William Campbell Macdonald comes of good Highland stock. His grandfather was Daniel Macdonald, a native of Caithness-shire, who was engaged in business in Edinburgh, where his son Benjamin, Colonel Macdonald’s father, was born. He came to Canada with his family and settled in the township of Chinguacousy. Benjamin Macdonald married Dorothy Campbell, and to them among others was born William Campbell Macdonald on May 31, 1856.
Lieutenant Colonel Macdonald enlisted in the Queen’s Own Rifles in March 1878; was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, March 1881; Lieutenant, November, 1881; and Captain, February, 1884.
He served during the North-West Rebellion of 1885 as Captain of No. 3 Service Co., Queen’s Own Rifles, was appointed Adjutant of the Regiment in 1886, and continued to serve in that capacity with the rank of Captain, until transferred to the 48th Highlanders as Major upon the organization of the regiment in February, 1892,
Macdonald was gazetted Lieutenant Colonel Commanding the 48th Highlanders June 8th, 1900. He has always taken an active interest in Militia affairs, particularly in matters pertaining to the encouragement of rifle shooting, and for many years was a regular attendant at the rifle matches of the Ontario and Dominion Rifle Associations. He was for years a member of the Council and also of the Executive Committee of the Dominion Rifle Association. Also a member of the Council and Chairman of the Executive and Finance Committees of the Ontario Rifle Association. He was a member of the Bisley Team in 1896, and served as Adjutant of the Team in 1892.
Since the organization of the Highlanders he was Chairman of the Regimental Rifle Committee and Captain of the Rifle Teams. He served on various occasions on the Staff of the District Camps of Instruction at Niagara in the several capacities of Instructor in Musketry. Brigade Major, and Chief Staff Officer, and was acting in the latter capacity at the Divisional Camp at Niagara when gazetted to the command of the regiment. He was vice-president of the [now Royal] Canadian Military Institute, and held first-class Royal School of Infantry and Equitation Certificates.
During the First World War he was promoted to Colonel and Brigadier or the 1st Canadian Training Brigade, Military District No. 2. On January 21, 1917 Macdonald was crushed to death by an engine that backed into a crowd of people at Union Station in Toronto while seeing off a CASC draft.. He is buried in Forest Lawn Mausoleum.