Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Reginald J. S. Macdonald
(1840-1876)
1 August 1862

Volume 9, page 25, sitting number 11,099.

Reginald John Somerled Macdonald was born at Saugor in India on 1 October 1840. His father was Captain Alan Ranald Macdonald of HM's Indian Army and his mother was Anne Eliza née Smith. He was a great-grandson of Flora Macdonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Battle of Culloden.

He appears on the 1861 census living with his mother at Grove House, Wisenden, Berkshire, the home of his maternal grandmother, Ellen Smith, an officer's widow.

For several seasons during the 1860s Macdonald was an avid mountaineer, spending his summer holidays climbing in the Alps with other members of the recently formed Alpine Club. According to an article by Michael Yellowlees published in The Alpine Journal (2013), his 'exploits included a significant number of first ascents and passages.' Edward Whymper called him 'the coolest of the cool.'

On 18 July 1868 at All Saints' in Margaret Street, he married Emma Cicely Zelia Grove, youngest daughter of the physical scientist William Robert Grove, QC, FRS.

Reginald Macdonald 'late of the Colonial Office Whitehall' died, aged only 35, of chronic alcoholism on 26 August 1876, at 2 Chapel Street West in Mayfair. He was survived by his two daughters, his wife having died of tuberculosis the previous year.



code: cs0543
Reginald John Somerled Macdonald, mountaineer, the Alpine Club, Alpine Club, Reginald Macdonald, Macdonald, died young, Camille Silvy, Silvy