William enlisted in the Army in Tongue in November 1914, alongside Peter Burr (6537) from Dunvarrich and Magnus Mackay (6531) from Scullomie. Their regimental military numbers are so close; they must have stood together in the queue to enlist.
He carried out his training at the 13 (Depot) Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, once his training was complete he was sent to France with ‘C’ Company, 11 Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In the 11 Argylls he served alongside his cousin Murdo Mackay (whose story appears elsewhere in this book), as a bomber in the bombing platoon.
On the 15 of September 1916, the 11 Argylls attacked the village of Martinpuich during the Battle of the Somme, the attack was a success but the battalion losses were severe. Private William Mackay was killed in action alongside his cousin Murdo during this attack.
The story of Murdo Mackay says that he was killed in action as he tried to rescue a wounded man, I wonder if the wounded man he was trying to save was his cousin William?