This site commemorates the men and women of Collingham, Linton and Micklethwaite who served during World War 1. Today we especially commemorate Private 202940 George Stanley Saville of the 2nd Battalion Cameroonians (Scottish Rifles) who died on this day in 1917.
Donaldson, Eric
(1889-1970)

Rank and Unit at End of World War One

Rank Captain

Service Army

Battalion 1st London Field Ambulance

Regiment Royal Army Medical Corps

Buried Pangborne Cemetery

Biography

In the Parish magazine for February 1915, a list was published of those who were serving. That list included the name of Lieut Eric Donaldson. We have been able to identify this man, but have not established any direct link to Collingham other than this list.

Eric Donaldson was born in Chiswick on the 11th January 1889, the son of John Donaldson and his wife Frances Sarah Donaldson (nee Thorneycroft). Two years later, at the time of the 1891 census, Eric was living with 12 family members and 9 servants at Tower House, Chiswick. By the next census, in 1901, Eric was boarding at school at The Grange, Benchley in Kent. Eric's education continued at Charterhouse (where he was in the army cadets), and he also served in Inns of Court MI 1906. In 1909, Eric went to Trinity College, Cambridge to study medicine and was in the University Officer Training Corps from 1909 to 1912. In 1911, at the census, we find Eric visiting Clarence Haselwood Hamilton, a clerk in Holy Orders at St. George's vicarage, Portsea in Hampshire. After Cambridge, Eric went to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in 1914, where he took the Conjoint diploma and served in the University of London OTC from 1912.

At the start of the war, on the 11th June 1914, Cadet Lance Corporal Eric Donaldson from the University of London Corps joined the 1st London (City of London) Field Ambulance and a month later, on the 11th July he became a Lieut in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In September 1914, the first territorial units of the Army, departed from the UK for service abroad. Among the earliest to embark was the 1st London Field Ambulance bound for Malta with Lt E Donalson as an officer of the unit. For this service, Eric Donaldson was awarded the Territorial Forces War Medal.

Eric Donaldson served in Malta from September 1914, being promoted to the rank of Captain on the 1st April 1915. On the 19th June that year, Eric was made Officer in Charge of St Ignatius Military Hospital on Malta.

On the 29th March 1916, he reverted to being part of 1/1st City of London Field Ambulance and served in that unit in Salonika until November 1917, at least part of this time serving in number 30 Stationary Hospital.

On the 27th November 1917, Eric Donaldson arrived in Italy and became Sanitary Officer in Remona on the 6th February 1918. He continued serving in Italy until January 1919. By the 8th February 1919, Eric was at Chester War Hospital.

After the war, Eric continued working in medicine and continued his interest in public health. He took the Diploma in Public Health in 1921 and graduated M.B. in 1922, and then entered local-authority service. He was assistant medical officer of health to the West Sussex County Council, and then medical officer of health in Bognor Regis. In 1930 he moved to the Ministry of Health, where he did general and regional public-health administrative duties and became a Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health. In 1939 he was awarded the OBE for his services.

Eric Donaldson died on the 13th December 1970 aged 81 and was buried in Pangborne Cemetery. An obituary in The Lancet on the 26th December 1970 contained the following words written by a colleague:
"Eric Donaldson was a sound man, perhaps the most desirable characteristic in a fairly senior Civil Servant. But it is possible to be sound without necessarily being stupid or dull, and Donaldson was neither. Large and equable, he was greatly liked by those who experienced his helpfulness and common-sense, as well as his knowledge of every facet of preventive medicine."


Sources

1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 05589
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War Officer's Service Records WO374/20231 The National Archives.

If you have any photographs or further details about this person we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact us via: alan.berry@collinghamanddistrictwararchive.info