Robert Mackay was born in Melness on 1st April 1893, eldest son of Robert Mackay of East Strathen, Melness and Alexandrina Mackay nee Mackay. They were married on 29th September 1891 in Fraserburgh. In 1911 Census Robert is with his parents, 2 brothers and 2 sisters at home. He was a herring fisherman at the outbreak of the First World War and was called up into the Royal Navy with other men from Melness. On the 20th February 1917, Robert was on patrol on His Majesty’s Motor Launch Number 212 serving as a deckhand, when the boat was caught in a storm and he was washed overboard. Robert Mackay was lost at sea on that date, aged 24, his body was never found. He was the eldest son of a family of seven, his younger brother William also served in the Royal Naval Reserve on board H.M.S. Exyalore.