Macdonald, Charles Angus

He was the second son of John Ronald Moreton Macdonald JP, of Tayinloan, Argyllshire, and Daisy Maud Eyre Moreton Macdonald, the sister of Campbell Tempest Eyre-Crabbe (H1910-1912), who was killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915 (see individual entry).   Macdonald’s brothers also came to the school; Jock (N.A.A. Macdonald, B 1927-1932) and Simon (S.F.M. Macdonald, B 1929-1934).

He came to Moberly’s from West Downs, moved steadily up the school, and was a House Prefect for his last year.   He rowed in Burne Cup in his third year, lost his fourth season due to ill health, but was then in the  winning Burne Cup of 1931. He  went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, as his father and brother had done before him. Here he read History, and took Second Class Honours. In 1933 he rowed in the College First Torpid which went Head of the River. He joined the Oxford University Air Squadron, and qualified as a pilot.

It had always been his intention to go into the army, and in August 1934 he was commissioned in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He served with 1st Battalion at Edinbugh and Tidworth, until in 1939 he was transferred to 2nd Battalion.  When war broke out he was stationed at Secunderabad in southern India.   The battalion proceeded to Singapore in August 1939, as part of 12 Indian Infantry Brigade.

In February 1940 he was promoted to Captain and became Adjutant.  He took part in training for the jungle, which was much needed when, later, they were involved in the retreat down Malaya after the Japanese invasion  at the beginning of December 1941.  By 8th February 1942 Macdonald’s brigade was guarding the approaches to Singapore and he was one of the last across the causeway from the mainland onto the island of Singapore.  The Japanese landed the following day and after fierce fighting orders were given to withdraw all British forces, including the evacuation of those whose knowledge would be useful to the Allies in the progress of the war.   Macdonald was one of those ordered to leave for India.   He left Singapore on 13th February.

Reaching Sumatra, he embarked in the Netherlands passenger ship SS Rooseboom which was sunk west of Sumatra on March 1st by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I-59. He was reported missing. It later became known that he had died on a raft two days after the sinking of the Rooseboom.    He was buried at sea.

A notice in The Times on April 20th 1942, placed by his wife,  asked for information.

It was not until 1946, when returning prisoners of war had been questioned and a clearer picture had been built up, that the authorities were able to confirm Macdonald’s death, with an announcement to that effect appearing in the Times on 13th April 1946.

He is commemorated on column 79 of the Singapore Memorial at Kranji.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Macdonald
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Angus
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1926-1931
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
  • Date of Birth: 22nd June 1913
  • Date of Death: 1st March 1942
  • How Died: Lost at Sea
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner F1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Column 79