Lieutenant Robert Wallace MacKinlay

Biography of Lieutenant Robert Wallace MacKinlay

Robert Wallace MacKinlay was born on 17th March 1893 in Dumbreck in Glasgow, son of Mr James T.C. Mackinlay and Louisa B Wilson Mackinlay. His father was a retired metal Manufacturer, and the family lived at 60 Montgomery Drive in Glasgow.

Robert was educated at Kelvinside Academy, where he was a senior prefect. He was school Sports Champion in his final year, and he continued to appear at sports day in subsequent years. As well as conventional races, in 1911 and 1912 he won the 220 yards handicap race which had to be run in football costume. He was a stalwart of the Kelvinside Academicals rugby team, playing on the wing, and was frequently mentioned in match reports.

Robert enrolled at the University to study Engineering for a BSc in 1910 and studied Mathematics and Engineering, including Technical Drawing and Laboratory work . However, at the end of three years study, he left the University without graduating. His father, who was only 50, had died on 24th February 1913, so, as the oldest son, he may have felt the need to become a provider.

As early as January 1912 he was acting as a ‘supernumerary’ Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, and continued in that role while still a matriculated student, and right up to the outbreak of war. He was confirmed in a Lieutenant’s post in September 1914.

From October 1916 Robert was performing various roles as Temporary Captain, and in 1917, as Acting Captain,was second in command of a Signals Company. He ended the War as a Captain, in the third Siege Company of the Royal Engineers. It was as an acting Captain in the Signal Company that he received the Military Cross on 4th June 1917.

Robert was engaged to be married to Emily Thompson, a native of Sunderland, on 31st August 1918, but it appears they never married.

Robert died on 6th February 1919 and is buried in the Halle Communal Cemetery in Belgium. He is shown on his gravestone as aged 26 but in fact was still one month short of that. His mother died just over one month later, on the 12th March.

Robert Wallace MacKinlay is remembered on the Kelvinside Academy Memorial, and the City of Glasgow Roll of Honour.


Lieutenant Robert Wallace MacKinlay
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment: Scottish Signal Service Royal Engineers
Degree: BSc
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed at Hal, Belgium 6 February 1919
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A

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