MacBeth, John Douglas

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John Douglas Macbeth
1903 – 1951
LtCol Macbeth portrait detail.jpg
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Lt-Col
Lieutenant-Colonel John Douglas Macbeth, (1903 - 1951) was a Canadian soldier who served as a unit Commanding Officer during the Second World War and in the Militia before and after the war.[1]

Early Years

John Douglas Macbeth was raised in Ottawa Ontario and educated at Lisgar Collegiate.


Macbeth joined 3rd Divisional Signals as an officer cadet and by the age of 30 he had reached the rank of Major. In 1937, at the age of 33, he was appointed the Regiment's Commanding Officer. He brimmed over with energy and enthusiasm which showed in the size and spirit of the unit in those days.

When war was declared in 1939 he volunteered immediately to go overseas and accepted a reduction in rank to Captain so he could command No. 3 Company of the newly formed 2nd Divisional Signal Regiment.

He led a varied career overseas. He was a bright, intelligent, aggressive young officer and the brass had great things planned. He was promoted to Major within a year of arriving in England and to LtCol in November 1941. He took over command of 2nd Divisional Signals and was sent in 1942 to command the Toronto Scottish Regiment to test out his capabilities. His term of command didn't turn out as planned and his quick rise levelled off. He returned to Signals to command 2nd Divisional Signals for the Dieppe Raid from which he returned safely. He was involved in the Italian Campaign and then returned to Northern Europe where he finished the war.

At the end of the war he returned to Ottawa and resumed command of "3 Sigs". To bolster the Regiment and keep contact with old war time Signals types he formed the Blue and White Club (Signals Colours for Tac Signs). While he officially denied it, the club acted as an active recruiting post for the Regiment.

Macbeth's teaming with Major Doug Baldock was a move that created a unit that won more trophies and awards in the next ten years than any Signals unit in Canada.

Doug Macbeth's life was cut short in 1950 by a heart attack.

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  1. With material from Communicator Article, May 1978, Captain DT Allan. (763 Communication Regiment History CD).