James Macdonald Mackay was born at Portskerra, Farr, son of Colin Mackay and his wife Catherine Macdonald and grandson of George Mackay, crofter and fisherman, and his wife Elizabeth Mackay and of James Macdonald, fisherman, and his wife Catherine Cameron.
James died aboard H.M.S. Victory on 12th September 1918 from pneumonia. He is buried in a War Grave in Kirkton Melvich Burial Ground. His parents are buried in the same burial ground. James is commemorated on the Portskerra and Melvich War Memorial and is recorded in the Clan Mackay Society War Memorial Roll of Honour.