In memory of

Private David J. MacKay

Rifle Brigade

Posted to 1st/28th Bn, London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles)

†October 30th 1917, age 26

David John Mackay was the elder son of Mr Donald Mackay, gamekeeper on Lord Carmichael of Skirling’s estate, and late of Biggar, and he was born at Toftcombs, Biggar on August 14th, 1891.  He was chauffeur to a gentleman in Liverpool when war was declared, and he speedily returned home and joined the A.S.C.M.T. and proceeded to France in January, 1915.  He served with the Motor Transport for two years and eight months, and was twice home on leave.  Shortly after returning to France the third time at the end of August, 1917, he was transferred to the infantry, and after brief training behind the lines, he was attached to the 1/28th Battalion the London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles).  With this battalion at the end of October we went into his first action on the awful slopes of Passchendaele, and it proved to be his last.  With many a gallant comrade of the Artists’ – officers and men – he went forward to storm that stubborn ridge, and fell.  The battalion must have been sadly decimated.

In 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres was an offensive mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.