Malaya victim recognised

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The FAMILY of Montrose soldier Lieutenant John McDonald, who was killed in action in Malaya in 1951, has been presented with the Elizabeth Cross in a private ceremony at Stirling Castle.

The medal and memorial scroll were presented to his sister, Mrs Mary Sellstrom, from Falkirk, by the Lord Lieutenant for Stirling and Falkirk, Mrs Marjorie McLachlan.

Lieutenant McDonald, who was born in 1928 and brought up in Montrose, joined the Army Cadet Force in Montrose when he was 13, rising to officer level.

At 17 he was accepted for Officers’ training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and on graduating was commissioned into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

He was seconded to the 1st Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and it was while serving with them in Malaya that his patrol startled three bandits and he was killed. He was 22 years old.

Among those attending the presentation at the Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Stirling Castle was family friend Mrs Elizabeth Walker from Montrose who, in 1992, was instrumental in having Lieutenant McDonald’s name added to the Montrose War Memorial.

She also received a memorial scroll.

Making the presentation, the Lord Lieutenant said: “We are not gathered here to bestow a posthumous medal to the fallen; we are here to present their family with a tangible national recognition in acknowledgement of their tragic loss and sacrifice.”

The Elizabeth Cross was introduced in 2009 to give recognition to bereaved families of soldiers killed on operations, or as a result of terrorist actions since January 1, 1948.

Eligibility requirements issued by the Ministry of Defence include:

m Those who died from whatever cause whilst serving on a medal earning operation.

m Operations where a UN, NATO or other international body or other nations’ campaign medal was accepted for wear, in the absence of a UK medal, also qualify.

m Those who died as a result of an act of terrorism where the available evidence suggests that the Service person, whether on or off duty, was targeted because of his or her membership of the UK Armed Forces.

m Those who died on a non-medal earning operational task where death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task.

m Those who died a subsequent and premature death as a result of an injury or illness attributed to the circumstances outlined above.