Don, Robert Macpherson

Fifth son of Robert Bogle Don and Lucy Flora Don of Broughty Ferry, Forfarshire, and one of three Wykehamist brothers, another of whom, Lieutenant A W R Don (Coll. 1904-1909), Black Watch, died of malaria in 1916 whilst serving at Salonika (see individual entry). He entered Winchester from Horris Hill and became Head of his House and a Commoner Prefect and a leading member of Natural History Society. A contemporary, Arthur Innes Adam (killed in action September 1916) (see individual entry), wrote home that on 24th May 1908 he and Don went on a bicycle ride to a nearby chalk pit, noting that he was “rather great on fossils”.

In 1912 he was elected to a Scholarship at New College, Oxford, being placed two years later in the Second Class in Classical Moderations. He was an active member of the O.T.C. at Winchester and Oxford, and took a keen interest in Boys’ Club work; he was partly responsible for the establishment of a Club in St. Ebbe’s, Oxford.

At the outbreak of war he was in Switzerland and returning immediately to join the Army, obtained a commission in September 1914 in the 10th Black Watch, in which his brother eventually joined him. He dined with the Headmaster and Arthur Adam at the College, as Adam wrote home the following day: “It was [good] to have two hours in Winchester, which I found in a very cheerful frame of mind, considering… The first person I met was Robin Don, who I haven’t seen since war was declared, clad in a splendiferous kilt, and looking very fit… After dinner (which was very good) we walked down Meads with the Headmaster; then I went and saw Mr Fort… Then I sped back to the station, accompanied by Don, who is now stationed on Salisbury Plain, and belongs to the third [new] army..”.

He was posted to France in September 1915 and later to Salonika. 77 Brigade, of which the 10th Black Watch were part, began an intense bombardment of the Bulgarian line on the Jumeaux Ridge, but were subjected to shellfire from the defenders. Although the Brigade did in fact reach the Bulgarian line they were beaten back by a series of counter attacks, and it was during this encounter that Don was probably killed. He was originally posted as missing, but this was changed to “presumed killed” in March 1918.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Don
  • Forenames or initials: Robert Macpherson
  • House: College
  • Years in School: 1907-1912
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Black Watch
  • Date of Birth: 14th July 1893
  • Date of Death: 8th May 1917
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the DOIRAN MEMORIAL Addenda Panel