Bernard McDonald likeness

Bernard McDonald cap badgePrivate Bernard McDonald

1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
Service No: 6623

Bernard McDonald grave

1326

3

4

2

39
Personal details

Family Information

Son of Henry and Mary McDonald of 76 Buchanan St, Coatbridge. Bernard's brother Private Peter McDonald of the 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders was Killed in Action on the 27/01/1915. His other brother James Henry McDonald (9474) of the 1st Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers (attached to the 5th Queens Royal (West Surrey) Regiment was a Military Medal winner (attached to the Indian Army) and was hospitalised in East Africa in early 1918 and his half-brother Company Sergeant Major Hugh Burns DCM,MM of the 1st Battalion Cameronians was Killed in Action on the 12/04/1918. From the 1901 Census - Address - 58 English Square, Coatbridge - Henry Macdonald aged 40, Mary Macdonald aged 34, John Macdonald aged 9, Peter Macdonald aged 7, Bernard Macdonald aged 3, Agnes Macdonald aged 1. All brothers Pensions were awarded to their mother Mary.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 76 Buchanan St, Coatbridge

Died

Killed in Action on the 01/07/1916 at the Battle of Albert (opening phase of the Battles of the Somme)

Enlisted

Berwick 26/09/1913 as a Reservist

Employed

Labourer in the British Tube Works / Reservist

Age

19

Buried / Remembered

Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D), Somme, France

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916. On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world. On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July.

Additional Information

The Battalion sailed from Avonmouth on the 18/03/1915 and landed at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on the 25/04/1915. They were part of the 87th Brigade, 29th Division. On the 08/01/1916 they were evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Alexandra in Egypt. On the 18/03/1916 they arrived at Marseilles for service in France. Bernard was Killed in Action on the opening phase of the Battles of the Somme. This was the Battle of Albert, 1st – 13th July 1916 : In this opening phase, the French and British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive systems. For the British, the attack on the 1st July proved to be the worst day in the nation’s military history in terms of casualties sustained. It is the aspect of the battle that is most remembered and most written about, and for good reason – but to concentrate on the failures is to entirely miss the point of the Somme and why the Battle developed into an epic period of the Great War. On the first day, British forces at the southern end of the British line made an impressive advance alongside the French Sixth Army, capturing the villages of Montauban and Mametz and breaking through the enemy’s defensive system. North of Mametz the attack was an almost unmitigated failure. The situation led to a redirection of effort, with the offensive north of the River Ancre effectively being closed down and all future focus being on the line south of Thiepval. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood during the rest of the period up to 13 July. This was part of the Battles of the Somme, 1st July – 18th November 1916 : A Franco-British offensive that was undertaken after Allied strategic conferences in late 1915, but which changed its nature due to the German attack against the French in the epic Battle of Verdun, which lasted from late February to November. Huge British losses on the first day and a series of fiercely-contested steps that became attritional in nature. For all armies on the Western Front it was becoming what the Germans would call “materialschlacht”: a war not of morale, will or even manpower, but of sheer industrial material might. The 15/09/1916 saw the first-ever use of tanks in the step known as the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The British army in France is now approaching its maximum strength in numbers but is still developing in terms of tactics, technology, command and control. 14 other men from the Coatbridge Memorial fell on this day. Bernard enlisted as a Reservist on the 26/09/1913. See Directory for Bernard's brother Peter and his half-brother Hugh's pages. Huge thanks to David Owens for Bernard's British War Medal x 2, his Pension Record Renewal Form and his Remembered with Honour Certificate. Bernard is also remembered on the St Augustine's Church Roll of Honour (with 2 brothers) and Stewarts and Lloyds Roll of Honour (see photos). See photos for Bernard's Medal Index Card, his Newspaper clippings x 3, his British War Medal x 2. his Renewal Form, his name on the Thiepval Memorial, his name on the Thiepval Memorial Panel List, his CWGC Grave Registration, his Service Records x 27, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his Remembered with Honour Certificate, the King's Own Scottish Borderers Cap Badge, Bernard and his brothers Pension Records x 4 and finally Bernard's brother John's Service Medal and Award Rolls.

Photos
Bernard McDonald Medal Index CardBernard McDonald newspaper clippingBernard McDonald newspaper clippingBernard McDonald newspaper clippingBernard McDonald remembered at homeBernard McDonald remembered at homeBernard McDonald remembered at homeBernard McDonald remembered at homeBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photoBernard McDonald additional photo

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Comments
David, if you would like a photo of Bernards Medal on his page please send to me through contact us page
John McCann, Belfast, 03/06/2020 8:24AM
Purchased Bernard’s war medal last year at auction.
David Durran, Coatbridge , 03/06/2020 3:57AM

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