Pte Stan ‘Mac’ McDonald, 16 DLI, Then and Now

I took this photograph of ex-Pte Oswald Stanley ‘Mac’ McDonald in early 2006. Over 60 years after the end of the war, this entire project has become one big jigsaw. The original of the 1942 photo Mac is holding (click here to see it) came from ex-Pte Syd Shutt of Thornley Colliery, Co Durham in 1998 and the caption I have assembled for it over the years since is from the memories of Syd and several other 16th veterans, most of whom haven’t seen each other since it was taken.

Stan ‘Mac’ McDonald was a bricklayer from South Shields who was called up (Army Number 4469285) to Brancepeth camp in the same December 1941 training draft as my father. Serving in B Company, 16 DLI, he’s fourth from the left in the third row in the 1942 photograph he’s holding above. He was taken POW at Sedjenane on 2/3/42 and held in Camps 66 and 53 in Italy and Stalags 4B and 4D (Falkenberg work camp) in 1943-45.

Serving in the Army Catering Corps at Aldershot after his release from Germany through to his demob in 1946, he moved south to Welwyn Garden City shortly afterwards. Mac got in touch with me after the Shields Gazette ran an article in September 2005 on my dad’s old C Company pal George Forster (who was also originally from South Shields). A pal of Mac’s sent him the paper and he spotted himself on the B Company photograph! Pure chance, particularly since my original intention was to send the newspaper the D Company photo (the 1942 C Company group photo is yet to surface).

I have since interviewed Mac at length on tape about his wartime experiences and these priceless memories are now with the Imperial War Museum as part of their DLI oral history project. This is the direct link where they can be listened to online:

Mac has also been an immense help to me in captioning the B Company photograph, adding several ‘new’ names and many insights.
Stan McDonald in 2006