Evander Macdonald, 15 Coll

Last address in Lewis: 15 Coll
Son of Angus and Catherine Ferguson McDonald, of Back,
Husband of Catherine McLennan McDonald, of 15, Coll, Back,
Service unit: Merchant Marine, SS Bulgarian
Service number: 2797/C
Date of death: 20 January 1917 at the age of 40
Ship sunk by U-84, 50 miles W of Fastnet
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 26,
Served with the Seaforths in the South African War

Evander is shown in the 1891 census, with a degree of uncertainty, as a 13-year scholar in the village of Back; Coll is contiguous with Back. He is the son of Angus (41) and Catherine (42) and brother to Catherine (8), Maggie (6) and Roderick (2)

Stornoway Gazette, 6 April 1917
Death of a veteran
Mrs Evander Macdonald, Back, has received word from the Admiralty that her husband, Evander Macdonald, RNR, a gunner on board the “Bulgaria”, lost his life, his ship having been torpedoed on 17th January [1917]. A few of the survivors are now prisoners of war in Germany, and one of them, writing home, says the last he saw of Evander was his calmly standing beside his gun: “Ivor the Duke”, as he was locally known, was a great favourite, his cheerful disposition endearing him to all. He saw a good deal of fighting and served under the late Sir Hector Macdonald in the South Afircan War. Anyone who went through that campaign, marching often 25 miles a day, and fighting with nothing to live on but biscuits and bad water, would think there would be very little to be cheery about. Not so with Evander, for he would lie down in the veldt all smiles, and say – “Cheer up, boys, we will make up for this when we get to Stornoway again”. He saw five years continuous service, and it seems a pity that such a noble soul should lose his life in such a foul manner. Macdonald was only 39 years of age, and leaves a widow and four daughters. Great sympathy is felt for them, as well as for his aged father and three sisters.

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