Obituaries (1979)

The 13th Earl of Antrim.

Randal John Somerled was born on the 22 May 1911 and succeeded his father who died in 1932 when he was 21. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford and served throughout the Second World War in the RNVR, attaining the rank of Lt. Cdr.

Before 1939 he spent some years in travel studying agriculture in Denmark, and as Honorary Attaché in Persia before becoming a Clerk in the House of Lords.

For many years his principal activity concerned farming in Northern Ireland and running the Portrush Salmon Fishery. In 1948 he became Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the National Trust, and in 1964 Chairman of the United Kingdom National Trust, a position he held till his death, aged 66 in 1977.

He was the Chairman of Ulster Television from its inception, Chairman of the St Peter’s Group of Hospitals (London) and a member of the Sports Council 1972-74. He was made KBE in1970, Hon. FRIBA, and Hon. DLitt. by the New University of Ulster.

His work for the National Trust has left a heritage that will remain for all time when under his Chairmanship Enterprise Neptune was organised, saving hundreds of miles of coastland and the National Trust itself grew in membership threefold.

He married in 1934 Angela Sykes, younger daughter of Sir Mark Sykes 6th Bart. There are two sons and a daughter, all of whom are married and nine grandchildren. His eldest son divides his time between running the Glenarm Estate and as Head of Conservation at the Tate Gallery, London, while the second son Hector McDonnell is a painter with a growing international reputation, winner of the Darmstadt Prize in 1978.

He was the most prominent representative of the Antrim Branch of Clan Donald South being a descendant of the celebrated Clan Donald warrior, Sorley Boy who in the 16th century held the Antrim Glens for Clan Donald.  

He died in September 1977 when he was succeeded by his elder son, the Rt. Hon. Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell, Viscount Dunluce, as 14th Earl.  

Lady Bosville Macdonald of the Isles.

Rachel Audrey, Lady Bosville Macdonald of the Isles and Sleat was the widow of the late Sir Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of the Isles and Sleat, mother of Major Nigel Chamberlayne-Macdonald of Knoydart and Cranbury Park, Winchester, and grandmother of Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat. Lady Macdonald and her husband were regular attenders at the annual gatherings of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh of which Sir Godfrey was an Honorary-President. After her husband’s death in 1951 Lady Macdonald continued to travel north on a number of occasions to attend the Clan Society gatherings in the company of her sons, the late Sir Somerled Macdonald of Sleat and Major Nigel Chamberlayne-Macdonald. She died peacefully on 11th December, 1978 in a nursing home at Winchester where she had spent the last two years of her life.

Miss Carolyn MacDonald of Sanda.

Miss Carolyn MacDonald, who died on 7th March, 1977 in her 89th year at Toronto was the sister of Claude MacDonald, the last laird of Sanda, a cadet of Clan Donald South (Clan Iain Mhor) and the last living representative of the family. Miss MacDonald was born in the USA but brought up in Toronto where she became one of the first occupational therapy graduates of the University. Among the family relics in her possession was the Sanda ring which was saved from the soldiers of the Covenant at the time of the Dunaverty massacre in 1646.

The Reverend Donald Budge.

The passing in April 1978 of the Reverend Donald Budge marked the end of a life spent in studying and writing Gaelic literature and music. Formerly Minister of the Parish Church of Jura where he spent fifteen useful years, Donald retired to his native Dunvegan in 1964 where he continued his Gaelic studies at “Kenfollart”, the house he and his American born wife, Eleanor built and so much enjoyed. He will be remembered throughout the West Highlands and beyond for many a day to come. He and his wife became members of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh in 1960 and Mrs. Budge continues to live at “Kenfollart”.

Captain Graham Donald DFC.

Domhnall Gruamach, as he preferred to be called and under which name he was perhaps better known to his friends and reading public was born at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. In the Great War he served in the Royal Flying Corps with distinction and in his later years he settled at Port Charlotte, Islay, where from his home “Dunyvaig” he continued to write on many subjects usually with a Celtic flavour. Among his publications were “The House of Islay” a well written history of the Lordship of the Isles and the Clan Donald South and “The Foundations of Islay” a controversial study of Celtic history which was described in the press as an “unorthodox approach to many problems (which) may upset scholars of the old school. The new scholars will have cause to bless his name”. Captain Donald claimed descent by tradition from either Sir James MacDonald of Dunnyvaig the last Chief of Islay, or his brother Angus, who was executed by the authorities in Edinburgh and whose family disappeared from history. He was a member of the Finlaggan Committee when he was actively involved in campaigning to have the carved stones at the old palatial residence of the Lords of the Isles protected from further deterioration at the hands of the weather. He was also a founder member of the Islay Museums Trust. He died on 30th October 1978.

Miss Alexandrina H. MacDonald.

On 20th October 1977 the Clan Donald Society in Edinburgh lost one of its longest serving members by the death of Miss Alexandrina Helen MacDonald – Rina to her many friends both in and outside of the Society. She served on the Council for many years before taking over the duties of Treasurer which she performed with exceptional ability for around seven years until ill-health compelled her to play a less active role. Yet when the International Gathering of the Clans loomed near she returned to play an active part once again, this time in the capacity of Assistant Secretary and Treasurer. She was co-founder of the United Clans Association in Edinburgh in 1963 and of which she was Treasurer up to the time of her death. She was also Treasurer of both the parent body and the Edinburgh Branch of the Clarsach Society and also of her church, the old lady Glenorchy’s, Edinburgh. At the time of her retiral from the Post Office, she was deeply involved in the development of the telecommunications network throughout Scotland.

The Reverend Norman H. MacDonald.

The death occurred in the latter part of 1978 of the Reverend Norman MacDonald, 8 Scott Road, Glenrothes, Fife. He was the son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Donald MacDonald, Valtos, Skye, the isle of his birth. He claimed descent from An Ciaran Mabach (Archibald MacDonald) the warrior poet and brother of Sir James MacDonald of Sleat who, with his bardic contemporary, Iain Lom, was responsible for avenging the murder of the Chief of Keppoch and his brother in 1663. During his ministry at Kilarrow Parish Church, Bowmore, Islay, he was appointed a corresponding member of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy in Sweden, in recognition of his research work in Celtic folklore, being the only Scot to hold the honour. He was made Minister Emeritus of Carinish Parish Church, North Uist, a history of which he had published in pamphlet form some years ago. He was a member of the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh to which he gave a most interesting talk on Carinish and other subjects several years ago. He is survived by his wife.

A.P. McDonald.

We mourn the passing of A.P. McDonald, Texas Commissioner Emeritus of Clan Donald USA, Central South Region, in Houston on August 2, 1978. Graduating from Texas A&M University in 1938 with BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering A.P. taught Engineering Graphics at Texas A&M, Purdue, Centenary, five years at each, and at Rich University for twenty years. He married Verne Satterwhite in 1931. They have three children, Jerry, Cynthia and Gwendolyn. A.P. was a loyal and devoted member of Clan Donald who made monthly contributions to the Clan Donald Lands Trust in Skye. His enthusiasm drew many into the fold of active members. His quick wit and enormous capacity for enjoying life enriched the lives of all who knew him.