John George Mackay was born on 24th July 1883 in Skerray, son of Alexander and Janet Mackay from Clashnastruag, Skerray. He was married to Jessie Mackay. John George was employed as a labourer, working the land for many of the crofters in and around Skerray.
He enlisted into the Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George near Inverness, once he had completed his military training he was sent to the 5 Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders in France.
The 5 Seaforths were serving with the 152 Brigade, 51 (Highland) Division, commanded by Major General G M Harper, known to his soldiers as Uncle Harper. The 51 (Highland) Division was an assault Division, well known to the enemy as tough fighters who always attacked hard and fast, usually winning the day.
Private John George Mackay was killed in action at the age of thirty-three, on the same day and in the same action as William MacIntosh from Tongue (See Tongue section of this website). John George Mackay was one of six men from Skerray to die during the Battle of Arras in 1917; the two brothers from Modsary Eric and Donald Hugh Mackay (who also appear in this book) were both John George’s brothers in law.
He was survived by his wife Jessie a daughter Jenny born in 1915 and a son John George who was born on the 15 April 1917 which was 6 days after his father had been killed; Jenny who lived at Newlands in Bettyhill died at the age of eighty-four in December 1998. John George married Annie (Nan) MacDougall they went on to have a son John George and a daughter, Sandra.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLEMackay John George. (b)Skerray Sutherlandshire. 241782. Private. Killed in Action 9-4-17. 5 Battalion SeaforthHighlanders.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSIONPrivate J.G. Mackay 241782. 5 Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. Killed in action 9 April 1917. Age 33. The son of Alexander and Janet Mackay of Clashnastruag, Skerray, husband of Jessie Mackay of Thurso Caithness. Plot 2. Row A. Grave 25.
Private John George Mackay 241784 5 Battalion Seaforth Highlanders is buried in a war grave at HIGHLAND CEMETERY, ROCLINCOURT, FRANCE. (See also Angus Gunn Mackay, Clashaidy and Donald Hugh Mackay, Modsary.)
Family Death Card
John George Mackay Grave Marker in France