Malcolm Macaskill, 24 Northton

Stornoway Gazette, 12 April 1940
The island of Harris, in common with other places, has felt the bitter effects of Nazi aggression in the loss of some of her gallant sons. The fact that we hesitated to pay tribute to the memory of Malcolm Macaskill, 24 Northton, was due not to our unwillingness to do so, but to our reluctancy to accept as final the telegram announcing his loss. At the age of 21, the subject of our sketch cycled from his native village, Northton, to Stornoway, a distance of approximately 60 miles with the intention of joining the RNR. Great was his disappointment on arriving in Stornoway to be told that Harris lads were debarred from joining the Naval Reserve simply because they were not within a certain radius of a seaport. Some consternation was felt in Harris at this news, and through the medium of Mr T. B. Wilson Ramsay, then MP for the Western Isles, representations were made to the appropriate quarters with the result that the "bar" was raised. On the completion of another cycle tour, Malcolm was successful in joining. It can thus be seen that he was instrumental in opening the RNR to Harris lads. As a tangible token of his appreciation for what was done for him, Malcolm presented the gentleman who took up his case with Mr Ramsay with a handsome gift. During the September crisis of 1938, when the naval reservists were called up, he flew from Uist, where he was helping with the harvest, to Northton, and after being at home for only half an hour, proceeded by bus to Stornoway. Happily however, the development of a major conflagration was then averted, and he returned home. At the autumn manoeuvres he left his employment and volunteered to go. On the outbreak of hostilities he, being still away, was placed on the destroyer Exmouth. During his few days harvest leave he was very modest in his references to the exploits of this particular ship, but one could clearly see in him a longing desire to be an active participant in the high adventure and romance that are stalking hand in hand over the seven seas. Of a quiet and kindly disposition, he was well known in and beyond Harris. His trustwhorthiness as a friend and his benevolence in the unfortunate were equalled by his integrity. One can say without fear of contradiction that, although he was not destined to survive the fury of the present conflict, he left behind him a fragrant memory that will stand as a monument worthy of the highest traditions of the British Navy. The sympathy of the whole community is tendered to his sorrowing parents, sisters and brothers in their sad bereavement.

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