MCKAY, Harry

Private Harry McKay
606 Gordon Highlanders

Harry was born in 1892 in Buxton, Derbyshire son of William McKay, a house decorator of Buxton and his wife Sarah Gleadell Hurst of Newark. He had siblings Dorothy, Hilda and Leonard. In 1911 the family was living at 44 William Road, Stapleford, Nottingham.

Harry enlisted on 4th January 1911 at Nottingham. He gave his aged as 18 years and nine months and his occupation as coal miner.  He was 5’6″ tall, had brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. Religion noted as Presbyterian. Distinguishing marks were a tattoo of an anchor on his arm and also a birthmark on his hip. He signed up for 7 years plus 5 in the reserves. He joined the regiment at Aberdeen, Scotland.

Harry served at home in the UK until his first overseas posting on 14th March 1913 to Egypt. Whilst serving at Cairo he was charged for returning to barracks drunk. After an 18 months tour of duty, Harry returned to the UK late September 1914, just in time to be posted to France on 4th October 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.  On 25th Sep 1915 he was wounded by gas poison but resumed duty in France until February 1916 when he sustained an injury to his fingers, which worsened causing cellulitus in his hand and Harry was sent back to the London Military Hospital at Epsom, aboard Hospital Ship ‘Brighton’.

McKay HMHS Brighton300

Photo: HMHS Brighton

Once recovered, he remained on duty in the UK until his transfer to the reserves on 31st March 1917.  Whilst in the reserve he returned to civilian employment, being discharged from the Highlanders on 14th Dec 1918 to his home address, 44, William Road, Stapleford.

Harry, as an ‘Old Contemptible’, was awarded the 1914 Star (+ Clasp & Roses), as well as the British War and Victory Medals.  He was also awarded Silver War Badge No. B342888.

It is not clear what Harry’s specific connection is with the Jacksdale area but as a coal miner it is possible that he perhaps took up employment as the Pye Hill Colliery for a time.

He married a girl named Florence but it could either have been Florence Mary Wilkins at Shardlow in 1919 or Florence Adams in 1924 at Basford who in 1926 had a daughter named Joan.

Harry died in 1961 aged 69, home address given as 68, Hallam Fields Road, Ilkeston and beneficiary as, his widow, Florence McKay.

Further information would be welcome.