Hero of Great War added to official list of victims – 95 years later


A SCOTTISH hero of the First World War  has had his name added to the national memorial – 95 years after suffering his fatal wound.

Captain Roy MacKinnon died in 1921, age of 29, as a result of a gunshot wound he suffered in France in 1918.

Even though he was a direct casualty of the Great War, his name was not added to the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.

That was because he was buried in the family plot in Aberdeen and not a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) plot.

Captain McKinnon, back left, photographed in Bedford in 1915. Three years later he suffered the gunshot wound that would eventually kill him.
Captain MacKinnon, back left, photographed in Bedford in 1915. Three years later he suffered the gunshot wound that would eventually kill him.


But after an eagle-eyed researcher spotted his name among the headstones in the Aberdeen cemetery, his name has finally been added to the official casualty list of the 4th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.

The CWGC commemorate more than 1.5 million men and women who died during the two world wars.

They have burial plots and memorials all over the world to service personnel who died in 153 different countries.

Patrick Anderson, a 67-year-old retired police sergeant, discovered Cpt MacKinnon’ grave at the Allenvale Cemetery in Aberdeen.

Looking into the soldier’s background he found he was twice mentioned in dispatches for bravery before being invalided out in 1917.

It is understood Cpt MacKinnon died from a gunshot wound to the leg that eventually led to his death three years later.

During his investigation, Mr Anderson spoke to a number of people regarding lost military personnel via online forums to gather information.

One forum user, called Douglas, revealed: “The statutory death certificate indicates that one of the causes of Roy Mackinnon’s death was a gunshot wound to the femur in 1918 in France.”

Mr Anderson was delighted Capt MacKinnon was getting his due recognition.


He said: “I grew up hearing stories about these men. They gave their lives and they all deserve to be remembered – not just the ones who won medals and honours.”

Jesper Ericsson, curator of the Gordon Highlanders Museum, confirmed Capt MacKinnon’s role within the 4th battalion.

Born in 1892 – the son of William MacKinnon – the officer was commissioned in 1914.

His diaries, titled Two Years with the 4th Gordons in France, were presented to Aberdeen University by his father in 1939.

The 70 page memoir was written in 1920 – the year before he died.

It starts in Bedford during training exercises before leaving for France on the 19th February 1915.

The author had two spells in France – the first ending in July 1916 – when he returned home after breaking his leg. The second spell began in May 1917.

Readers are also invited to share the soldier’s views on trench warfare and the Cambrai and Steenebeek battles.

Capt MacKinnon is not the first WWI soldier to win long-overdue recognition thanks to Mr Anderson’s efforts.

In 1994 the former policeman erected a gravestone for his uncle Patrick who was a lieutenant in the Black Watch.

He was also absent from the memorial at Edinburgh Castle after dying from his wounds in 1921.

Mr Anderson’s grandmother, a widow, could not afford a tombstone and his grave at Arbroath went unmarked for more than 70 years.