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  • Claire Jordan

Fred's Heart

In the middle of the magnificent amphitheatre of #CWGC headstones at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery on the heights above Folkestone is this very sweet and unique marker.

It belongs to 20 year old New Brunswick school-teacher Fred MacDonald.

On 30th July 1915, the day he first landed in England with his 6th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, there was a summer thunderstorm going on over the Kent coast.

Fred finished unpacking his virtually unused kit in the tented camp up at Dibgate at about 1pm and wandered outside to watch the storm overhead.

At that moment, a bolt of lightning flashed down. It knocked many of his mates to the ground, but Fred was the only one it struck.

The charge passed through his body and stopped his heart instantaneously.

The Medical Officer tried CPR but he was gone.

His friends in the Regiment were so moved and shocked by what had happened to their friend on their first day in England that they clubbed together to pay for his headstone themselves.

Unlike the graves around him, Fred’s is currently swamped by beautiful little white flowers, as though his friends are still keeping his grave tended themselves.

Bless him, he may never have made it across the Channel to the Front, but he could have given no more and We Will Remember Him always.

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