Roderick Francis MACDONALD


MACDONALD , Roderick Francis

Service Number: 649
Enlisted: 22 February 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Perth, Western Australia, Australia, 7 April 1896
Home Town: North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: North Adelaide Public School
Occupation: Warehouseman
Died: Killed in Action, France, 30 July 1918, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension
Plot II, Row A, Grave No. 55
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

22 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 649, Keswick, South Australia
31 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 649, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 649, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
4 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 649, 27th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
8 Oct 1915: Wounded Private, SN 649, 27th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, Shell wound (chest and arm)
4 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 649, 27th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm, GSW right shoulder
24 Oct 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 10th Infantry Battalion
30 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 649, 10th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Biography ( of Private Roderick Francis Macdonald

Roderick was born in Perth (Western Australia) and migrated to Hyde Park (South Australia) before enlisting into the army. His occupation was a Warehouseman, and he was 19 when he enlisted into the military. It is known that the man was single, and that his religion was the Church of England. On the 22nd of February 1915 in Keswick SA, he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as a Private. The Private was the lowest rank of the military class and worked on foot, commonly on the front lines with an infantry rifle. Apon enlisting his service number was 649, with a height of 5 ’10 with a “dark complexion”.
In terms of politics, many things were happening in Australia and around the world before WW1. Although there wasn’t a single definitive factor to why World War I started, tensions throughout Europe had been growing for years. When Britain declared war on Germany on the 4th of August 1914, with Australia being a Dominion of the British Empire, it was also automatically at war. After hearing this news, most Australians became enthusiastic and volunteers rushed to enlist as they were expecting an “exciting” adventure, which lead to young people such as Roderick Francis Macdonald discovering the true horrors of war.
On the 31st of May 1915, Roderick began his involvement in the AIF by embarking from “His Majesty’s Australian Transport” in Geelong, Adelaide. After this, he landed in a disclosed location in which he and others trained for months in preparation for battle. In these training camps, the goal was to teach the recruits fundamental skills necessary to function in an army, with them being trained discipline, physical fitness, and basic weapons training.
Months later on the 4th of September 1915, Roderick fought in the ANZAC Gallipoli battle with the 27th Battalion, before getting wounded in early October by a shell in the chest and arm. He returned to active duty in January 1916 and was promoted to Lance Corporal in February. He was again wounded in the shoulder at Mouquet Farm on 4th August 1916, and this wound kept him in England until October 1917. At that point he was transferred to the 10th Battalion and served with them through the campaign of 1918 until he was killed in action on 30th July. He was 22 years old. 

During his time as a soldier, he would have had to carry things such as grenades, rifles, bayonets, and also endure horrendous conditions due to many factors. One example could be the constant fear in which he and others lived through when in the trenches, as they never knew when they were going to get attacked. Not to mention, there was also the high possibility of illness due to the close proximity between the soldiers and lurking infections. To continue, these trenches on the western front were generally long and narrow ditches, dug into the ground. They were typically covered in thick mud, making it uncomfortable for the soldiers, to the point where the conditions were so bad that sometimes it would lead to medical problems such as “trench foot”.

In terms of the ANZACS, it stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”, with them typically being known to show positive qualities such as endurance, courage, dignity, and good humour. One example of the ANZAC spirit being reflected could include the bravery and patriotism shown by Roderick as he ran towards the enemy in a daring attempt to gain more ground, despite him knowing that it might not work.