Francis Edward Maxwell MACKAY

MACKAY, Francis Edward Maxwell

Service Number: 89
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 10th Machine Gun Company
Born: Beechworth, Victoria, Australia, 1896
Home Town: Dookie, Greater Shepparton, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne C of E Grammar School; Dookie College, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Student
Died: Killed In Action, Belgium, 12 October 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Beechworth Presbyterian Church WWI Roll of Honour, Beechworth Shire WW1 Honour Roll, Beechworth War Memorial, Melbourne Grammar School WW1 Fallen Honour Roll, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

27 May 1916: Involvement Corporal, 89, 10th Machine Gun Company, Third Ypres
27 May 1916: Embarked Corporal, 89, 10th Machine Gun Company, HMAT Ascanius, Melbourne
12 Oct 1917: Involvement Second Lieutenant, 10th Machine Gun Company, Third Ypres

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

FRANCIS EDWARD MAXWELL MACKAY who was killed in action in France on 12th October 1917 was the son of Francis Hugh Mackay (No. 1159 on the School Roll). He was born in 1896 and was at the School from 1911 to 1914 and was in the crew in his last two years. On leaving School he went to Dookie Agricultural College.

He enlisted as a Private in April 1916 and went into 10th Machine Gun Company. He sailed on the 29th May following, having been promoted to Corporal a few days before he sailed. He arrived in England about the end of July and was in training at Salisbury Plain till early in November, when he crossed to France. Shortly after his arrival in France he was made a Sergeant. From that hour till his death he was almost continuously on duty either in France or
Flanders. He was wounded slightly in May but did not go off duty. His award of M.M. in June was gazetted on 21st August 1917 and he was promoted 2nd Lieutenant on 26th June.

Brigadier-General McNichol writes thus of him : " He was one of the
finest officers in my machine gun company, absolutely fearless, and showed marked ability. On the day of attack he was doing fine work. His company commander has at all times spoken highly of him, and with me mourns his untimely end." The captain of his company writes to Mr. Mackay : " Your son was leading his sub-section
of machine guns forward in the attack of 12th October when he was shot through the head by a sniper. He has always been a most cool and courageous officer, and his loss is keenly felt by us all. His Military Medal was won for gallantry during the action which resulted in the capture of Messines." A comrade writes : '.'On coming to France he quickly proved by his cool and collected disposition, combined with practical knowledge and bravery, that he was a born leader of men. But it was not until the Battle of Messines in June that he had the opportunity of distinguishing himself. On that occasion he lost his section officer a few minutes after operations had begun, and not only did he take charge of his section, but showed a grand example to his men, and he buoyed up their spirits in such a way that they did some glorious work with few casualties. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. Our commanding officer, fully realising the bravery and gallantry displayed by him in this great battle, promoted him to 2nd Lieutenant. I must here mention that not only did N.C.O.'s, but all ranks, feel proud that he had gained his commission. As an officer he soon won the confidence of all ranks, for in later engagements at Messines under heavy bombardments he again showed the greatest courage and bravery. Our next engagement was in Flanders, where I deeply regret to say he lost his life. He had gone into the line the previous night and had just started from the assembly trenches with his men when he was shot through the body by a sniper. His grand personality and brotherly disposition had won the greatest respect of all those who had the pleasure of coming in touch with him. Both as a N.C.O. and officer his sole object was at all times the welfare of the men and for this he
was loved by all."