Naval officer and artist, born in Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, where his father was a rubber, tea and coffee planter. As a small boy Roderick wished to go to sea. After prep school in Moffat he attended Fettes College, Edinburgh, developed an interest in art and became a fine rugby player, being made school captain – he also captained the Scottish Schoolboys, and played for United Services and Hampshire – and grew to love the Highlands while living in a croft with a Gaelic-speaking family. He abandoned the idea of being a full-time artist to join the Navy in 1939 and saw World War II and later service in widespread waters, drawing vivid illustrations of D-Day action. His 1993 book The Figurehead contains such sketches. Macdonald’s slim volume Your Ship, published 1971, remained a manual for officers taking command of their first vessel.
Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)