Ewen George Sinclair-Maclagan was born on the 24th December 1868 in Edinburgh. He was educated at the United Services College, Westward Ho! North Devon and commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Border Regiment in 1898.
He served in India, including the expedition to Waziristan in 1894-5, and was promoted Captain in 1898. He saw action in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902) as an Adjutant in the 1st Battalion Border Regiment. He was severely wounded at Spion Kop, mentioned in dispatches and received the Distinguished Service Order. In 1901 he was posted to Australia when their Army was being organised, being appointed Adjutant to the New South Wales Scottish Rifles.
On the 29th January 1902 he married Edith Kathleen, daughter of Major General Sir George French, at St’ Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney. They would have one daughter. In 1904 Maclagan resumed regimental duty in Britain. Promoted Major in 1908 he then transferred to the Yorkshire Regiment.
In 1910 Major General Sir William Bridges, who had known Maclagan in Australia, was recruiting for staff for the Royal Military College in Duntroon, Canberra. He made Maclagan director of drill with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. When Bridges raised the 1st Division Australian Imperial Force (AIF) he chose Maclagan to command the 3rd Infantry Brigade.
On the 25th April 1915 landed at Gallipoli. A ridge leading from Anzac Cove is named after him. He would stay on the peninsula until evacuated sick in August 1915. He did not return to his Brigade in Egypt until January 1916.
In France Maclagan saw action during the 1916 Somme offensive at Poziers and Mouquet Farm. He relinquished command of the 3rd Brigade in December, and from January to July 1917 commanded the AIF depots in Britain. He was then back in France commanding the 4th Australian Division and remained with the AIF till the end of the war.
1917 would see his appointments as C.B. and C.M.G. He was mentioned in dispatches 5 times, awarded the Serbian Order of the White Eagle, French Croix de Guerre and the American Distinguished Service Medal. After the war he became Colonel of the Border Regiment in August 1923, and retired on the 25th April 1925. He was made honorary Colonel of the 34th Battalion, Australian Military Forces 1933-38.
On retirement he lived at Glenquiech, near Forfar, in Scotland. His wife predeceased him 1928. Maclagan died at his daughter’s home in Dundee on the 24th November 1948.
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