Lieutenant Colonel Donald George MacLauchlan, DSO, ED
Donald George MacLauchlan was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on 19 July 1905. His family moved to Calgary in 1912 where his father started his medical practice. While in school MacLauchlan joined the army cadets and graduated in 1921 soon after joining the Calgary Highlanders. Donald was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 11 February 1931. While in Calgary, Donald worked as a secretary for the International Sportsman Club. Over the next ten years, he progressed to earn the rank of Major. Donald also earned a fine reputation for being one of Alberta’s top rifle shots and he was a top fencer. It was noted that he had been fired from his job at the ‘Albertan’ newspaper for taking excessive time off in order to attend Militia courses.
When war broke out in 1939, Major MacLauchlan was tasked as an infantry rifle company commander. He arrived in England in 1940 and soon became Second in Command of the 1st Battalion, The Calgary Highlanders.
On the 9th February 1942, Donald G. MacLauchlan assumed command from LCol J. Fred Scott. At age 35, LCol MacLauchlan was to be the first Commanding Officer of the Calgary Highlanders in World War II to take the battalion into battle and the unique distinction of being the oldest infantry battalion commander in the 2nd Canadian Division.
As the CO, he led the Highlanders when they landed in Normandy on 6 July 1944. LCol MacLauchlan commanded throughout France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He commanded the battalion up to the Battle of the Scheldt and the Walcheren Causeway.
Exhausted but proud, LCol MacLauchlan was relieved after Hoogerheide by LCol Ross Ellis on 29 October 1944. He had pushed himself as hard as his men. LCol MacLauchlan’s fighting career met some difficult challenges, but he persevered and his excellent leadership at Clair Tizon earned him the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). During his service, LCol MacLauchlan was also awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM), the 1939-45 Star, the Star Defense Medal, the War Medal 1939-45, and the Efficiency Decoration (ED).
Not all was war-fighting and on 25 February 1943 in England, LCol Donald G. MacLauchlan married Elizabeth Loder Johnson. After the war, they made Calgary their home and then settled in Ottawa. He was very active for many years as the President of the Ottawa Piping Club. It is known that the MacLauchlan Family had a daughter named Sarah and a son (name unknown).
In peacetime, LCol MacLauchlan was posted as Commanding Officer of the No. 122 Canadian Infantry Basic Training Centre at Maple Creek Saskatchewan. He retained an active association with the battalion often lecturing the officers with the benefit of his wartime experiences.
Lieutenant Colonel Donald George MacLauchlan, DSO ED passed away in Ottawa on 15 March 1992.
Interment for Lieutenant-Colonel Donald George MacLauchlan, DSO, ED
“Calgary Highlanders will bury their own”
Took Place at 10:00 am 25 May 2019
Field of Honour – Queen’s Park Cemetery
3219 4 Street NW
CH Firing Party