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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Sapper 515 James McDonald

Nick Saunders

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I have been given the loan of a diary written by Sapper 515 James Mcdonald of the 1st / 1st (East riding) Field Company Royal Engineers. It is fascinating. How he survived for as long as he did I do not know.

He served in the Ypres Salient, around the Bluff area, and further south near Kemmel. He came to the front line in September 1915. He was killed on 23rd May 1916.

His diary ends 10 days before the CWGC record his death. How would I go about finding out how he died?

His diary for March 2nd 1916 talks of a charge going in at 04.20hrs and 2 enemy lines captured along with lots of prisoners. He ends the diary entry with "Won 4 D.C.M.'s 2 killed 15 wonded Honour of the company"

His diary entry for Monday 17th of April 1916 says "Presentation of ribbons for our D.C.M.'s by General Haldane 3rd Div". I have tried hard to get a result on the London Gazette but to no avail. Can anyone find out for me is Sapper 515 James McDonald won the DCM?

Best wishes Nick Saunders

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Have you tried the RE Museum?

Link to RE Museum

They did some my research on my grandfather (see below) and came back with a wealth of info.

They might be able to help, but charge £15 per enquiry.


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"515 J McDonald" is not listed in Walker's "Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal" as receiving the DCM with the Royal Engineers. Regards. Dick Flory

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Many thanks to all of you.

At least I have got to the bottom of whether he won the DCM or not. On reflection he would have made more of an entry in his diary if he had.

Thanks for the tip about asking the RE museum. I will do that.

Best wishes

Nick Saunders

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