Lt. Col. Macdonald

Lieutenant Colonel J.B.L. Macdonald, D.S.O.
3rd Canadian Railway Troops


This being dominion day and the fiftieth anniversary of Confederation the personnel of this observed a holiday so far as was possible.

(3rd CRT, war diary, 1 July 1917)

Born in Invernessshire, Scotland on 22 July 1867, James Brodie Lauder Macdonald was second-in-command of the 239th Battalion under Vancouver railway tycoon Colonel Jack Stewart. Prior to the war, Macdonald had been a railway contractor in one of Stewart’s firms and member of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. He appears to have lowered his age five years on enlistment.

Upon arriving in England, the 239th was re-designated the 3rd Battalion,.as part of Brigadier General Stewart’s Canadian Railway Troops (C.R.T). Macdonald received a promotion to lieutenant colonel in command of the unit. He earned the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of his bridge building and railway construction work in France.

After the war, Macdonald continued engineering work in Canada and West Africa. By the 1930s, he was employed in public works in British Columbia.

He died in Vancouver on 5 February 1946.


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