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Hector McDonald

Zoe: Hector Archibald Macdonald was one of the most famous British soldiers of the late 19th century. He had an outstanding reputation for great bravery.

Sophie: At the age of 15, hector MacDonald was apprenticed in Dingwall to a draper, and when he was 17 he decided it was time to go into military life so he added a year on to his real age and he moved on to the Royal Clan Tartan and Tweed Warehouse in Inverness . He rose rapidly through the ranks and eventually became a major-general. He first saw action and was commissioned as an officer in the Second Afghan War in the late 1870s, then distinguished himself in the battle of Majuba Hill in South Africa 1881. Zoe: After working in Britain and Ireland, he was sent to Egypt in 1884. Here he recruited and trained a load of Sudan soldiers that he led into several victory battles, including one of the most legendary in British history, Omdurman.
In 1902 the army sent MacDonald to India to take up a regional command, but he was there for only a short while before being moved to Ceylon as Commanding Officer of British forces.

Sophie: But after only 11 months MacDonald was summoned and told he must return to England to answer very grave charges". Although details still remain unclear, MacDonald was alleged to have committed sexual acts with four Ceylonese youths or to have exposed himself in a train carriage with 70 schoolboys but there is still so solid proof that he was even gay.

Zoe: The brilliant career of a national hero came to an end on the 25th March 1903. While serving in Ceylon grave charges of homosexuality were made against him. Having been sent to England on leave he was returning to Ceylon via Paris to face a court Marshall. In his hotel he read a New York Times report of the charges against him and in despair over it went to his room and committed suicide. Sophie: After his death it was uncovered that he had a secret wife and son. His widow arranged for her husband

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