Percy Leonard McDonald
Serial No. 3173
2nd Battalion & 54th Battalion
Percy Leonard McDonald - Information
Percy was born in Glen Innes on the 2nd of January 1889 to William Henry and Theresa Magdalina McDonald. He was brought into the world with his twin brother, Ernest Reginald. The McDonalds then relocated to a property on Atchinson Rd in Macquarie Fields. Here, Percy found work as a printer. When he was 26, Percy enlisted in the AIF with his older brother, Lionel. They signed up at Liverpool within a day of each other, Percy on the 4th of August 1915. Percy and Lionel were sent overseas upon the HMAT Warilda, leaving Sydney on the 8th of October 1915 as Privates with the 2nd Battalion.
Percy and Lionel arrived in Egypt in November. Shortly after arriving, Percy was admitted to the 4th Auxiliary Hospital with the mumps. A week later, he returned to duty. At the beginning of February 1916, both Percy and Lionel joined the 2nd Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir Camp. But they were shortly transferred to the 54th Battalion on the 14th of February, with Percy assigned to the Lewis Gun Section. In June, the 54th Battalion proceeded to the Western Front in France. Shortly after arriving in the frontlines, they participated in action during the Battle of Fromelles. It was a horrid battle, resulting in many casualties, almost destroying the 5th Division as a fighting force. This included Lionel, who was reported as missing in action between the 19th and 20th of July 1916. Despite his brother’s disappearance, Percy had to continue with his duty. On the 13th of August, he was appointed Acting Corporal, Corporal on the 2nd of October and Sergeant the following day. Five days later, Percy reported to the 14th Field Ambulance for a few days with hydrocele. In late January 1917, he again reported sick, and was evacuated to England. He was admitted to the Reading War Hospital with a hernia from an undescended testicle. On the 4th of May, he was sent back to Australia for home service. However, he was later considered medically unfit and was discharged in August 1917. While he was in Sydney, Percy married his sweetheart Christina Miller Stalker.
Percy and his new bride returned to his family in the Ingleburn area. His father had moved the family to a property called Barranganyatti in Minto. Percy and Christina then took up residence in Tillicoultry on Fawcett St in Glenfield, near his brother, Ernest. At the time, the McDonalds received news that a Court of Enquiry had concluded that Lionel was killed in action in July 1916. This resulted years of correspondence and paperwork that had to be filled out and forwarded to the army and other institutions. In 1921, Percy took it upon himself to write the army, requesting that all correspondence should be sent to his home. He went on to explain that all this news and paperwork concerning Lionel was “opening old wounds” for his father, and he was worried it would affect his health. The army concurred, and Percy subsequently collected his brother’s medals and memorial scrolls to share with the family. Amazingly, with the advent of the Second World War, Percy decided to take up arms again for his country. He watched his twin brother, Ernest, volunteer for military service on the 9th of April 1942. Percy joined him a week later. He was appointed Lieutenant of the 11th NSW Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps on the 3rd of July 1942, and resigned from military service in December 1943. Percy passed away on the 18th of May 1964.