Tag Archives: Ranald MacDonald

Ranald MacDonald appears to have been known to Arthur Linfoot through the South Durham Street United Methodist Free Church. He is first mentioned on 30 August 1914. Intermittent correspondence with Ranald MacDonald continues throughout the diaries. See also Private Ranald MacDonald at Lives of the First World War.

18 August 1917; Saturday

Up at 7 o’clock. Sergeant Hughes told me that we may be going to Boulogne today. The brigade sports on and most of our chaps went out for the day. Over 4 leaves through. Started off for Boulougne [sic] about 11.40 and went there within 90 minutes including a puncture on the way. The country very beautiful and I enjoyed the ride immensely. Went up to the hospital but found that Ranald had been cleared on the 14th to England. Walked round the town a bit. Had dinner with the others. Went down by a beach and watched the sea and the shipping. A lot of girls, both English and French and they looked very pretty. Had tea in the Y M and got the car about 5 o’clock. Stopped on the way back for the chaps to go into a pub. Bought a packet of photographs.

16 August 1917; Thursday

Up at about 7 o’clock. Parade at 9 o’clock and went on with the cleaning up. Parade at 2 o’clock and route march. At night went out with John Dory and read and wrote a bit. Had supper at the Sedan1 Hotel. Got permission to go to Boulogne2 first car.


  1. Sedan: a surprising name? – as Sedan was the scene of the principal French military disaster of the Franco-Prussian War. 

  2. ALL evidently planned to visit Ranald MacDonald in hospital at Boulogne. 

15 August 1917; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Rained heavily all morning and nothing done. Wrote to Ranald MacDonald and a letter home.

The Number 9s1 gave a concert in a little hut near the village. Pretty good and a good audience of the mayor, brigadier and all sorts.


  1. The Number 9s (assuming as always that the transcription is correct) were presumably a Forces concert party (and if so, presumably based on some medical unit). 

14 August 1917; Tuesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Cleaned up stuff in the panniers until about dinnertime. Went up for a bath before dinner. Worked an hour or so in the afternoon. Went out with John Dory at night. It rained heavily and compelled us to return. Had long talk up the river side. Had some eggs in the farmhouse last thing.

Received letter from Ranald MacDonald saying that he is in hospital at Boulogne slightly gassed.

20 November 1916; Monday

Up about 8 o’clock. Laid fire and had breakfast. Mr Mudie1 arrived in the Ford car to take us away about 10 o’clock. He went to make enquiries about the people who are to relieve us. 33 F A relieved us about 4 o’clock. I walked to the cab station and Mr Mudie sent me on after Captains McCombie and Birrell to Aveluy post. There I got the Ford car and returned to the house where Corporal Chapman and I got in with our kit and returned. I received some letters, one from home telling me that Ranald McDonald was wounded in the leg and had trench fever2. Slept with the M.T’s.

La Verr†3 killed.


  1. Mr Mudie: the Army convention was/is that lieutenants and 2nd lieutenants were/are addressed, and sometimes referred to, as “Mr. xx”; so although ALL elsewhere writes “Lieutenant XX”, Mr Mudie – if the name is correct – was probably not a civilian. 

  2. Trench fever is a moderately serious disease transmitted by body lice. It infected armies in Flanders, France, Poland, Galicia, Italy, Salonika, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt in World War I. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bartonella quintana, found in the stomach walls of the body louse. Lice were, of course, ubiquitous as is well documented both in ALL’s diaries (for example, on 21 July 1916) and in other contemporary accounts

  3. “La Verr” is written very faintly in longhand and is barely legible. However, in the light of helpful information from a correspondent, this was very probably Private Matthew La Veere, of the 58th Field Ambulance, from Cambusnethan near Wishaw, Lanarkshire, who is buried in the British Cemetery at Contay, some 13km west of Aveluy 

30 August 1916; Wednesday

Up at 6.30. Fatigue cleaning walls and scrubbing floors. Stormy wet day. Wrote to Ranald MacDonald. Heard that Roumania12 has joined Allies.


  1. Roumania joined the Allies (not least because Bulgaria was with the Central Powers) with singularly bad timing. Falkenhayn was removed from the Western Front due to his perceived failures (and replaced by Hindenburg, who was President of Germany in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor), but when transferred to Transylvania (still part of Austria-Hungary at this time) proved much too good for the Roumanians, who were routed in Wallachia (the southern portion of the country, between the Carpathians and the Danube, where Bucharest is situated) and were driven back to their original capital Iași (pronounced Yash; formerly spelt Jassy) at the Northern end of Moldova. 

  2. In 1916, Romania was still usually spelled “Roumania” or “Rumania” in English, from the French “Roumanie”.  The modern English spelling, “Romania”, was adopted some time after WWII.