Macdonald Hervey Leach
December 21, 1924 – August 11, 2018
Macdonald ("Don") H. Leach was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on Dec. 21, 1924. Don spent his childhood in suburban Philadelphia and attended the George School where he excelled in soccer. After graduating, he joined the Army in the summer of 1943. He was sent to basic training in what is now known as South Beach, Miami. The hotels along the beach had been taken over by the military and used to house the trainees. The air conditioning was not to be used for the duration. Later he was sent for advanced training in Fargo, North Dakota. He was assigned to the 795 AAA (AW) battalion.
In early 1944 he was shipped overseas, first landing in Whales then to Portsmouth and Brighton (he visited Brighton again in 1995) before being sent to a processing substation outside of London. Don landed in Normandy 12 days after the June 6 invasion. He was assigned to a nearby airfield as part of an operation to secure the airfield and the surrounding area. During a German attack, the airfield was bombed and Don sustained a shrapnel injury to his knee. Suffering from exposure, he developed pneumonia and was sent back to a hospital in Southampton to recover. He recalled being on the beach lying on an air mattress and seeing a luxury ship converted for hospital use as well as U.S. and British warships and smaller landing craft. He was given a box with the Purple Heart while in the British hospital but there was no paper work involved and it was not later recognized. After his recovery, he was sent to a replacement unit near Paris where he rejoined the 795th Unit. Later he was stationed in Belgium and later in Wurzburg, Germany.
Of his war time, he remembered his father telling him before he left "Keep your mouth shut, your eyes open and never, never volunteer for anything!" He also remembered the kindness of the people to men in uniform. In North Dakota at Thanksgiving time during a short supply run, three people invited him to join them for dinner and added: "and bring a couple of friends". Don returned to the U.S. and was discharged in January 4, 1949.
After the war Don went to Yale University majoring in English. In the early 1950s he moved to Manhattan for a number of years and worked in sales and advertising for several automobile companies including Packard and the French auto company, Citroen, for which he became advertising director.
Don moved to the Washington area in the late 1960's to work for the Library of Congress copyright office and retired in 1990. A life-long car enthusiast, Don was an authority on cars of the pre-war era and wrote published articles. He was a member of several car clubs including the Lambda Car Club of Washington of which he was a founding member. Don was an avid reader and was very knowledgeable about American history and the British royal family. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his story telling and his sharp wit. He will be greatly missed.
Don passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, August 11, 2018 and is survived by his brother Douglas and wife Denise of Harleysville, Pa., his nephews Brian and Christopher and many long-time friends.
A recent video interview of Don may be seen by going to the WW2 Memorial Friends' website at http://video.foxnews.com/v/5794485771001/?#sp=show-clips
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Washington DC VA Fisher House, 50 Irving Street, NW, Washington, DC 20422
- Memorial Visitation Wednesday, September 5, 2018
- Memorial Service Wednesday, September 5, 2018