Eric Mackay was born in Tongue on the 28 June 1883 the eldest son of Andrew and Christina Mackay of Modsary, Skerray. He emigrated to Canada with his brother John, prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
In Canada he lived at 89 Peter Street Toronto with his brother John. He was employed as a warehouse man. He enlisted in the Canadian Army on the 17 January 1916 joining the 15 Battalion (48 Highlanders) Canadian Infantry.
Once he had completed his military training he was sent to France and he fought on the Western Front with the Canadian Forces.
Private Eric Mackay was killed in action on the 21 of April 1917 during the Battle of Arras, the first phase of the battle was over by this time and the Canadian Forces were preparing to push forward on the village of La Coulotte. The British and Canadian Armies suffered terrible losses at Arras, as they tried to push through the enemy Hindenburg line and win the war.
Eric was killed as he was retreating from a deserted gun pit in the assault on Willerval, east of Arras.
Eric's brother John William Mackay (born in Tongue on the 6 January 1888) was employed as a Freight Handler in Canada. He joined the Canadian Army on the same day as Eric, 17 January 1916 and served with him in the same battalion. John was shot and wounded on the 10 of June 1917 during a night time assault by his battalion, north-east of Neuville St Vaast.
The war diary 15 Battalion (48 Highlanders) Canadian Infantry can be found at
A total of six men named on Skerray War Memorial died during the fighting around Arras in 1917, including Eric’s brother Donald and his brother in law John George. (The stories of what happened to Donald Hugh Mackay and John George Mackay appear elsewhere in the Skerray section )
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE No entry found. This may be because Eric Mackay took out Canadian citizenship while living in Canada and would not be eligible for entry in the Scottish National War Memorial.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION Mackay Private Eric. 799360. 15 Battalion (1 Central Ontario Regiment) Canadian Infantry. Killed in action on 21 April 1917.
Private Eric Mackay 799360,15 Battalion Canadian Infantry has no known grave and is remembered on the VIMY RIDGE MEMORIAL FRANCE.
Vimy Ridge Memorial France