Note: Brussels cenotaph has a B McDonald, which is this man who went by the name Bert.
DIVISIONAL UNIT: 1st Canadian Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Brigade
7th Battalion - British Columbia
Canadian Infantry Corps
RESIDENCE: London - Ontario
BORN: Cranbrook – Grey Township – County of Huron - Ontario
CEMETERY: Arras Road Cemetery – Roclincourt – Pas de Calais – France
I B 5
PARENT: Mrs. Elizabeth McDonald – Cranbrook / Brussels - Ontario
Personal: His height was 5' 7" and his weight was 167 pounds. He had a ruddy complexion with blue eyes and fair hair. He was raised in the Presbyterian faith and worked as a labourer.
Herbert received his primary and secondary educations in Huron County before moving to London and was working as a labourer prior to his enlistment. Private McDonald departed Canada on the S.S. California and arrived in Liverpool on November 1, 1915. He then transferred to the 23rd Battalion located at West Sandling in Kent on March 2, 1916. He went into France on May 26, 1916 with the 7th Battalion following his transfer to that unit and joined them in the field on June 7, 1916.
The weather on the morning of April 8th was bright and clear. In the afternoon Nos 1 & 4 Companies were moved up to the front to their battle positions. The enemy had been shelled by the artillery all day but in the evening there was some retaliation from the enemy artillery.
Zero hour came and the barrage began against the enemy, the infantry moved and formed in “No Man’s Land” and then one enemy machine gun began firing and a number of casualties were taken. They were able to accomplish the taking of their first objective but were under constant heavy rifle fire and machine gun fire.
Some casualties were taken from the bursting of our own shells on the right of the advance because one gun was apparently firing short and heavy casualties were taken by No. 3 Company.
The Bastion Tunnel had only one entrance left following the artillery of the Brigade. There was a pause of the artillery in the advance to the Black objective and the 2 Companies detailed to take the Red Objective met considerable opposition as they advanced from trenches and strong points. As the Battalion moved up the enemy trenches they had to dislodge the enemy by using bombing parties to eliminate the enemy. Had this not been done the casualties would have been so severe the advance would have failed and the objective would not have been taken. Even so, the casualties in these 2 Companies were very heavy.
Lance Corporal McDonald was killed in action during the attacks that took place south-west of Thelus from April 8-10,1917.