Rear Admiral Donald J. MacDonald (1908–1997) had a varied career that included tours as an aide at the White House just prior to U.S. involvement in World War II and as a special naval observer at the U.S. Embassy in London, where he witnessed the Battle of Britain and the bombing of London. He served as executive officer of the USS O'Bannon (DD-450) during the capture and defense of Guadalcanal, and later commanded the ship. During the rest of the war he held positions on the staffs of Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet, Commander U.S. Naval Forces France, and, finally, served on the staff of Commander Naval Forces Germany.
In this excerpt from his U.S. Naval Institute oral history, MacDonald recounts arriving in London at the behest of Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley right before the Battle of Britain, living through the air raids, and participating in conversations with British officials regarding the division of roles and responsibilities between the United States and Britain should the United States enter World War II.