notes that 2,055 reinforcements left the camp for the front on April 24 for their respective battalions and it is likely that there was some difficulty locating each unit.


Nov 3, 1917

Shortly after the battalion moved into the Passchendaele front near Crest Farm, Private MacArthur was killed by a German attack.  Below is from the 21st Battalion's war diary





He was buried in a hastily created cemetery that was then called the Tyne Cottage Cemetery.  Following the war, the Graves Registration Commission exhumed the remains and reburied them in a more organized manner, and the cemetery became known as the Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is now the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world.

Sometime after the war had ended the British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to his brother, Angus MacArthur, Box 46, Alexandria, Ontario

The Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his father, Donald MacArthur, at the same address.

The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Jennette MacArthur, at the same address.


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