Generation: D

Frank Gordon MacDonald

Born: 1891 Died: 1975
Father: Donald 'Dan' MacDonald
Mother: Isabella Mackay

Jean Scott


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Hotelier. Frank has written splendid biographies of his parents, brothers and sister. He lives at 34, Whiteloch Avenue, Blairgowrie.

2nd June 1967 at Wolverhampton.

Frank is an outstanding contributor to these sketches of the family, and like all writers reveals much of himself in the compositions, especially in the records of his brothers.

After a period in Estate Management and then in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during War I, Frank turned to hotel management, taking over the Breadalbane Arms at Aberfeldy, from 1921 to 1958. While there he seems to have been visited by many relatives for varying periods of time. I have no doubt but that some made very little contribution towards their stay other than adding to the general hilarity of the evening. Some of course, helped Frank in the bar, and enjoyed serving customers, especially did Alec Macdonald and his son Alistair. Frank asserts with truth on his side that I visited him twice; my wife suggests three times.

Once Bill Mackay and I came. Bill had his wee black book. Frank says we stayed the night. He put us upstairs in the private block. I was on one side of the fireside, Bill on the other, and Frank in the middle. Jean, his wife disappeared to get on with some other job. Bill kept on entering notes in his wee black book. We talked about our travels. I suppose this must have been in the early fifties. Frank had placed a bottle of whisky at the side of my chair, and another at the side of Bill's. We had a grand night, and went to bed about midnight!

During the early part of War II, Frank had appreciated the coming whisky shortage. He borrowed from the bank, and stuffed every suitable part of his hotel with cases, even under his bed, and in the bank where he had to go from time to time. When a local lad was home on leave and drinking in the bar there were occasions when he might have had too much. The bar closed then at the early hour of 9.30 p.m. Frank would be faced with a request for a bottle of whisky to take home. If it would be unwise to grant this request Frank would then say "What time does your train leave in the morn?". Many a time Frank says he went down to the station with the whisky to keep his promise, but it was for local lads only. At the the beginning of war he said he bought whisky for 10/- per bottle!

He was with us in Wolverhampton for some ten days, a lonely widower, but grateful to the Fates for the happiness he has had so far. While he has been with us we have had lots of visitors so he felt the world was still going round and he was still part of the circus. Each night we shared a little whisky towards bedtime, and heard some of his stories of which he had a great supply. Then he looked in at the boxing on the T.V. while Margaret and I went to bed. He and Jessie Howie had long talks. Perhaps she may remember some of his stories, perhaps not!

Jessie Petterson, Margaret and I visited him and his wife at Blairgowrie last year, and had a fine lunch. He had then retired from the hotel which apparently had not been very successful in the latter years. This year we were again at Aberfeldy and heard some fine tributes paid to him by one of the local tradesmen. He was greatly missed on his retirement.

Frank has three sons: Gordon Macleod, born 1923, a site engineer in Johannesburg, South Africa; Donald Scott, born 1922, lately a major in the Black Watch, now a District Superintendent for Agriculture at Kitale in Kenya; and Alan, born 1924, a garage manager at Bellshill, near Glasgow.

Conversations with Frank at Wolverhampton. May 1967.

Frank had poor eyesight, but got into War I by memorising the eye test card, like thousands more. He soon became Company Quarter-Master of the 8th Argylls in John Lauder's Company. Lauder was son of Harry Lauder, the great Scottish dialect singer, who sent him pictures to hang on the wall of his billet, furniture and other comforts which the other officers were denied. Young Lauder got killed during a quiet spell in the trenches while exposing himself needlessly and foolishly.

Frank himself got a bad wound in front of the Chemical Works at Roeux, near Arras, in 1917. My battalion was only a mile or so to the south in this push and I often looked at the works through my glasses. After recovery Frank became a draft-conducting officer.

Frank's elder son, Gordon, was manager of the Hotel at Loch Awe for a time (born 1920). One day my old Colonel of War II (Dr. David Mackie of Dalmally) was visiting at the hotel - this would be in the fifties - and he said to Gordon: "Do you know who you remind me of, a chap Mackay who was in my hospital in Palestine?". So I suppose Gordon and I have the same trademark. Gordon's wife is unwise and 17 years older than he is, will not give him a divorce, so he is now in Johannesburg working on a construction project for some firm. They have a son, Kenneth Macdonald, born 1942, and engineer student at Napier Technical College, Edinburgh, and who plays the pipes. He will have nothing to do with his mother, but visits Frank.

Frank's second son, Donald Scott, born 1922 married Marjorie Ingleby and is now employed by the Kenya Government as a District Superintendent in Agriculture, inspecting and helping farmers. He had been a Major and Adjutant, as a regular officer, in the Black Watch, Royal Highlanders.

Frank's third son, Alan is married to a teacher, has no family and runs a garage at Bellshill, near Glasgow.

Frank's pleasant wife, Jean Scott, was at home looking after her ageing parent until she married Frank. During War I she became an inspector of some stage of tube production at Stewart and Lloyds, Glasgow. Her own father was employed there, and some of his work would come through her hands for inspection. He took her refusals when they occurred very pleasantly. She was a very efficient lass, and splendid in running the hotel.

Frank appears to have served a 5 year articled clerkship in a solicitors office. I don't know why he gave it up, nor do I know if he attended the classes in Glasgow. At any rate he gave up the law for estate management until the War broke out and he enlisted in the Argylls. He seems to have been good at shorthand. He had the whole of the New Testament dictated to him and he took it down in shorthand. It does not appear to have done him any good, he admits. At church he took down the minister's sermon in shorthand and it did not do him any good either. He also taught shorthand for 1/- per hour to small classes of 5 persons. 13 lessons for 12/-. That was a help!

I asked Frank if he had been taught the same awful children's prayer as we were. He replied that both he and his wife, separately had learned that prayer, and Jean had taught it to the three boys. Scott however had a flair in adapting it to suit particular occasions sometimes to the embarrassment of herself, sometimes to their amusement.

"So far as I know I'm the only one of my family who became a Freemason. I'm a life member of Lodge Tay and Lyon (Kenmore) and Chapter Breadalbane Royal Arch Aberfeldy. I was Second Principal of our Province when War II broke out."

Dr. John Buchanan and his wife, and Kate Buchanan have told me what a good host Frank was. Alec, Frank's elder brother, always thought Frank spent too much money!

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