40900: John Mackay

John, born c1783, was a son of Malcolm and Isabella nee Macneil. He served with the 78th Highlanders and took part in the ill-fated expedition to Egypt in 1807 to fight the Turks.
At El Hamet many of the regiment were killed; others became prisoners of the Turks.
Macaoidh, like many of the soldiers, became blind through opthalmia, and how he managed to make it home to the Isle of Lewis is a mystery.
Once or twice a year he had to go to Stornoway, a distance of some thirty miles, to collect a few pennies of an army pension. Led by one of his daughters he used to walk over the mountains to Stornoway, an extremely hazardous journey for a blind man. Outside Stornoway he used to rendezvous with another blind soldier from Galson on the west side of Lewis. This ex-soldier was led to Stornoway by one of his sons. The two old soldiers sat on a small hillock by a river, reminisced, gossiped, ate their sandwiches and then proceeded to Stornoway to collect their meagre pension.

He was married twice – first to Ann nee Smith in Valtos; with issue. The second marriage in 1854 was to Margaret nee Maclennan, daughter of Donald (farmer) at Kneep. He only lived a year after this marriage.

The person who registered John’s death didn’t know his age: he made a guess and said "60"! Going by the census entry, John would actually have been about 72 at the time of his death.

Record Type:
Date Of Birth:
Date of Death:
6 Jul 1855
Brothers Keeper Reference:
CEU 1780
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