Alexander Mackay was born in
Leith, Edinburgh, the son of John and Mary Mackay of 6l Restalrig Road; John
Mackay was a policeman with Leith police force. Alex was the husband of Jessie
Mackay from Tongue, who owned the small Post Office in Coldbackie. He was also
the grandson of Alexander 'Bolt' Mackay, Scullomie. (See Magnus, Donald and Angus
Mackay, Scullomie who all appear on this website).
At the outbreak of World War
Two, Alex was employed by Balfour Beatty as an engineer and was the foreman on
a site in the Orkney Islands. He volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve, in August 1943 he joined 'D' flight, 4 Squadron R.A.F. to
begin his training.
Once he had completed his R.A.F.
training, he was posted to 27(Lion) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, at
R.A.F. Leeming in North Yorkshire, flying Halifax mark III bombers. The
Canadian Air Force had taken heavy casualties in the nightly raids against
Germany and was having problems recruiting in Canada. To replace the heavy
losses, Royal Air Force personnel were posted to Canadian Squadrons to make up
the shortfall; Alex Mackay was posted to 427 Squadron as a flight engineer.
At 7pm on the 9 of
August 1944, Flight Sergeant Alex Mackay took off from R.A.F.
Lemming in North Yorkshire, aboard
Halifax (Mark III) bomber, MZ363 ZL. The rest
of the crew were all Royal Canadian
Air Force; the pilot was Flight Lieutenant G P Wyse and co-pilot Flying Officer
J S Beresford. The other members of the crew were Pilot Officer J J Ringer the
navigator, Sergeant R G Grout, Sergeant S J Levesque and W02 R S Ferguson who
were the air gunners.
During the night of 9 and 10 of August 1944,
427 Squadron attacked four V-I
flying-bomb sites at La Neuville in
France, with fifty-eight Halifax bombers and twenty
Mosquito bombers. Halifax bomber MZ 363 ZL was lost
on the raid, it crashed into the sea off the French coast.
Local people found Flight
Sergeant Alex Mackays body on the beach and buried him in a French civilian
cemetery; three of his comrades were also found and buried near by. The remains
of other three crewmembers were not recovered; their names are remembered on
the Runnymeade Memorial to the missing of the Royal Air Force. The Mackay
family from Scullomie suffered the greatest loss of any in Tongue during the
two World Wars and this sacrifice must not be forgotten.
WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE
Mackay, Alexander, (b) Leith, 1825581. Flight
Bomber Command. Killed in action Europe. 9-8-44.
Mackay, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), Alexander,
18255821 427(R.C.A.F.) Squadron.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 9th August 1944.
Age 37. Son of John and Mary
Mackay, Leith, Edinburgh, husband of Jessie M.A.
Mackay of Tongue, Sutherlandshire.
Plot 10, Row C, Grave 9.
Flight Sergeant Alexander Mackay 18255821 Royal Air
Force Volunteer Reserve is buried in a war grave at BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY,