D.C.M. London Gazette 19.4.1901.
Sergeant William McDonald, D.C.M., was decorated for his command of the machine-guns of the Gordon Highlanders during the successful assault at Bergendaal on 27.8.1900.
He was first Mentioned in Despatches by General Buller who stated that 'Cpl. W. McDonald was in charge of machine guns, and his conduct on all occasions was specially worthy of commendation' (London Gazette 8.2.1901 refers).
More specifically, McDonald's actions at Bergendaal earned him a second Mention:
'One very noticeable incident in the attack was the great tactical skill with which the maxims of the Gordons, Inniskillings, Rifle Brigade and Devons were handled by their respective detachments. The fire of these guns contributed materially to the successful result of the assault. General Kitchener especially brings to notice the conduct of No. 2860 Corporal William McDonald, Gordon Highlanders, and of Lieutenant A.C. Jeffcoat, of the Inniskilling Fusiliers, while in command of gun detachments' (London Gazette 8.2.1901 refers).
The Official History noted of McDonald's handling of his machine gun:
'The lines of the Rifle Brigade rolled on, and they had come within eight hundred yards of the kopje, when the Police, who were watching keenly through the interstices of their toppling ramparts, showed that some of them still lived by delivering a fierce volley. It was followed by a withering magazine fire, not only from the kopje itself, but from some schanzes which, thrown up in advance of the main position north of the line, took the battalion in flank. Halting his men for a few moments to reply, Metcalfe deflected to the left one company from his reserve to deal with the northerly trenches, and another to the right to gain touch with the line of advance of the Royals. With the Rifle Brigade had gone the machine gun of the Gordon Highlanders, in charge of Corporal W. McDonald, who, utilising the pause, audaciously took his weapon into the foremost line, whence he poured bullets against the kopje.'