The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1917
Captain Allan MacDougall
Captain Allan MacDougall.
When he made the final sacrifice in Delville Wood on August 4th Allan MacDougall was what he was at Victoria College from 1906 to 1909. He was a big, frank, smiling, good natured boy; with a fund of humour; utterly unspoiled by success and by the "petting" that the earlier Rhodes Scholars were subjected to. Those who knew him at Victoria knew him also at Oxford and afterwards; for he had not changed in the least. There was only the experience of years, of the world, and of war behind his smiling eyes.
At Oxford, of course, Allan made friends as he did elsewhere. Even amongst the select of Rhodes Scholars he was easily marked as "a splendid young fellow, a man whom we all expected to work out a fine career." Those are the words Dr. Parkin, the organizing representative of the Scholarship Trust, uses in his letter to me. The Colonel of his battalion says : "I can't get over the loss of poor MacDougall. He was a great personal friend of mine and one of my best officers." But I like best the tribute which the Mayor of Kensington pays to his personality. That is what will always remain of him with his friends. "He had a most charming personality can never be filled, but his personality and example will always be had in remembrance by those who had the privilege of knowing him."
I saw Allan a number of times when he was on leave from the front. Until the last time he was always the page 26 same smooth-faced, cheery individual that he was at Victoria College. But on that occasion—he had had some weeks in the new deadly trenches of Souchez, where the French fought for the gravestones in the cemetery—he showed just a trace of the ravages of war. He had lost some flesh, and there were some lines on his face. One could not doubt that the ghosts of dead comrades were appearing to him. But he had a philosophy of his own. He took every day as it came, knowing perfectly well that if one attack failed another must be made.
The 22nd Royal Fusiliers were not in the earliest stages of the "push" but they were thrown in later. Captain MacDougall seems to have taken his platoon into the trenches for a spell and he was just writing hi formal report to his C.O "Relief complete"; when he was killed without being able to sign the memorandum. A companion in arms, the adjutant of the battalion, sends some touching verses to "The Times" on his death:—
Not where in grey surge of unnumbered miles
Rises the coronach of the Hebrides;
Nor far away where molten sunlight smiles
On Southern Seas;
Not from the cloistered strife of Academe,
Spent with its subtle warfare, bowed with years
Of honoured labour, did'st thou pass, supreme
Amongst thy peers :
But in the blasting hurricane of the fray,
Deaf to its roar, unheeding of its toll,
Humbly before the Altar did'st thou lay
Thy splendid soul.
So thou art gone, but who that lives can mourn
The promise of thy manhood, who by fire
Tried and accepted, did'st endure to scorn
The world's desire ?
Rather we pray that we who hold the fort,
May with an equal courage pace our beat,
Till, unashamed, we can at last report
Fourteen Rhodes Scholars have now given their lives, and three of them are form New Zealand. Victoria has given two—MacDougall and Athol Hudson.