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MACKAY, Eric Reay (1884-1958)

MACKAY, Dr Eric Reay (1884-1958)

Eric Reay Mackay, soldier and doctor, served in both the South African War and World War I.

He was born at Wodonga on 15 October 1884, one of two sons of Donald Mackay and his wife Eleanor nee Vincent, to be educated at Geelong College.

He was enrolled at Geelong College in 1899. At the time of his enrolment, his address was listed as the Bank of Victoria, Ararat.

He later attended Queen’s College, The University of Melbourne, where he graduated MB BS in March 1915. He served as a Lance Sergeant with the 3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen in the Anglo-South African War towards the end of that conflict, and returned to Australia.

During World War I, he enlisted at Warrnambool in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) on 14 July 1915 as a Captain, and embarked for Egypt on 17 July on HMAT A67 Orsova. He went to France where he served at the 1st Australian General Hospital, and moved to 1st Field Ambulance on 6 March 1917. He was wounded on 6 May 1917, suffering shell shock and concussion from a shellburst in 1917 and returned to Australia on 16 July. He was demobilised from the AIF on 25 February 1918.

Robert Likeman noted that 'He was appointed to the staff of the Repatriation Commission in Melbourne and was Senior Medical Officer at the Repatriation Department in WA from 1929-1934. He returned to the Repatriation Commission in Melbourne from 1934 until his retirement.'

He died on 26 January 1958.

His brother, Frank Islay Mackay (1886-1978), was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Pegasus June 1958 p53; Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. pp 251-252 (citing The University of Melbourne: Record of Active Service of Teachers, Graduates, Undergraduates, Officers and Servants (1926); Pegasus; National Archives); University of Melbourne Examination listings: The Argus (Melb) 14 April 1915 p 6; Australian Doctors on the Western Front by Robert Likeman.

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