Lionel Sidney Roderick McDonald
Serial No. 3161
2nd Battalion & 54th Battalion
Lionel Sidney Roderick McDonald - Information
When Lionel decided to enlist in the AIF, he was residing with his family on Atchinson Rd in Macquarie Fields. The McDonald family had lived in Glen Innes, where Lionel was born to William Henry and Theresa Magdalina McDonald in 1886. The family then relocated to the Campbelltown area. Lionel trained in horse breaking and mail coach driving, before finding employment as a railway porter. Lionel enlisted in the AIF with his younger brother, Percy, signing up at Liverpool within a day of each other. Lionel joined up on the 5th of August 1915, aged 29. During training, both Lionel and Percy became Privates with the 10th Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion. They were then sent overseas departing Sydney on the 8th of October 1915 onboard the HMAT Warilda.
The Warilda sailed to Egypt in late 1915. Lionel and Percy shortly joined the 2nd Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir after they returned from Gallipoli. In mid February, they were transferred to the 54th Battalion. On the 19th of June, they were transported from Alexandria to the French port of Marseilles. A month later, the Somme Campaign was not going as planned. A scheme was hatched to occupy German forces, attacking them at Fromelles, thus straightening out Sugarloaf Salient. The 5th Division, therefore the 54th Battalion, was mustered for the assault. Although some troops reached the German lines, many were pinned down by heavy fire, stuck in No Man’s Land. Percy, a gunner in the Lewis Gun Section, helped his mates return to the lines. However, Lionel failed to return to the trenches. He was classified as missing in action, believed to be wounded between the 19th and 20th of July. Sadly, for over a year, Percy and his family hoped against hope for any news. A Court of Enquiry was held in the field on the 4th of August 1917. Witnesses stated that they had seen him lying dead in the German first line trench. Therefore, the Court concluded that Lionel was killed in action at Fleurbaix, between the 19th and 20th July 1916. The location of his remains are unknown, his sacrifice is commemorated at the VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles in France.