An Old Collection of Medals Relating to The Great War

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Date of Auction: 19th June 2013

Sold for £340

Estimate: £350 - £400

Three: Lieutenant C. K. MacDonald, 10th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who was killed in action at the Battle of Loos on 27 September 1915

1914-15 Star (Lieut., A. & S. Highrs.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut.) nearly extremely fine (3) £350-400


Claude Keith MacDonald was born on 25 March 1889 and educated at St. David’s, Reigate; Harrow and Brasenose College, Oxford. He was commissioned into the 10th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders on 10 September 1914 and went out to France in June 1915. He was killed in action on 27 September 1915, aged 26 years, at Fosse 8, near Hulluch, during the battle of Loos. Having no known grave, his name is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He was the son of C. Falconer MacDonald and Alice Blanche MacDonald, of Falcon Manor, Towcester, Northamptonshire.

The 10th Argylls as part of the 27th Infantry Brigade of the 9th (Scottish) Division, had participated in the actions around Fosse Alley in September 1915. Heavy German attacks on the positions of the 73rd Brigade to their right, caused a withdrawal by large elements of that brigade, leaving the Argylls with an exposed flank and a desperate situation. They were eventually forced to withdraw before becoming completely surrounded. The Divisional History records that ‘it was a model retirement. The men never wavered or showed any inclination to retreat until ordered to do so.....’

A letter to Keith MacDonald’s mother reads, ‘He fell at a very critical moment in the fight, just when our position had been turned owing to a regiment on our right having fallen back, when every effort was required to steady the men and save the situation. Keith’s absolute coolness and cheerfulness at this time had exactly the right effect, and it was largely owing to him that the battalion was kept unbroken. Unfortunately he fell just before the retirement took place, and it was found impossible to remove him. I think his death must have been instantaneous. ..... Keith and I were great friends at Alresford, and I never knew a finer Officer or a better beloved man.’

With copied m.i.c., service papers and other research.