Monday, 9 November 2009

Lance Cpl. James Mackay

Lance Corporal James Mackay 183rd Machine Gun Company commemorated on Dornoch War Memorial. He is also commemorated on his parents' gravestone in Golf Road cemetery, Dornoch, recorded in the Clan Mackay Society War Memorial Roll of Honour and listed on the United Free Church Memorial Plaque in Dornoch Cathedral.  James was awarded the Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, War Medal and Victory Medal.

"L.Corpl. James Mackay, M.G. Corps, 61st Div., son of Mr Kenneth Mackay, Church Officer, St. Gilbert St..,- a soldier upon whom the Military Medal had been conferred for conspicious bravery and resource in face of the enemy, and whom the Council and community were looking forward to welcome home, and to formally congratulate him on the honour bestowed upon him by the King. During active operations near LA VACQUERIE between December 1st and 5th. This N.C.O. performed invaluable work with the Transport coming up with rations every night and always getting these rations there under all  difficulties. On one occasion his party were knocked out, 1 man and 2 mules being killed, but he contrived to get rations up by doing a double journey. This incident took place while passing through Villers Plouich." (from the citation on presentation of Military Medal).

Extract from the Burgh Record by the Dornoch Town Clerk Hector M. Mackay- presumably mid November 1918 reads:  "Before proceeding to the business set forth on the Aggenda (sic), resolved that the Provost, Magistrates, and Councillers (sic), for themselves, and as representing the community, Do express on the record of their Minutes their sorrow at the death in the terrible War, just ended, of another of their young townsmen, stricken down in his young manhood, while bravely fighting for his King and Country, and their sincere sympathy with the members of the bereaved family, viz".

James was born on 4th August 1896 to Kenneth Mackay, ploughman and his wife Johan Sutherland at Ospisdale, Brora, Creich. He was brought up in Dornoch and on the outbreak of World War 1 joined the Army. He was with the 61st Battallion Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he died and had been with them for about a year, according to letters from his commanding officer to his parents.He was a Lance Corporal by the time he died. He earned the Military Medal at Cambrai, awarded December 1917.  When he was killed by shrapnel  he was taking ammunition up to the guns. Date of death is recorded as 1st November 1918. His Commanding Officer said they buried him at Atres and had a small cross put on his grave, a photo was sent home to hs parents. The official memorial is at Valenciennes Communal Cemetery.

Information from James's nephew, Kenneth Mackay, New Zealand.

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