Person NameMacdonald; John (1759-1831); lieutenant-colonel and military engineer
Epithetlieutenant-colonel and military engineer
ActivityJohn Macdonald was born at Flodigarry on the Isle of Skye in 1759, the son of Allan Macdonald and his wife Flora Macdonald (1722-1790) the Jacobite heroine. Macdonald was educated at Portree and Edinburgh and in c 1780 was posted to Bombay as part of the infantry, later transferring to the engineers. He conducted a well received survey of settlements in Sumatra and became military and civil engineer there, receiving the rank of first lieutenant in 1794. Many of his maps and charts are now in the British Museum and his observations on the variation of the magnetic needle were published in England. On his return in 1796 he became involved in the Edinburgh volunteer artillery and in 1800 was made lieutenant-colonel of the royal Clan Alpine fencible infantry. He wrote and translated several works on military matters and infantry tactics and was made a field-officer for the corps of Cinque Port volunteers. He later moved to Exeter where he devoted himself to charitable works and investigating ways to improve naval and military telegraphs. Macdonald died in Exeter in 1831, his first wife having previously died in India and his second in England.
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