Alexander Mackay was born in
Skerray, son of Mr and Mrs John Mackay of Achnabat, Skerray, Sutherlandshire.
He enlisted in the Army in Skerray, once he had completed his military training
he was sent to the 2 Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders with the 10
Brigade 4 Division in France.
He fought with the 2 Seaforths
on the 1 of July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme
and the attack on Beaumont Hamel. (See John Angus Grant Mackay, Clashbuie.) He
then fought with the Seaforths at High Wood and the attack on Longueval, taking
part in some of the fiercest fighting of the First World War.
The battalion buried all the dead they
could find at the side of the sunken road from Les Bouefs to Ginchy, the burial
party was forced to work under heavy shellfire from both sides. On the 16
of October the battalion was shelled by British artillery, the casualties were
two men killed, two wounded and five suffering from severe shell shock.
October the 17 was a very wet
day and again the 2 Seaforths came under friendly shellfire,
several men were wounded, enemy artillery bombarded Thistle and Shamrock
trenches heavily. At 5:30pm the battalion was relieved by the 1 East
Lancashire Regiment, the relief was completed in the dark under terrible
conditions of mud and heavy rain.
The battalion marched back, approximately six
kilometres from the front line trenches at Les Bouefs to Bernafay crossroads,
just south of Longueval and Delville wood. The Battalion War Diary says that
“it was quite a way considering everything and in the centre of all traffic,”
the battalion spent the rest of the day in billets cleaning themselves up.
On the evening of the 19 of
October a party of men were sent out to fill in old trenches to the North of
the village of Guillemont. The party arrived at the old trenches and began work
in the bitter cold filling in trenches, one of the men struck a buried ‘dud’
shell with his pick or shovel and there was an explosion.
Alexander Mackay was one of two men killed when the unexploded shell detonated,
eleven other men were wounded; he was twenty four years of age.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL
Alexander. (b) Skerray, Tongue, Sutherlandshire.S/40033. Private. Died F&F
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES
Mackay Private Alexander.
S/40033. 2 Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. Killed in action.
20-10-16. Age 24. Son of Mr and Mrs John
Mackay of Achnabat Skerray, Thurso.
Plot T Grave 13.
Private Alexander Mackay
S/40033, 2 Battalion Seaforth Highlanders is buried in a war grave
at CARNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, SOMME, FRANCE.