DONALDSON, Alexander

Service Number: 835
Enlisted: 11 January 1915, Charleville, Queensland
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 11th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Aramac Queensland, 29 October 1888
Home Town: Longreach, Longreach, Queensland
Schooling: Longreach State School and taught at home by travelling school teacher
Occupation: Stockman/Labourer
Died: Shot whilst charging the railway station at Semakh, Semakh Palestine, 23 September 1918, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Haifa War Cemetery, Israel
Haifa War Cemetery, Haifa, Israel
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Longreach War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

11 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 835, 11th Light Horse Regiment, Charleville, Queensland
20 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 835, 11th Light Horse Regiment
20 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 835, 11th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Shropshire, Sydney
23 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 835, 11th Light Horse Regiment

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Alex was the first of 13 children born to father Alexander Donaldson and mother Julia McLachlan, on October 29 1888 at Aramac. A new brother or sister came along every year thereafter and Alex lived in a busy and noisy household. The family moved to Longreach where Alexander Snr was the puntman working the punt across the Thomson River and then they ran a selection called Elmfield nearer to town before there was enough money to buy a property out of Longreach which they named Gilford Park. Education while living near town was at the local Longreach School where they had to walk three miles there and back. When they moved to Gilford Park it was arranged by the properties nearby that they share a travelling teacher who came by horse and buggy and stayed for a month before moving on to the next farm. Sadly life at home was not happy. Julia had a couple of admissions to the Rockhampton Mental Hospital over the years and she and Alexander Snr did not get along; finally divorcing in 1922.

Alex was often hired out as a labourer by his father but not paid the money that he had earned, and so by the age of 18 he left home and was off working around Charleville as a stockman. At age 26 on January 11 1915 Alex went into Charleville to sign up for the army. He was sent down to Frasers Paddock in Enoggera for his training and following a huge street parade through the streets of Brisbane, the men were trained to Sydney and on May 20 embarked aboard the HMAT A9 "Shropshire"for Alexandria. He was taken on strength to join the 5th Light Horse but shortly after fell ill with enteric in October and was hospitalised. Released a month later he sailed for Mudros on November 15 and then on December 5 was admitted to the Overseas Base at Ghezireh. Suffering fever early in the new year 1916, Alex was admitted to the 1st Auxillary Hospital at Heliopolis and then sent to rejoin his unit on January 15 but was transferred to the 11th Light Horse on January 26 and then the 11th was posted from Maadi to Heliopolis. April 30 1916 they marched into the Central Training and General Base Depot from Cairo. Their duty was that of town piquet. July 4 and Alex was admitted to hospital after being injured at Moascar on July 1. He was sent to rest camp at Port Said on October 12 1917 for ten days leave. On September 25 1918 - four days before his 30th birthday, Alex was involved in the Battle of Semakh. Charging on his mount at the heavily fortified railway station and train at Semakh, Alex and his horse were killed. He was buried on the shores of the Sea of Gallilee but was disinterred and reburied at the Haifa War Cemetery Israel. He is buried in Grave B 54. Much reverred in our family by the many relatives descended from Alexander and Julia.


1914/15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal Memorial Medal