Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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   Able Seaman Donald James Mackay
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/03/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: S.S. Kenbane Head (Belfast), Merchant Navy (British Civilian)
Died: 05/11/1940 (Died at Sea)
Age: 24
Summary      
Donald James Mackay was the son of James A and Elizabeth Mackay. He was born about 1916. Able Seaman Donald MacKay served in the Merchant Navy. By November 1940 Able Seaman Mackay was serving on board SS Kenbane Head. It was part of convoy HX-84 which had sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia. On 5th November 1940, the German battle cruiser Admiral Scheer attacked the convoy in waters off the coast of Greenland. After the demise of the HMS Jervis Bay, the Admiral Scheer succeeded in sinking six other ships in the convoy including SS Kenbane Head.
Further Information
Donald James Mackay was the son of James A and Elizabeth Mackay. He was born about 1916.
Able Seaman Donald MacKay served in the Merchant Navy.
By November 1940 Able Seaman Mackay was serving on board SS Kenbane Head. It was part of convoy HX-84 which had sailed from Halifax Nova Scotia.
SS Kenbane Head
On 5th November 1940, the German battle cruiser Admiral Scheer attacked the convoy in waters off the coast of Greenland.
Convoy HX-84 included the HMS Jervis Bay, whose exploits that day are now legendary. It was the only defence for the convoy. HMS Jervis Bay was hopelessly outclassed, but the German ship had to deal with her before pursuing the convoy, which had already begun to scatter and make smoke.
After the demise of the HMS Jervis Bay, the Admiral Scheer succeeded in sinking six other ships in the convoy including SS Kenbane Head.
The damage inflicted by Admiral Scheer would have been far greater, had it not been for the sacrifice of courageous HMS Jervis Bay and her heroic crew.
Able Seaman Donald Mackay was killed in action on 5th November 1940on board S.S. Kenbane Head. There were twenty-four survivors from the Kenbane Head.
Able Seaman Donald Mackay has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.
Kenbane Head - Tower Hill
Able Seaman Donald James Mackay is commemorated locally on Fivemiletown War Memorial and on the World War Two Memorial Plaque in St Margaretís Parish Church, Clabby.
Able Seaman Mackay is listed on page 97 of the Fivemiletown War Dead Book by Mark Byers.
The CWGC record Able Seaman Donald James Mackay as the son of James A and Elizabeth Mackay of Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
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References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 Cookstown War Dead Signalman Richard Curry was on board Jervis Bay
2 Facebook - Kenbane Head Lists Northern Ireland men who died on Kenbane Head
3 Forum discussion - Merchant Navy Details of ship and sinking
4 Tower Hill - Lest We forget Photo of the Kenbane Head Memorial
5 Wartime NI - Kenbane Head Lists Northern Ireland men who died on Kenbane Head
6 Wartime NI - WW2 Brief details of Able Seaman Donald James Mackay
7 Wrecksite.eu - S.S. Kenbane Head Details of ship and sinking
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021