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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Lieut.-Colonel Charles Carlyle MacDowell, C.M.G., D.S.O

(1874 - 1959)

A Grand Soldier


Lieut.-Colonel Charles Carlyle MacDowell, C.M.G., D.S.O

Born 1874 in Carlow, son of Charles William. MacDowell, M.D. and his wife Dorothy, of Otter Holt, Kilkenny Road, Carlow the Carlow Union Medical Officer.
 
The MacDowell's were a noted Carlow Family, who lived in Montgomery House which was built in 1847 by Dr. McDowell..  C. W. MacDowell had followed his own father into Medicine, his father was Benjamin Francis McDowell MD. Trinity College, Dublin. Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Surgeon to Mercer's Hospital, died February 8th 1879 aged 38 years.  Charles' brother also continues the family tradition in Carlow.

Charles Carlyle MacDowell joined the army in 1892, married in 1896. His military career had a great start but by 1912 he resigned the reason is not clear, but it may have something to do with him been removed from the Sharpshooters; a special unit he had created. In 1914 he returned to the reserve and then to Active Force in 1915, where during the War years he excel with promotions and honours been award; Order of St Michael and St George and the DSO, along with other commendations.

MacDowell was one of these special officers who in War and only in War worked best. However from 1914 to 1920 his rank was changed from Captain to Acting Col and back on number of occasions, yet when given command he showed quality and skills as leader but from some reason was fighting and up hill struggle against his superiors.

After the War he remained on the Active list until 1929. He took great interest in the welfare of ex-soldiers and been a founding member and Chairman of the Discharged Sailors', Soldiers' & Airmen's Co-Operative Limited which was created in 1920.

MacDowell lived in London for the rest of his life, he died in March of 1959 aged 85, and The London Times publish this.

However there are sad sides to his life, the loss of a son during the War, a business misadventures and family break-up's. His Son George Charles MacDowell was killed on the Western Front aged only 19 while leading his men in battle. This had a major affect on C.C. MacDowell for the rest of his life. His Military aspects of his life cause his marriage to dissolve and divorce in 1925, he remarried but this ended before 1929.
 
The 1930's proved as unlucky as another failed marriage and he was declared Bankrupt in 1938. The 1940's; apart from phone book entries, I cannot find anything on him, it is possible he may have returned to some form of military unit.
 
It all sounds a sad end to a Grand Soldier.


Carlow Sentinel, June 14th 1919.

Lieut-Colonel C.C. MacDowell, D.S.O. (Major Reserve of Officers Royal Artillery).

Son of the late C. W. MacDowell, M.D. of Otter Holt, Kilkenny Road, Carlow has been appointed in the recent Kings Birthday Honours, a companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, for his services in the final advance on Mons where he commanded four Brigades of Artillery.

Col. MacDowell after serving in the early days of the war, as second-in-command of the 6th Battalion Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) through the battles of Festubut and Neuve Chappelle, 1915, was selected to command the 281st Brigade, R.F.A., in November 1915, and has continued in command of this brigade on the Western front since that date.

The D.S.O. was awarded to him for his services in the battle of the Somme.

He commanded a group of artillery in all the great battles of the years 1916, 1917, 1918, including Arras Cambrai, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Langemark, Bapaume, St. Quentin and Mons.

Colonel MacDowell's eldest son, Captain C. M. V. MacDowell, 6th Royal Highlanders, died of wounds received at Gavrelle, during the first battle of Arras, 1917, after serving with the famous 51st (Highland) Division in France since early in 1915, he was only 19 and a half years, when he was killed.


Source: Terry Curran & Michael Purcell 2010

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