Donald MacDonald, known as Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, was born in the township of Corùna in North Uist. He enlisted in the militia at the age of 17, and served with the Cameron Highlanders in France until wounded during the Battle of the Somme, and then after recovery, with the West Riding Field Regiment. He returned to his native Uist after the war, and worked for most of his life as a builder and stonemason, marrying and raising two children. Life on the island was hard, and Dòmhnall Ruadh must have suffered the disillusionment of many returning servicemen, but his poetry always showed an innate sympathy with his fellow men.
Dòmhnall Ruadh's war poems express the horror of the front-line soldier in the face of modern warfare. He is perhaps the best-known of the Gaelic language poets of the trenches, despite the fact that he did not himself write the poems down – they were transcribed before his death, and published in two editions, the second one bilingual, edited by Fred Macaulay, and published under the title Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna: orain is dain in 1995.