Archibald McDonald

Volunteer fireman Archibald McDonald from Belfast was among the first Auxiliary Fire Service victims of the Luftwaffe's Belfast Blitz on 7th April 1941.


Archibald McDonald

Volunteer fireman Archibald McDonald from Percy Street, Belfast served in the Auxiliary Fire Service He was a victim of the Luftwaffe's Belfast Blitz raid on 7th April 1941, dying the following day.

Archibald McDonald served with the Auxiliary Fire Service during World War Two. He died on 8th April 1941 aged 25 years old after sustaining injuries during the Luftwaffe raid on Belfast's docks.

McDonald was one of the first recorded deaths of a fireman during the Belfast Blitz. He lived at 80 Percy Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim at the time of his death in 1941.

The Docks Raid

On the night of 7th April 1941, the German Luftwaffe attacked Belfast for the first time. Archibald McDonald and Brice Harkness were serving with the Auxiliary Fire Service in the docks area of the city. This area of Belfast suffered greatly in the raid.

Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Belfast Telegraph Photo AR 103: Scenes of destruction at the famous Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast, Co. Antrim after the Belfast Blitz raids of April and May 1941.

A little after midnight, the Belfast skyline lit up with parachute flares. Firebombs fell on buildings like the McCue, Dick and Co. timber yard on Duncrue Street. Flames rose across the docks well into the night.

The Auxiliary Fire Service and the Belfast Fire Brigade were quick to the scene. Around 0400hrs, by the end of The Docks Raid, flames engulfed Short and Harland and other buildings.

At the height of the raid, a parachute mine fell close to where McDonald and Harkness battled the flames. They rushed towards the parachute, believing it to be a German pilot bailing out. The mine exploded fatally wounding both men.

Archibald McDonald’s grave is in Section C4, Grave 727 of Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, Co. Down. His funeral took place on 10th April 1941.

Grave of Archibald McDonald

The family headstone marking the grave of Auxiliary Fire Service volunteer Archibald McDonald in Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, Co. Down. Copyright Peter McCabe - Belfast City Cemetery Tours.

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