John Hector Russell MacDonald

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John Hector Russell MacDonald
Macdonald John Hector.jpg
MacDonald John Hector R.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 11 Feb 1919
Place of Birth Katanning, Western Australia
Death 18 Jul 1942
Age at Enlistment 21 Years, 5 months
Occupation Poultry farmer
Religion Church of England
Address The Homestead, Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs. Sarah Matilda MacDonald
Military Information
Reg Number W237500 & WX7572
Date of Enlistment 18 Mar 1940
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 3 Jan 1941 ‒ 12 Jan 1941
Transport Details HMT Aquitania Fremantle to Bombay
Journey Dates 14 Jan 1941 ‒ 2 Feb 1941
Transport Details HMT Nieuw Zeeland Bombay to El Kantara
Post War Details
Fate Killed in action 18 Jul 1942, Ruin Ridge, Egypt
Monument(s) Armadale War Memorial
WA State War Memorial
El Alamein War Cemetery, El Alamein, Egypt
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Early Life

John Hector Russell MacDonald was born on 11 February 1919. His birth was registered at Katanning. John was the son of Hector John MacDonald and Sarah MacDonald.


John died at the age of 23 years during the war at the Middle East.

War Service

John's original enlistment was in the Militia on 18 Mar 1940 at Northam. However, he then enlisted in the 2nd AIF on 6 Aug 1940 at Claremont and 10 days later he was transferred to the 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion which was then forming at Melville. Promoted Acting Corporal immediately, he was sent to undertake a Mortar Course at the Western Command School of Instruction from 7 - 18 Oct 1940. From 27 Nov until 3 Dec 1940 John was granted pre-embarkation leave, and on 3 Jan 1941, with the rest of the battalion he boarded HMT Aquitania in Guage Roads. His rank of Corporal was confirmed the day of their departure.

On 12 Jan 1941 they disembarked in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and on 14 January they boarded the HMT Nieuw Zeeland in Bombay for the voyage to Egypt, departing Colombo on 16 Jan 1941 and disembarking at El Kantara on 2nd February. Once shore they entrained in covered wagons for El Majdal in Palestine. On 27 Jan 1941 John was promoted Lance Sergeant and on 11 Mar 1941 he was sent on another Mortar Course, returning to the unit on 5 Apr 1941. On 9 Aug 1941 John was admitted to the 2/4th Australian General Hospital with an infection, and on 17 Aug 1941 he was transferred to the 2/11th Australian General Hospital. In turn they transferred him on 22 Aug 1941 to the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital, by now diagnosed as having unresolved Pneumonia - relapsing fever. On 7 Oct 1941 John was released to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot. On 20 Oct 1941 he was transferred to the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion.

John returned to the 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion on 12 Nov 1941 and was promoted Acting Sergeant the same day. His rank of Sergeant was confirmed on 30 Mar 1942. On 13 Apr 1942 John was seen by the 2/3rd Australian Field Ambulance who diagnosed Mumps and transferred him the next day to the 2/3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, and on 15 Apr 1942 he was transferred again, this time to the 2/7th Australian General Hospital. On 9 May 1944 he had recovered enough to be released to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot. They in turn passed him to the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion on 18 May 1942.

On 1 Jun 1942 John returned to the 2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion. On 17 Jul 1942 the battalion was the reserve battalion for an attack on Ruin Ridge. That evening they moved forward and gained ground that was not occupied by the enemy and while holding it the next day they were 'intermittently' shelled with 88mm air burst shells. It appears that John was a casualty of this shelling by the Germans. He was buried the following day in the 9th Australian Division Cemetery 2, El Alamein, Egypt - Plot I, Row B, Grave No 21.

  • El Alamein Cemetery and Memorial
  • John MacDonald's gravesite

Parents were Hector John and Sarah MacDonald of Armadale, Western Australia.


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