Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mackay, Peter

Death of a Veteran
Per Press Association Invercargill, December 17.

There died in the Southland Hospital on Wednesday last Peter Mackay, a veteran soldier of the 93rd Highlanders, who had served in the Crimea, India, and New Zealand.

He was at the taking of the Redan, the relief of Lucklow (for which he had the bar), and was one of the "thin red line" at Alma. He held the Crimean, Turkish, and Indian medals and five clasps.

The deceased arrived in the colony in 1863, and after participating in the Maori war came south. His wife died a few years ago, and he was left without relatives. He eked out a livelihood by doing odd work until three weeks ago when his health necessitated his becoming an inmate of the Charitable Aid Board's Lorne Farm.

As a member of the Southland Veterans and Ex-Volunteers Association and Southland Pipe Band, he was known to many who sincerely regret that through the absence of any notification they were deprived of the opportunity of paying their last respects to one who had rendered such service to his country. The fact that the first intimation of Mr Mackay's death was conveyed in the weekly hospital returns published to-day is commented on. He was 70 years old, but did not look his age. It was only recently that he was in communication with the War Office regarding a pension, and it is believed, that he got it.
Timaru Herald, Volume LXIV, Issue 3447, 18 December 1900, Page 3

A well-known and highly-respected figure in Invercargill passed away in the hospital on the 12th inst, in the person of Corporal P. M'Kay, late of the 93rd Highlanders. Deceased, who was in his seventieth year, enlisted in the 79th Highlanders as a drummer boy and went with his regiment to Quebec about 1848.

He returned to Scotland, and was with his regiment in Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, and other stations, and when, in anticipation of the Crimean campaign, volunteers were called for to bring the 93rd up to full strength, he volunteered for service. He did not change his uniform till he went to Varoa, where he visited the members of his old regiment in the old dress.

He took part in the storming of the Redan, was afterwards with his regiment at the relief of Lucknow, and, coming to New Zealand, fought for Queen and country against the Maoris in the wars of the sixties.

He was a member of the Pipe Band, and had recently obtained possession of his uniform, so I that he may be said to have died in uniform. News of his death did not reach the local press until last Monday, when they had commented unfavourably upon the action of the hospital authorities. His many friends — and especially the members of the Ex-volunteers and Veterans' Association — would have very much liked to pay such a hero the last tribute and follow his remains to the grave.

The chairman of the Hospital Trust has intimated that in future all deaths in the hospital will be publicly notified. In the papers each day last week there have been letters relating to deceased's death, and a subscription has been started to erect a stone to mark the place where he was buried, and already exceeds £20. Yet from what I know of the late veteran, I can safely say he would have rather shaken the subscribers by the hand than have, as one of our papers terms it, all this post mortem sympathy.
Otago Witness, Issue 2442, 2 January 1901, Page 32

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