Unveiling of the commemorative table for Petty Officer Ronald MacDonald
On the 19th April, 2013 the commemorative table for Australian naval officer Petty Officer Ronald MacDonald (1918-1942) was revealed by the Australian Admiral Allan du Toit and the Australian ambassador Peter Tesch at the German naval monument in Laboe. MacDonalds destiny stands on behalf for the fallen Australian sailors in the Second World War.

The commemorative table for Petty Officer MacDonald underlines the international character of the naval monument and should clarify, that the naval monument in Laboe remembers of all the fallen of different nations.

The idea for installation of the commemorative table for Petty Officer MacDonald appeared in November 2011 on the occasion of a commemoration ceremony in memory of the fallen of the fight between him Australian cruiser SYDNEY and the German auxiliary cruiser KORMORAN.

Together ambassador Tesch and the German naval union pursued this path. Finally, the choice fell on Petty Officer MacDonald, because during the Second World War he has served in the Mediterranean, as well as in the Indian Ocean.

In connection with the laying of a wreath, in which ambassador Tesch and Rear Admiral du Toit remembered the fallen on the seas in the name of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Royal Australian Navy, a ceremony for the inauguration of the commemorative table for Petty Officer MacDonald took place in the historic hall of the naval monument.

In his greeting Karl Heid, president of the German Naval Union, reemphasized that the commemorative table emphatically underlines the special character of the naval monument :"For the German naval union it's an honor, on this current day here in the historic hall of the naval monument, to reveal the commemorative table for Petty Officer Ronald MacDonald. It is the visible proof of the importance of this place as an international memorial of peace and reconciliation."

Also the Australian ambassador Peter Tesch stressed in his greeting words the importance meaning of the naval monument as a mark of the friendship between Germany and Australia:"Petty Officer MacDonalds short life shows how closely things which geographically seem to be far away from each other are closely tied together."He reminded at the same time also of the exposure of the commemorative table for the fallen of the fight between SYDNEY and the KORMORAN in the naval monument in November 2010 with which the good and close relation between the German naval union and the Commonwealth of Australia was founded.

In his firm lecture Rear Admiral Allan du Toit, military representative of Australia with the NATO, described the short life of Petty Officer Ronald Allan Heffernan MacDonald. He was born on the 18th of March1918 in Footscray, Victoria / Australia as one of eight children and joined the Australian Naval on the 30th of October 1935. From 1939 he served as an ASDIC operating surgeon on the destroyer STUART. Together with four other older Australian destroyers the STUART strengthened the British Mediterranean fleet since January 1940. On the 29th of September 1940 the STUART sank the Italian submarine GONDAR. For his engagement in this fight MacDonald was distinguished with the Distinguished Service Medal.

Afterwards MacDonald was promoted to Petty Officer. In 1941 he was shifted on the destroyer VAMPIRE. In April 1942 the VAMPIRE operated together with the British aircraft carrier HERMES of Trincomalee on Ceylon, current Sri Lanka. On the 9th of April1942 Trincomalee and both ships were attacked by Japanese aeroplanes. Both ships were sunk by Japanese dive bombers and the HERMES lost 307 sailors while the VAMPIRES lost nine men including the commander. The hospital ship VITA saved 590 survivors of both ships and brought them to Colombo. Among them was also Ronald MacDonald who succumbed to his difficult injuries on the 13th of April1 942. "His example inspires us up to the current day"concluded Rear Admiral du Toit.

In connection with the unveiling the historian of the German naval union, Dr. Jann M. Witt, gave a short introduction to the draft of the historic hall: "The new exhibition stresses the role of the naval monument as a memorial place for the fallen on the sea and a memorial against forgetting, not only for the Germans, but also for the allied fallen."

The solemn unveiling of the commemorative table formed the conclusion of the short, but poignantly ceremony for Petty Officer MacDonald by ambassador Tesch and Rear Admiral du Toit.

The ceremony was musically accompanied by the wood blower quintet of the Naval Music Corps the Baltic Sea. About 50 guests, numerous representatives of politics and the armed forces, participated in the event.

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