Donald Mackay, 24 Aignish

It is with feelings of deep sorrow and sincere sympathy for the bereaved parents and friends that we record the death from wounds, at the 20 General Hospital, Camiers, France, of Lieut Donald Mackay, 2nd Seaforth HIghlanders. On the 19th November his father received the sad news that he died on the 17th. He was wounded in the neck on the 2nd November, but from reports received from his fellow-officers and chaplain, there was some hope for his ultimate recovery, so that the end came with startling suddenness and shock to his poor parents and family. Aignish has given of its noblest and best, and it is very sad to see so many cut down practically at the end of the war. We mourn the loss of Mr Mackay  as a friend and patriot, and the teaching profession has lost one of its best and most promising members. He entered the Nicolson Institute HG school as a pursar, and passed from there to the Aberdeen Training Centre, completin ghis training by midsummer 1910. Shortly after leaving college, he was appointed headmaster of the Kilmaluag Public School, Skye, which he conducted with infinite success. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, he was at his father's home on holiday, and he with two other teachers, Mr John Macsween and Mr Roderick Graham, together with our lamented friend, Mr John Munro MA, MC, imbued with patriotic zeal and love of country joined the Seaforths, and the end of the year found them in the Flanders trenches. Lieut. Mackay saw a great deal of fighting in the early days of the war, and in 1916 was wounded. Last July while at home before going to France, he looked the picture of health and energy, and was quite optimistic as to the final issue of the war. Shortly before he was wounded, in a long letter to his old teacher, he graphically described the Hun on the run, and expressed himself as confident that Germany was thoroughly beaten and that the aims of the war were even them fully accomplished. He looked forward to the day when peace and happiness would reign upon the earth and people would settle down to their usual occupations. His promising career cut short leaves a blank which cannot be easily filled. His amiable disposition and his true and ready sympathy for others endeared him to all who came in contact with him.

His Chaplain writes:
I have just been talking with your son. Ere this the official message will have reached you that he has been wounded. The battalion took part in a most successful advance this morning. Hundreds of prisoners were captured and the ridge beyond the village. While your son was going gallantly forward with his platoon, he was unfortunately hit in the neck and was carried down the line with all possible speed. I saw him at the advanced dressing station and went down in the ambulance with him to the main dressing station. He was not in very great pain. I saw him go off to the casualty clearing station. The Chaplain there will write you regarding his condiiton. The doctors who dressed him said that while he had got a nasty wound, he would ultimately recover. We will be anxious to hear how he progresses. He has not been a long time with us, but he has made a grand impression on officers and men. His men have learned to love him, and we all send sympathy. We hope to hear of his recovery. As far as the doctors who know dressed him up the line their report is satisfactory. Your son said not to worry.

An officer writes
I simply can't tell you how sorry I was to hear that your son has died of wounds received in the last action of the war. Although he had only been quite a short time in the battalion, he had endeared himself to all ranks. I personally feel I have lost a valuable friend as well as an invaluable officer. It seems too tragic now that the war is virtually over to think that he who had taken part in the greater portion of it should not survive to see the result. I was down at Cambrai at the Casualty Clearing Station, but was told it was not to see him, as any effort was bad for him. Lieut. Anderson saw him, and although he told me that your son was badly wounded, I never for a moment imagined that he was dangerously so, otherwise I would have written you sooner. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that he died of wounds. It has cast a gloom over all the men in his platoon. I have seldom seen an officer more beloved by his men than your son. He was a gallant gentleman and a true Scot. Words fail me when I try to sympathise with you. May God help you to bear your sad loss.

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