Hector "Fighting Mac" MacDonald was one of the few British soldiers during the Victorian era to rise from
enlisted rank of private to that of Major-General. Commissioned from the ranks of the Gordon Highlanders for
gallantry during the Afghan War. He fought in the Transvaal War of 1881
were he earned the grudging respect of
his Boer enemies for his stubborn refusal to give up during the British defeat at Majuba Hill. He began his service
in Egypt in 1887
where his steady command of Sudanese battalions during a critical moment at the Battle of
Omdurman helped to ensure Kitchener's Victory. He served in the Boer War and in 1903 went on to command in
Ceylon. It was here that he became unpopular with Ceylon's Governor Ridgeway due to his perceived low breeding.
Rumors began to be printed in the local papers implying homosexual indiscretions on MacDonald's part while
ignoring the fact that MacDonald was in fact married and had a son. MacDonald left Ceylon to take his case to the
King who in turn refused to hear MacDonald and sent him back to Ceylon. While in Paris on his return journey
MacDonald picked up a news paper and realized that Gov. Ridgeway had leaked all of th
e rumors and anonymous
letters to the world press. MacDonald, greatly depressed, sick with dysentery, in general poor health and
seemingly friendless returned to his hotel room and shot himself
. It was a sad end to the life of a great soldier.

"
Let people be honest, and while I live they shall never have a speck to put on my life, morally or otherwise."
                                                                                                                                               
Hector Macdonald

Cabinet Photograph
Elliott & Fry - Photographer
55 Baker Street, London W.,  England
c. 1899