Archie Robert Carruth MACDONALD

MACDONALD, Archie Robert Carruth

Service Number: 3301
Enlisted: 19 October 1916
Last Rank: First Class Air Mechanic
Last Unit: No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Finniss (SA), 25 August 1889
Home Town: Bull Creek, Mount Barker, South Australia
Schooling: Bull Creek (SA)
Occupation: Motor Mechanic
Died: Tumby Bay, 4 July 1953, aged 63 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Tumby Bay Cemetery
Memorials: Meadows War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

19 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3301, 9th Light Horse Regiment
9 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3301, 9th Light Horse Regiment
9 May 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 3301, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Port Sydney, Sydney
3 Sep 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Second Class Air Mechanic, No. 67 Squadron, 67 Squadron AFC
29 Nov 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, First Class Air Mechanic, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
13 May 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, First Class Air Mechanic, SN 3301, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Stewart

Archie was born on 25 Aug 1889 at Finniss (near Strathalbyn SA) to John MacDonald and Agnes MacDonald (nee Carruth).

There is some confusion regarding his name: in the register of births it is given as Robert Archie Carruth MacDonald, on his Army enlistment papers it is given as Archie Robert MacDonald whereas in the register of deaths his name is recorded as Archie Robert McDonald. This is also the name under which his business operated in Tumby Bay.

He was the youngest of 5 children in the family, 3 boys and 2 girls. It is thought that his father was a motor mechanic at Bull Creek.

He went to school at Bull Creek, leaving at Grade 7 to undertake an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic. He must have successfully completed his apprenticeship, as on enlistment he gave his occupation as motor mechanic and his address as Bull Creek (also near Strathalbyn SA).

After enlistment on 19 Oct 1916 he was sent to Mitcham for processing before being posted to 2nd Depot Battalion for training. He was allocated to 27th reinforcements/9th Light Horse Regiment on 23 Feb 1917.

On 4 May 1917 he entrained at Adelaide for Sydney and 5 days later embarked aboard HMAT “Port of Sydney” bound for the Middle East, disembarking at Suez on 20 Jun 1917. He was then immediately placed into Isolation Camp at Moascar where he remained for 5 weeks before being released to 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment.

However, his stay was only short, as a week later he was attached to 67th Squadron (Sqn), Australian Flying Corps (AFC) for trade testing, which he obviously completed successfully, as he was then transferred to 67th Sqn. Three months later (29 Nov 1917) he was temporarily attached to 5th Wing 1 Sqn AFC, where he remained for a further 3 months. The detachment ceased on 28 Feb 1918 and he was then posted to 1 Sqn AFC as an Air Mechanic, 2nd Class. Two days later, 1 Mar 1918, he was promoted to Air Mechanic, 1st Class. He remained in this position until 29 Dec 1918 when he was remustered as a Driver Petrol and relocated to Kantara (Egypt).

On 4 Mar 1919 Archie, and his unit, embarked at Kantara (Egypt) aboard HMAT “Port of Sydney” for return to Australia, disembarking in Sydney on 13 Apr 1919. He took his discharge in Adelaide on 13 May 1919, the reason for discharge was recorded as: ”the cessation of hostilities”.

It is thought that he returned to Bull Creek for a period of time before relocating to Tumby Bay. It is known that he played for the Tumby Football Club and Cricket Club in 1928. He resumed his trade of motor mechanic, operating both a garage and tractor/farm machinery sales business in the late 1920s in buildings located in Tumby Terrace where the Tumby Takeaway now stands,  adjacent to the Kschenka brother’s premises.

Archie had not married and was known as a very quiet and insular man, but was well liked and respected in the community. His word was his bond, as many of those who bought tractors from him would attest; he was very helpful, and knowledgeable on all things mechanical. On 21 Sep1939 he was elected as one of the founding Vice Presidents of the Tumby Bay Aero Club

Archie died on 4 Jul 1953 at Tumby Bay and is buried in the Tumby Bay Cemetery.