Group photo of the three MacLachlan brothers.
Left: Capt Graham MacLachlan, Royal Regiment of Canada
Middle: Lt(N) Campbell MacLachlan, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Right: Lt Edward Martin MacLachlan, 48th Highlanders of Canada
Graham MacLachlan was in command of the rear party of the Royal Regiment of Canada that was left behind in camp while the unit went off to take part in the infamous Dieppe Raid. He and the rest of the boys who were left behind believed that the unit had only gone on a two day training exercise. It was Adjutant MacLachlan who had to rebuilt the unit after its decimation on the French soil. Graham soon after left the unit for four months, joining a British unit of the Buffs in North Africa. Graham MacLachlan has the unique distinction of leading the group of men who knocked out the first tiger Tank of the entire war. In 1947 he was made Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment.
Lieutenant Edward Martin MacLachlan (age 23) was killed in action while serving with the 1st Division, 48th Highlander of Canada on July 15th, 1943. MacLachlan has the unfortunate distinction of being the first fatal casualty of the unit during the Second World War. It is stated that “The unit’s carriers were in advance of all other fighting units. The first carrier advancing from Grammiceli to Caltagirone was shot up and put out of action at a roadblock of concrete and stone. Lieutenant MacLachlan realizing that the Canadians were hitting their first real pocket of German opposition, went forward with his carrier, taking the place of the previous leader and now was the first man facing the enemy.” Knowing that the halting of the line here would greatly slow the advance of the entire column, and put all men behind him in greater peril, he quickly seized the situation checking for mines before ushering the carriers to advance. It was just then, while directly looking out for the safety of his men that a mine he had missed, detonated underneath his carrier. He died instantly and did not suffer. Stewart B. East, the units beloved Padre stated that the “quick decision and brave act of Eddie MacLachlan made it possible for the oncoming forces to advance quickly and take the city.” Padre East constructed a simple wood cross and Eddie was buried near it not far from the location he gave his life. Edward had two brothers in the service as well, Graham MacLachlan of the Royal Regiment of Canada, and Campbell MacLachlan of the RCNVR. Edward was held in high esteem by all who knew him, as proven by the countless letters regarding his character written by family, friends, and coworkers after his death in Italy. One poignant letter written by a comrade to his mother states “While at school and when we left school. I always considered Ed one of my best and closest friends and had hoped that the friendship would carry on again once together. However, that was not to be the case. I have lost a great friend in Ed. A finer son no man could wish to have. This news has hit me just as hard as if it were my own brother. I wish to God that I could have been there. He went the way he wanted and the way all young men should who serve during these times. Most Sincerely -Roger Ramsay”
-Three brothers medals were donated in total: Campbell MacLachlan RCNVR (1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service medal, 1939-45 War Medal); Graham MacLachlan Royal Regiment of Canada (1939-45 Star, Africa Star with 1st Army Clasp, France and Germany Star, Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, 1939-45 War Medal), and finally Edward Martin MacLachlan 48th Highlanders of Canada (1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service medal, 1939-45 War Medal)