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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.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE Mackay, Alexander, (b) Leith, 1825581. Flight Sergeant. R.A.F.V.R. Bomber Command. Killed in action Europe. 9-8-44.

COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION 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, FRANCE.

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