Wednesday, 22 August 2018

39282 Private Randolph McDonnell 4/8/1891-22/8/1918

Yet another district soldier lad has made the supreme sacrifice Private Randolph McDonnell (son of Mr and Mrs McDonnell, of Bald Hill Flat) having died of wounds. The sympathy of the whole district is extended to the sorrowing parents in the loss of their gallant son.  -Dunstan Times, 2/9/1918.



Randolph McDonnell joined the Otago Infantry Regiment in October, 1916 and left for the war the following February.  He was wounded with a bullet in the shoulder at Paesschendaele and returned to the Otagos in March 1918, in time for the "Advance to Victory" phase of the war.

He was in the 2nd Battalion of the Otagos during the attack on German positions at Rossignol Wood led by the redoubtable Dick Travis, VC.  He was possibly caught by the same enemy artillery barrage that did for his more famous colleague.

Randolph was reported as wounded on August 14 - he'd actually been wounded on July 25th with a compound fracture of his left thigh and a bullet wound in the left knee.  He was soon on the "seriously ill" list.  It would not be too great a stretch of the imagination to think that infection had set in.

On August 4th he is still on the list, but improving.  But Randolph would not survive.  I hope he had plenty of morphine to ease his way.  He was buried in the Boisguillame Communal Cemetery Extension at Rouen, France.




NZ War Graves Project.


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