Donald was born in Wolverhampton in 1897, the son of Horace Joseph Alfred and Emma Starkey. Donald attended the Willenhall Road Council School, and later the Higher Grade School in Wolverhampton, and the family lived in Willenhall. Donald worked as a junior clerk in the offices of Frank Harrison, Clerk to the Wolverhampton Board of Guardians.
As soon as he was old enough he tried to enlist, but was initially rejected. On 10 December 1915, he enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Honourable Artillery Company (service number 7407), bu which date his address was 22 Clark Road, Wolverhampton and his trade was stamper. On 18 April 1917, he was killed in action in the Battle of Arras. Donald was featured in the Midland Counties Express on 12 May 1917.
Following his death, his effects were sent home to his father, as follows:
Discs, Letters, Photos, Wallet, Religious book, Pouch, Metal mirror, Safety razor in case, Mirror in case, Knife, Belt, Dagger in case, sponge, razor and cap badge.
However, his father responded to say “I was surprised to find that my son’s wristwatch + Purse were not include with the other things. I should be glad if it were possible for these to be found + forwarded to me.” It is not clear whether these were ever found.
He also wrote to find the location of his son’s grave. He had heard from the Red Cross that a Private Woollard, who had been with his son when he was killed, that Donald and six others had been buried in Bailleul with a cross over the grave. Unfortunately neither the Commonwealth War Graves Commission nor the London Infantry Record Office were unable to confirm these details, and Private Woollard had himself died of wounds on 17 August 1917.
Donald is remembered on the Arras Memorial in France, as well as on the Higher Grade School memorial in Wolverhampton, and the roll of honour for Darlington Street Methodist Church.