LIEUTENANT HARRY WILLIAM MACKINTOSH MACKAY
ROYAL FLYING CORPS
6TH MARCH 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: AIRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, FRANCE
Seventeen-year-old Harry William Mackintosh Mackay enlisted on the 5 August 1914, the day after Britain declared war on Germany. He was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders on 22 November 1915. By now he was 18. He served with them until the autumn of 1917 when he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, qualifying as an observer.
On 6 January 1918, Mackay and his pilot, David Arthur Stewart, brought down an enemy Albatros whilst returning from a photo reconnaissance mission. Two months later, they were returning from bombing an enemy dump near Carvin when they were intercepted by three formations of enemy aircraft. In the next ten minutes, Stewart and Mackay brought down four enemy planes - two at 11.15 and two at 11.20 - but they were surrounded and their plane badly damaged. Stewart just managed to land behind the British lines. The time was 11.25 and Mackay, shot in the chest, was dying. He didn't survive long enough to get to hospital.
His father, William Mackay, Editor of the North British Agriculturalist, signed for his son's inscription - Tell them at home it is all right. I am presuming that the words originally came from Harry Mackay, but quite what he meant, and quite what his father meant by quoting them, I can't tell. Perhaps his father was trying to signify that his son had philosophically accepted his fate.