Col. MacDonald

Colonel George MacDonald
12th Canadian Mounted Rifles

A quiet, soldierly old gentleman, caring little or nothing about the limelight of public life, he numbered many friends in his personal circle, and probably more among the pensioners and the war-wrecked wounded with whom his postwar medical duties brought him in close touch.

 (Calgary Albertan, 6 Nov 1933, 4)

George MacDonald was an Alberta physician born in Aberdeen, Scotland on 22 September 1863. He immigrated to Canada as a child and graduated with a medical degree from McGill in 1889. He then travelled west and attempted prospecting during the Klondike Gold Rush. He settled down into a medical practice in Calgary in 1900. As commanding officer of 15th Light Horse he was appointed to raise the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles in November 1914.

After the 12th CMR was disbanded in England, MacDonald went on a one month instructional tour of the front with the 2nd Battalion in April 1916. He returned to Canada that summer to assume command of Sarcee Camp in Alberta. He succeeded Brigadier General Cruikshank as commanding officer of No. 13 Military District in March 1917. He oversaw implementation of conscription and contended with jurisdictional disputes over civil law and military law.

After the war he worked as medical examiner for the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment. He was also a founding member of the Alberta Military Institute. He died on 4 November 1933. One obituary stated: “death came suddenly as it has come so often to retired officers and others who find themselves transferred from a life of action to one of retirement.”

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