Image: D. Coy 49th Grande Prairie Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 1944 (SPRA 2014.039.12)
Regiment: Service Corps, Loyal Edmonton
Regimental No: L108077
Gordon Donaldson was born on March 11, 1922 in Saskatchewan. At age 21 he joined the army. He was a soldier in training in Red Deer for 2 months. On Thanksgiving 1944 he left by train to go overseas for one year. Sailing on the H.M.S. Mauritania, he arrived in England where he was the Service Corps, and then in Infantry training. After leaving England, he transferred to the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, and served on the static front in Italy (on the front line, Germans on one side and Canadians on the other). Next he was moved to Holland where he was a radio operator. For a while Gordon was carrying Red Cross equipment (after the stretcher bearer was killed). He continued in Communications before he was drafted into Reserve Occupation army as Leave Personnel driver. In October 1945 he was discharged, sailing back to Canada on the H.M.S. Elle La France. While Gordon was in England, he proposed to a young lady he met in Red Deer, and they corresponded by mail. Anne Nielson and Gordon were married on June 14, 1946 in Red Deer. The couple’s first home was in Qu’Appelle Valley where Gordon’s family lived. A few years later (around 1949) they moved to Red Deer, lived in various homes, and Gordon held various jobs – farming, garage work, working at Red Deer Creamery, and Alberta Nurseries. The latter job involved travelling to the Peace River Country, and in 1952 Gordon filed on a half section with the Lassiter Project north of Eaglesham. The Donaldsons homesteaded for 7 years before they moved into the hamlet of Eaglesham in 1952. In 1963 Gordon took auto mechanic training at NAIT in Edmonton, and he also earned a certificate in welding. He bought an old mechanics garage in 1965, and was able to build a new garage (Donaldson’s Garage) in 1970. Being an avid antique collector, Gordon had a small museum at his business, and he rebuilt a 1927 model T Ford truck. Gordon was a member of the Peace Region Archaeological Society. Anne and Gordon had 4 children: David, Donna, Gregory, and Irma.
Source: Smoky Peace Triangle pp. 192-194 (photos)
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files: “Tales from Mama’s Kitchen” by Anna Donaldson (photos in mid-section)
Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.