Isaac McDonald (Barnhardt) signature

Isaac Barnhardt signed up in Webbwood, Ontario on this day in 1916, under the name Isaac McDonald. He was born on March 5th, 1888 in Tyendinaga, the son of Joseph Barnhardt and Annie (née Doreen), who were both Mohawks.

Isaac joined the 119th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 754640. He was five feet five and three quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he sailed from Halifax on the SS Metagama on August 8th, 1916. He was transferred to the 52nd Battalion and joined them in France on December 6th.

In January 1917 Isaac was admitted to hospital suffering from inflamed connective tissue in his right foot. He returned to duty in February. A shell explosion at Vimy Ridge in March left him partially deaf in his right ear. On November 13th, 1917 McDonald was admitted to hospital with a gunshot wound to his right shoulder. He rejoined his unit on November 22nd.

In August 1918 he was promoted to lance corporal, and a month later became a corporal. In March 1919 he was awarded the Military Medal for his actions at Boiry in August. The 52nd Battalion’s war diary explains more:

754640 Pte. I. McDonald

During the attack on BOIRY, August 28th, 1918, this man, when his platoon and section commanders had become casualties, reorganized and took charge of a Lewis Gun Section and succeeded in disposing of some enemy machine guns which were holding up the advance. Later in the day, when his machine gun was destroyed by a shell, he immediately salvaged another, and used it with such good effect, that an enemy counter attack was beaten off.

Isaac returned to Canada in March 1919 and was demobilized in Toronto on March 30th. He married Charlotte Hill on October 29th, 1919 in Tyendinaga.