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Donald was born at Duirinish, Skye in about 1791, the son of Angus MacAskill and Effie MacLeod of Pabbay, later Berneray.
Donald became a solder and:
'tradition has it that he was the only person who could escape out of Fort George at night. He did so by putting the tongs or poker between his legs and sliding down the high walls, which slope outward from the top.'
(Place Names of Berneray)
It is said that he fought in the Battle of Waterloo, serving with the Royal Scots Greys. By 1851 he was a Chelsea Pensioner, living with his wife Effie MacKinnon and their two children at Siabaidh.