Hugh Munro Mackay was born in Tongue on the 14th March 1890, son of Hugh Mackay and Hughina Mackenzie of the Post Office, Coldbackie, Tongue. He left Tongue to live in Kirkcaldy Fife, Mr Todd of the Ravenscraig Tavern employed him as a barman. Prior to that Mr McMaster at the Victoria Bar had employed him.
Hugh lived at 86 Mid Street Pathhead with his wife Jane Taylor Ross Mackay and his two daughters Agnes and Hughina. He enlisted into the Army in Kirkcaldy in 1915 joining the H.C.B. he was then transferred to the 1 Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.He was then sent to France for six months.In January 1916, his battalion was sent out to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) to fight against the Turkish Army. The battalion was sent as reinforcements to assist with the relief of Kut El Amara, entering the front line twenty miles from the town.
On 31st October 1918 the H.L.I. attacked the town of Mushak and it was during this attack that Private Hugh Mackay was shot in the head and seriously wounded. He died from his wounds in a casualty clearing station at the age of twenty-eight. A few days before his death Hugh had written a letter to his wife Jane, saying he hoped to be home soon. A telegram soon arrived from the War Office to say he had died from wounds received in action. When Hugh’s brother George, who lived at 8 Lawrence Street in Buckhaven was informed about the death of his brother, he reportedly fell down dead from complications caused by influenza.
Hugh Mackay was one of eleven children, Hugh’s father died on the 30th of August 1915, his mother died on the 7th of November 1917 aged 63 years. Hugh's brother Magnus took over as postmaster in Coldbackie.
Mr Hugh Mackay senior was the brother of Alex ‘Bolt’ Mackay from Scullomie who lost his three sons in World War One. (See Angus, Donald and Magnus Mackay Scullomie.) Private Hugh Mackay appears on both the Tongue and Kirkcaldy War Memorials.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE
Mackay Hugh M. Kirkcaldy. 43176. Private. Died of wounds in Mesopotamia. 31-10-18.1 Battalion Highland Light Infantry.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSIONMackay Private Hugh Munro 43176. 1 Battalion Highland Light Infantry. Died of wounds. 31 October 1918. Son of the late Hugh Mackay of Coldbackie Tongue, Sutherland. Plot 11. Row A. Grave 3.
Private Hugh Mackay 43176, 1 Battalion Highland Light Infantry is buried in a war grave at BAGHDAD (NORTH GATE) WAR CEMETERY, IRAQ