Lieutenant Colonel A. G. F. MacDonald
154th (The Counties’ Own) Battalion
So Cheer Up is our motto; Downhearted, No!
And we will soon be on our way.
We live in hopes to lick them soon.
And be home again some day.
(154th Bn. Postcard, 1916)
Alexander George Fraser MacDonald was a journalist and editor born in Alexandria, Canada West, on 24 August 1863. He was the son of Donald Alexander Macdonald (1817—1896), a Liberal MP of Glengarry and fourth Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1875—1880). The younger Macdonald had founded the Glengarry News in 1893 and joined the militia in 1896. By the outbreak of the Great War, he was commanding officer of the 59th Regiment.
MacDonald raised the 154th Battalion, based in Cornwall, from the counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in spring 1916. At the presentation of the battalion colours in August, the colonel called on his men to “live up to the traditions of their ancestors, the stalwart U.E. Loyalists and never let the old flag fall.” The 154th sailed for England in October 1916 to provide reinforcements for the field. The fifty-three year old MacDonald returned to Canada due to overage. His son, Lieutenant George Fraser Macdonald, died fighting at the Somme in November.
MacDonald and his family remained active in Liberal politics. During the Second World War, they aided William Lyon Mackenzie King in securing the riding of Glengarry after the prime minister had been ousted from his Saskatchewan seat in the 1945 wartime federal election.
MacDonald died in June 1948.
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Can anyone shed light on the correct spelling of Alexander George Fraser’s last name, ie, is it Macdonald or MacDonald? I’m in procession of a photocopy copy of an Attestation Paper dated January 20, 1916 in which his signature clearly shows a spelling using a lower case letter D.