The fact that there are relatively few different first names and surnames in the Gaelic speaking areas of Scotland is well documented. It therefore came as no surprise to read of the confusion surrounding the news of the death of a Norman Mackay, as reported by the Stornoway Gazette of 2 May 1941.
The news has now been confirmed that Seaman Norman Mackay (Mac Dhanie), Cross-Skigersta Road, was lost when the ship on which he was serving was sunk. Norman's parents were aware that he was on the same ship as Malcolm Murray, 21 Swainbost, and Don. Murray, Swainbost, received word some weeks ago that his son was missing. At that time, when no news came to the parents of Norman Mackay, we all expected that he was safe, but we have now learned that a telegram was sent instead to the parents of another Seaman Norman Mackay, residing at Shader, Point, when the ship was sunk. But Norman Mackay, Shader, was among the survivors and arrived home on leave on the day his parents received the telegram [...].
We can only imagine what went on in the houses of both young men upon delivery of the fateful telegram - did the Point lad come home before his telegram was delivered, or after? Not to mention the only too familiar scenes of sorrow up in Ness.