Festubert landscape

The Battle of Givenchy

McDonald Street was part of a subdivision laid out by Miller and Pratt during the First World War, but it was more than 40 years before the subdivision was built. McDonald Street was surveyed and named in 1915, but the houses on the street were not built until 1956-57. McDonald Street was named for Lieut. John William McDonald, who was killed in the Battle of Givenchy in June, 1915, the year the street was named.

The Beacon-Herald said: "Lieut. John McDonald of this city met gallant death in action in France. D Company of the First Canadian Contingent has lost all its officers in the recent fighting. The company is composed of the Perth quota and the unit commanded by Lieut. Robinson of Strathroy. Lieut. Robinson was joint commander of the double company, of which John McDonald was killed and Capt. Delamere was injured. Lieut. McDonald was one of the finest, as well as one of the youngest, soldiers to go from this city to the First Contingent. He was recommended by officers who had observed his gallant conduct in the field for commission and among those promoted to lieutenancies. Lieut. McDonald was only 20 years of age when he came to this country from Scotland 11 years ago."

By Stanford Dingman

In May and June of 1915, at Festubert and Givenchy in northern France, Canadian troops went on the offensive for the first time in the First World War. The battles were part of the Allied effort to challenge entrenched German positions and, where possible, push back the invaders.

Hampered by poor information, unrealistic goals, a lack of substantial artillery support, and facing unbroken barbed wire and hidden machine gun nests, Canadians troops were unable to make any significant gains. In those two battles, 2,868 Canadians were killed or wounded. The stalemate of trench warfare had now become painfully real to the Canadian soldiers and public. Source: Text and Picture: The Vimy Foundation

David MacArthur

20 McDonald St.

Cpl. David MacArthur, veteran

Born in Port Elgin to John MacArthur and Mary McLeod, David MacArthur was the ninth of 10 children. He grew up farming until he heard of work in Niagara Falls. He packed his work boots into his 1930 model A coupe and soon was hired there by the Dominion Chain company. He worked for that company for 40 years, until he retired in 1982.

He spent three years overseas with the Army in the Second World War, serving in England, Italy and Germany. He was a driver with the land transport unit and supplied ammunition to the front lines. At the end of the war, he transported defeated German soldiers back to Germany.

Upon returning from overseas, he married Edna Prasuyan and they had three children. He built his own house, which included digging the foundation by hand and making cement blocks for the foundation. He also did the framing, plumbing, electrical and roofing.

The family moved to Stratford when Dominion Chain relocated in 1965, and lived at 20 McDonald St. After his retirement, he volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program for 25 years, until age 90. He died in 2021, the year of his 104th birthday. Source: Beacon Herald Obituary

* David was honoured in 2021 with a banner on a Stratford lamppost during the month preceding Remembrance Day (see Banner Day).