Unsung Hero's Brave Deeds Rescued at Last from Grave Obscurity; FAMILY CAMPAIGNS FOR A MEMORIAL TO ONE OFSCOTLAND'S FIRST VC WINNERS
Byline: FRANK HURLEY
THE remains of Sergeant David Mackay lie in a pauper's grave with no clues to the heroism of a remarkable soldier.
Now, more than 100 years after he died, his family are campaigning to build a memorial to one of the first brave men to be awarded a Victoria Cross.
The exploits of Sgt Mackay, soldiering for Queen and country, surpass those of television's fictional Napoleonic War hero, Major Sharpe, played by Sean Bean, except that the Scot's life did not have the TV version's colourful and happy ending.
After returning home from fighting at the Relief of Lucknow in 1858 he was so ill he could not work. He had been shot during the battle and a musket ball was still lodged in a lung.
Although awarded the VC he had no pension because he had been invalided out of the Army and he was reduced to selling his VC to buy bread. The fateful bullet finally led to his death at the age of 48 on December 18, 1880.
The soldier's children emigrated to South Africa and his story might have remained forgotten had it not been for local researchers who traced his descendants to Durban.
They now hope to have his grave in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, marked with a memorial. …