The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)

'Sans Peur'       Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders red and white dicing       'Ne Obliviscaris'

MacKAY, David

93rd Regiment, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Victoria Cross Awarded 16 November 1857

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross
"for valour"

Name MACKAY, David
Rank Private
Service 93rd Regiment, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Theatre where VC won Secundra Bagh, Lucknow, Indian Mutiny, 16 November 1857
Recorded in London Gazzette 24 December 1858
Place & Date of Birth Alterwall, Howe, Lyth, Caithness, 23 November 1831
Place & Date of Death Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, 18 November 1880
Burial Ground Lesmahagow Cemetery, headstone erected 1998
Current Location of VC Not in the public domain

Scene of Action:

Secundra Bagh is a villa and country estate on the outskirts of Lucknow, India. It was built as a summer house for the nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah. The estate was named after the nawab's favourite wife, Begum Sikander Mahal.

During the siege of Lucknow in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Secundra Bagh was used as a refuge by hundreds of sepoys who were under siege by British and colonial troops. The villa was breached on 16 November 1857 and 2000 sepoys were killed by British troops.


He enlisted in the 93rd Highlanders (which became the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders) at Thurso on the 23rd December 1850. He would have signed on for 10 years, with the option of signing on for another 11 years and completing 21 years "colour service". If he survived the 21 years he would be entitled to a pension.

V.C. Award

He won the Victoria Cross at Secundra Bagh, Lucknow on 16th November 1857 during the Indian Mutiny. He was one of the first 93rd Highlanders and subsequently one of the first Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders to win the V.C. He won this for capturing a colour of the 2nd "Loodhiana" Indian Sikhs Regiment and was nominated by the 93rd Highlanders to receive the award.

He received the Victoria Cross from Queen Victoria at Hyde Park 1879. He received an annual pension of 10 for winning the V.C.

His V.C. was sold to a private collection for 75 in June 1901 at an auction in Debenhams, Tueson & Hicks, London.

London Gazette 24th December 1858 - extract:

David MacKay Pte 93rd Rgt. Date of act of bravery 16 Nov 1857 :--

"For great personal gallantry in capturing an enemy colour after a most obstinate resistance, at the Secundra Bagh, Lucknow, on the 16th of November 1857. He was severely wounded afterwards at the capture of the Shah Nujjif. (Elected for the VC by the private soldiers of the regiment)."


He was severely wounded at Shah Nujjiff, Lucknow on the 16th November 1857 and returned to England in 1858.


Pte MacKay would have been awarded these medals :-
  1. Victoria Cross
  2. Crimea Medal 1854-56 with bars "Alma, Balaclava & Sevastopol"
  3. Turkish Crimea Medal 1854-56
  4. Indian General Service Medal 1854-1895
  5. Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-1858 with bar "Relief of Lucknow"


He was promoted to Corporal 24th July 1857, to Sergeant on the 17th November 1859 and became a recruiting Sergeant around the Aberdeen area.

He was medically discharged from the Army on 24th January 1861 when his 10 year service was completed. He had enlisted as a Sergeant in the 1st Kincardineshire Volunteers by 1863.

Service Record:

Glasgow BarracksApril 1851 - 1853
Portsmouth & Cobbham Barracks1853 - June 1853
DevonportJune - December 1853
PlymouthDecember 1853 - March 1854
Malta, Turkey & CrimeaMarch - Sept 1854
CrimeaSeptember 1854 - March 1856
South EnglandJuly 1856 - June 1857
Transit to IndiaJune 1857 - September 1857
IndiaSeptember 1857 - March 1858
Transit to EnglandMarch 1858


David married Mary, nee Stevenson (Dressmaker) in Holburn Free Church, Hardgate, Old Macher, Aberdeen on 25th August 1859.

Mary's parents were George Stevenson (Labourer) & Mary, nee Duncan. Mary was born in Links of Arduthie, 31 December 1829. David was employed as a Manufacturer's Storekeeper (1861-66). Operative Tape Manufactory (1864). Paper cutter (1866). General Labourer (1868).

David had 4 sons & 1 daughter, viz :-

Alexander Hugh9th September 186172 Ship Row, Aberdeen.
Mary Jean17th January 1863Even St, Stonehaven.
William Sherris6th July 1864Dyers Hall, Hardgate, 8 miles W Aberdeen
John George Andrew12th August 1866Woodend of Stoneywood, Newhills, Dyce.
James12th September 1868Moffats Close, Dalkeith, SE Edinburgh


Moffats Close was a two roomed tenement flat. He settled down in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire with his wife and family in the late 1870's.


Mary died on the 3rd July 1879 at Auchenheath, Lesmahagow, aged 49 years, suffering from a tumour of the colon.

David died on 18th November 1880, at Longlee Terrace, Auchineheath, Lesmahagow, aged 48 years. Suffering from valvular disease of the heart.

Both death certificates were signed by I. Lindsay MD, surgeon. Both were buried in a pauper's grave.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders placed a plaque on or near his grave in 1998.

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