A WEBSITE DEDICATED TO THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE SEABOARD VILLAGES

Death of Norman Mackay 1943.

From the Newspaper of Friday, May 14, 1943.

Norman Mackay, a fourteen year old schoolboy, belonging to Balintore, was fatally injured when he fell over the cliffs at Nigg Hill.

Norman MacKay at 2 Shore Street, Balintore, 1930’s

Here is the first hand account of Norman’s accident remembered by John Vass [Decca].

“At this time there were three flame throwers at the Balintore Harbour, one at each end of the jetty and one at the entrance to the Harbour. There was an oil tank to supply the flame throwers buried in a sand dune at the shore end of the jetty and a Billet for a Naval Officer who was in charge of the flame throwers.

On this day, myself, Archie MacRae and Andrew Ross [Peco] [although he says he has no memory of this] set of with the Naval Officer to get seagulls eggs, as we knew that you could get past the Black Hole at low tide, to where it was easy to find the seagulls eggs, but you had to return before the tide came in.

On this same day Norman and Nickolas Vass[Kennedy] were asked to deliver a telegram to somebody at Castlecraig, and, after doing this, decided to look for seagulls eggs, but from the top of the cliffs. Norman decided to climb down to get to the nests, and, when Nickolas realised that he had fallen, he went and raised the alarm.

On the shore below, we were on our way home before the tide came in. We met two soldiers, and one of them told us that he had seen someone falling from the cliffs. We went with them and found Norman who was badly injured. The men tried their best to help him and I remember them tearing their clothes to make bandages. We were now stranded on the wrong side of the Black Hole as the tide had come in, and, a good time later Alex Sutherland the Vet appeared with a torch and in darkness he was able to guide us three boys safely over the Black Hole. The serviceman stayed with Norman. At daybreak a fishing boat was able to land to take them off, and Norman was taken to hospital in Invergordon but did not recover from his injuries.”

Other information from Newspapers of the day.

The accident happened on Monday the 10th of May, but because of the difficult area Norman had fallen in, he was not picked up until daybreak the following morning. John Paterson in a motor boat, with a punt attached, took him the two miles back to Balintore harbour where an ambulance was waiting to take him to Invergordon Hospital, he died soon after reaching Invergordon.

Norman Eric Mackay was born on the 6th of March 1929, he was brought up at 2 Shore Street, Balintore, Norman was fourteen years of age when he died. In his memory the family inaugurated the Mackay Cup, a football trophy to be played at under 15 level between Schools in the Easter Ross area.