Image from "The Celtic Monthly” Feb. 1899, The Blair Collection National Library of Scotland
Lt Col John McDonnell, KSG1823 – 13 Sept 1905. (courtesy of John Dickson KC*HS)
He died at his residence, aged 82 years, Kilmore, Glenariff, County Antrim. Billet dated 1 July 1870 arising from his efforts on behalf of catholic soldiers in South Africa. The award was made by Pope Pius IX. He belonged to one of the oldest families in the North of Ireland - the M'Donnells of Antrim - who played a prominent part in the life of the county from the dawn of history. John became an Ensign in June 1844 in the Cape Mounted Riflemen, was promoted Captain in 1851 and was a distinguished officer in the Kaffir war. He was a member of the Cape Mounted Riflemen during South Africa's Frontier Wars of 1834 – 1853. He was awarded the South Africa 1853 Medal. He led the successful attack under Sir George Berkeley against a large body of Kaffirs posted on one of their strongest positions at the Sohoto Mountain. Was present in action at the defeat of the Boers at Boem Plaats 29 August 1848, and on Major Armstrong being severely wounded he commanded the Cape Mounted Riflemen during the latter part of the engagement. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in May 1867. He married the Hon Madeline O’Hagan, daughter of Lord O’Hagan Lord Chancellor of Ireland in July 1870; she died in October 1875 without issue. His will was probated at £20,356. Buried at Layde, Cushendall, Co Antrim. (Thanks are expressed to the following for their assistance: Randal of Cushendun; Alexander, Earl of Antrim and his brother the Hon Hector; Dr Alasdair McDonnell).