John Donaldson (1894–1914)


Scots Guards 8912 2nd Battalion

John was born in 1894 in Dumbarton Scotland. He later worked for the Water Board at Crich, as did his father. At the time of his enlistment, the family address was the Reservoir, Chadwick Nick. In Dec 1914 whilst serving with the 2nd Scots Guards, he was the first Crich Parish serviceman to lose his life (in 18 December 1914). He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium, and on the memorial at Crich.

Newspaper reports

Derbyshire Advertiser, 13 February 1915:
News was received on Thursday of last week that Private John Donaldson of Crich, had been killed in action, his father, Mr James Donaldson, who is inspector over the Derwent Valley Water Board’s property, being notified by the War Office of his son’s death. Private Donaldson, who was 20 years of age, enlisted nearly a year ago in the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, a regiment which has seen much fighting during the war. Private Donaldson fell on December 18th. Prior to joining the Army, he was employed on Derwent Valley Water Board’s Works at Crich, and he was extremely popular both at Crich and Belper, having lived at the latter place for several years before removing to Crich, and his death is greatly regretted throughout the district.

Derbyshire Courier, 16 February 1915
Crich soldier killed
Four weeks in trenches without a break.
News has been received that Private John Donaldson, of Crich has been killed in action. His father, James Donaldson who is the Derwent Valley Water Boards Inspector in that district, was notified by the War Office, that his son had fallen in action on December 18.
Private Donaldson, who was 20 years of age, was in the L F Co., Second Battalion Scots Guards, having enlisted in this regiment nearly a year ago. Early in the war his regiment were ordered to the front and the Scots have been in the thick of the fighting for many weeks. Private Donaldson stating in a letter sent to his father on December 2, that he had been in the trenches over four weeks without a break.
Prior to joining the army, Private Donaldson and had been employed on the large waterworks of the Derwent Valley Water Board in Crich. He was of a genial disposition and was very popular not only in Crich but in Belper where he lived for five years before going to Crich. His death is greatly regretted throughout the district.

Medal Index Record
Awarded Victory, British War and 14 Star Medals with Clasp 2/2638.
Disembarked 22 September 1914.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials J
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Private
Regiment/Service Scots Guards
Unit 2nd Bn
Date of Death  18/12/1914
Age 20
Service Number 8912
Additional information Son of James Donaldson, of Ambergate Reservoir, Crich, Matlock
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference Panel 1

War Graves Certificate for John Donaldson

Soldiers' Effects Book
John Donaldson; 2nd Bn Scots Guards; Private 8912; killed in action 18.12.14; War Gratuity £5; paid out to:
17.6.15 father James £2 2s 1d
28.6.19 father James £5

John Donaldson's brother Alex Donaldson is also on the Roll of Honour. Their sister, Janet Donaldson, married John Clarke.


1901: Hereford

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Donaldson Head 47 Pipe layer navvy Kingsbarns
Margaret Donaldson wife 28   Airdrie
John Donaldson son 6   Milingaire
Alexander Donaldson son 3   Knighton, Radnor
Janet Donaldson daughter 1   Knighton, Radnor
Alexander Donaldson brother 27 Pipe layer navvy Crawness
Emily Williams servant 18 Housemaid Knighton, Radnor
David Donaldson brother 23 Pipe layer navvy Heref.

RG13; Piece: 5182; Folio: 45; Page: 7

1911: Bargate Road, Belper

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Donaldson Head 47 Public Works Inspector, Water Board Kingsbarns, Fife
Margaret Donaldson wife 33   Lennoxtown, Stirling
John Donaldson son 16   Dumbarton
Alexander Donaldson son 13   Knighton, Radnor
Janet Donaldson daughter 11   Knighton, Radnor
Maggie Donaldson daughter 7   Lennoxtown, Stirling

RG14PN20970 RG78PN1250 RD436 SD3 ED8 SN187