Donald Mackay was born in Scullomie, Tongue on the 14 of June 1884; he was the second son of Alexander ‘Bolt’ and Isabella Mackay.
Donald emigrated to New Zealand sometime before the first World War. At the outbreak of war he enlisted into the New Zealand Army, joining ‘C’ Company, 9 Squadron, Wellington Mounted Rifles. A mounted infantry force who dismounted to fight.
He served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine. In early 1917 the Wellington Mounted Rifles were a part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force which attacked the Turkish Army in Southern Palestine (now Israel). The Wellington Mounted Rifles were with the Desert Mounted Corps serving alongside Indian Cavalry units, British Army regular and Yeomanry Regiments.
The Egyptian Expeditionary Force crossed the Sinai desert from Egypt in January 1917 and attacked the Turks at Rafah and Khan Yunis. The Desert Mounted Force was tasked to outflank the enemy and then drive them out of Gaza City.
Trooper (his rank is wrongly shown on Tongue War Memorial as Corporal) Donald Mackay was killed in action on the 23 of February 1917 as his unit launched a cavalry attack on Khan Yunis; he was 32 years of age. He was buried at Khan Yunis with 33 other casualties from the attack, his body was moved after the war to its current resting-place.
He was the eldest brother of Angus Mackay Scullomie who was killed serving with the Machine Gun Corps and Magnus Mackay Scullomie who was killed in action serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. (See also Sergeant Alex Mackay R.A.F. on Tongue War Memorial).
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE Mackay Donald.11/1192. W.M.R. Killed in action 23-2-17. Trooper. (b) Sutherlandshire.New Zealand Forces.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSIONMackay Tpr Donald. 11/192. Wellington Mounted Rifles. N. Z. E. F. Killed in action
23 February 1917 age 32. Son of Alexander and Isabella Mackay of Scullomie Tongue, Lairg Sutherland. Plot C. Grave 90.
Trooper Donald Mackay 11/1192, Wellington Mounted Rifles is buried in a war grave at DEIR EL BELAH, WAR CEMETERYin ISRAEL.
The Original Grave marker on Trooper Mackay's grave in Palestine.