Seaman Angus Macdonald, from Bernera, Lewis, was born in July 1890. The son of Norman and Mary Macdonald, Angus was the second youngest of their nine children and joined the Royal Naval Reserve at the age of 19. Four of his brothers also joined, all of whom would survive the war. Some 6,000 Lewis islanders, around one fifth of the population, served in the First World War, and of these more than a fifth would never return.
On the 20th of September 1914 Norman joined Howe Battalion, part of the Royal Naval Division, which took part in the Siege of Antwerp from the 28th of September till the 10th of October 1917. Formed in September 1914, from surplus naval men, the Division fought on land alongside the Army. It consisted of personnel brought together from the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Fleet Reserve, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, a brigade of Royal Marines, Royal Navy and Army personnel. Angus was discharged to RN Barracks Portsmouth on the 27th of October 1917.
The Stornoway Gazzette noted his death:-
Seaman Angus Macdonald, 7 Tobson [whose] loss, in the sinking of the Laurentic, is deeply deplored. Angus joined at the age of 19 and was for seven years in the service. He was of a quiet disposition and was an excellent son and brother……Much sympathy is felt for his father and mother, as both are in very indifferent health.
Angus Macdonald’s body was never recovered. He is one of 1,151 men commemorated on the Isle of Lewis tower.
Two years later the island would witness another tragedy with the sinking of the Lolaire at the harbour entrance, with the loss of more than 200 islanders within sight of home.
British Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1918
Ancestry.com. UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records
1901 Scotland Census. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
image © Scottish War Memorials Project (WMR-82699)
Lewismen Lost in the great War lewis-lost-ww1.blogspot.com/search?q=Norman
Imperial War Museums http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/57332
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org