Donaldson, Adam (No. 85849)

Donaldson, Adam (Addie)


No. 85849, 228th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Killed in action on Saturday 22 September 1917 (aged 24)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 154 to 159 and 163A)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards


Adam Donaldson was born on 19 September 1893 in the townland of Killearn, Newtownards and he was the youngest son of William Henry and Mary Jane Donaldson (nee Allen) who were married on 9 February 1869 in Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.

The Donaldson family lived in the townlands of Ballyrogan, Greengraves, Ballymagreehan, Commons, Killearn, Carrowreagh and Whitespots.

William Donaldson was a labourer and farmer and he and Mary Jane had thirteen children:

Elizabeth (born around 1869/1870)

George (born 27 February 1871 in Ballyrogan)

Joseph (born 21 September 1873 in Greengraves)

William Henry (born 4 February 1876 in Castleavery)

Mary Jane (born 17 August 1878 in Ballymagreehan)

James (born 30 January 1881 in Commons)

Hugh (born 26 February 1883 in Carrowreagh)

John (born 17 October 1885 in Carrowreagh)

Samuel (born 17 January 1888 at 47 Skipton Street, Belfast)

Margaret (Maggie, born 31 July 1890)

Thomas (born 17 March 1892 in Killearn)

Adam (born 19 September 1893 in Killearn)

Lizzie (born 22 May 1896 in Killearn)

The first nine of the children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  Their mother, Mary Jane Donaldson, died of a cerebral embolism at Whitespots on 29 October 1913 (aged 63).

Adam Donaldson worked as a tenter in the Glen Print Works, Newtownards before he went to the United States of America for a short time.  After he came back from America, Adam Donaldson went to Scotland and it was there, in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, that he enlisted in December 1916.

Private Addie Donaldson had been at the Western Front for around three months when he was killed in action on 22 September 1917 (aged 24).

Lieutenant E. C. Thorburn of the Machine Gun Corps wrote to Addie’s father to express his sympathy and, in the letter, he described the circumstances of Addie’s death.  Lieutenant Thorburn said that a shell had burst in Addie’s dugout killing him instantly.  The Lieutenant paid tribute to Private Addie Donaldson by saying that he was indifferent to danger; he was always merry and joking and the evening before he died he distinguished himself by carrying up ammunition to his gun through a heavy German barrage.

When Addie Donaldson was killed, his father was living at 25 Victoria Avenue, Newtownards with Addie’s married sister, Mrs Joseph Robinson.

Three of Addie’s brothers were on active service:

Private William Donaldson (Motor Transport Army Service Corps)

Rifleman John Donaldson (Royal Irish Rifles)

Rifleman Thomas Donaldson who had been gassed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and was being held as a Prisoner-of-War.

Private Addie Donaldson has no known grave and he is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.