Arthur MacDonald

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For RAF Air Marshal, see Arthur McDonald.
Sir Arthur Leslie MacDonald
Born 30 January 1919 (1919-01-30)
Rockhampton, Queensland
Died 20 January 1995 (1995-01-21) (aged 75)
Brisbane, Queensland
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1939–79
Rank General
Service number 18[1][2]
Commands held Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1977–79)
Chief of the General Staff (1975–77)
Australian Forces Vietnam (1968–69)
Deputy Chief of the General Staff (1966–67)
Papua New Guinea Command (1965–66)
3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1953–54)
Battles/wars

Second World War

Malayan Emergency
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches
Officer of the National Order of Vietnam
Cross of Gallantry with Palm (Vietnam)
Other work Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment (1981–85)

General Sir Arthur Leslie MacDonald KBE, CB (30 January 1919 – 20 January 1995) was a senior officer in the Australian Army, who served in the positions of Chief of the General Staff from 1975 to 1977, then Chief of the Defence Force Staff from 1977 to 1979; the professional head of the Australian Army and Australian Defence Force respectively.

Military career[edit]

MacDonald was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, on 30 January 1919.[1] Entering the Royal Military College, Duntroon, he graduated as a lieutenant in 1939, and was posted to the 2/15th Battalion the following year for active service during the Second World War. MacDonald remained with the unit until the end of the war,[1][3] which included seeing action at El Alamein during the North African Campaign, and New Guinea in the South West Pacific theatre.[4]

In the 1953 New Year Honours, MacDonald was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his service with the Australian Staff Corps.[5] On 14 March 1953, MacDonald was posted to Korea and assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.[2][3] During his command of the unit, MacDonald was Mentioned in Despatches for his "personal example and professional ability".[6][7] He returned to Australia during February 1954,[2] and was posted as Director of Military Operations.[3]

In 1965, MacDonald was posted as Commander Papua New Guinea Command. He returned to Australia the following year, and was posted as Deputy Chief of the General Staff and later as Adjutant General to the Australian Army.[3] On 26 January 1968, MacDonald arrived in Vietnam and assumed command of the army component of the Australian forces in the country. He served in this position until February 1969, at which time he was re-posted as Adjutant General.[3][8] For his services in Vietnam, MacDonald was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath,[9] an Officer of the National Order of Vietnam and awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.[10]

In 1975, MacDonald was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed the position of Chief of the General Staff; the professional head of the Australian Army. Only two years later,[3] he was promoted to general and appointed Chief of the Defence Force Staff (CDFS) on 21 April 1977 in succession to General Sir Frank Hassett.[11] In the 1978 New Year's Honours List, MacDonald was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[12]

Later life[edit]

MacDonald retired from the Australian Army on 20 April 1979 and was succeeded as CDFS by Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot.[11] In retirement, he served as Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment from 1981 to 1985 and was part of the Defence Review Committee in 1981 to 1982.[13]

Aged 75, MacDonald died on 20 January 1995.[3] A military funeral was held in St. John's Cathedral, Brisbane, on 2 February.[14] He is remembered as one who "possessed a fierce temper and an often irascible nature, which, combined with considerable intelligence and a capacity for hard work, made him a sometimes difficult superior."[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "MacDonald, Arthur Leslie". World War II Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "MacDonald, Arthur Leslie". Korean War Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "1/8 General Arthur Leslie MacDonald, KBE CB". 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment – Commanding Officers: Korean War. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "2/15th Battalion". Australian Military Units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39734. p. 40. 1 January 1953. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  6. ^ "Recommendation for Arthur Leslie Macdonald to be awarded a Mention in Despatches" (PDF). Index to Recommendations: Korean War. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 40025. p. 6379. 24 November 1953. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  8. ^ "MacDonald, Arthur Leslie". Vietnam War Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 44810. p. 2903. 18 March 1969. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  10. ^ Barnes 1974, p. 84.
  11. ^ a b "Previous Chiefs". Chief of the Defence Force. Australia: Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47419. p. 39. 30 December 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  13. ^ a b Dennis, Peter; Jeffrey Grey; Ewan Morris; Robin Prior & Jean Bou. "MacDonald, General Sir Arthur Leslie". The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History. Oxford Reference Online. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Series MUMES170-1". The Anglican Records and Archives Centre Guide to Records. Anglican Archives. Retrieved 8 June 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin; Bou, Jean (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2. 
  • Barnes, I.L. (1974). Australian Gallant and Distinguished Service, Vietnam 1962–1973: Being a Record of British and Foreign Decorations Awarded to Australian Servicemen. Canberra, Australia: Military Historical Society of Australia. ISBN 0909859108. 
Military offices
Preceded by
General Sir Frank Hassett
Chief of the Defence Force Staff
1977–1979
Succeeded by
Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot
Preceded by
Lieutenant General Frank Hassett
Chief of the General Staff
1975–1977
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Sir Donald Dunstan