14 April 1944
Mr Donald Mackinnon, 15 East Street, Sandwick, has received official intimation that his eldest son, Roddy, is missing, and is believed to have been killed in action. There is always the possibility in the case of servicemen listed as missing, that news of their whereabouts may arrive at any time, but the time, place and circumstance of Roddy's disappearance unfortunately narrow the margins of hope which may still exist for his safety. He was an anti-aircraft gunner on the cruiser Penelope and it is no longer a secret that she went down fighting off the Anzio Beachhead.
The escapades of this vessel in the Mediterranean comprise a fine record worthy of the best tradition of the Senior Service and our sorrow is mingled with pride to learn of Roddy manning her defences, a member of that brave and gallant crew who fought on to the very end. Earlier in the war, he was badly wounded in one of the many engagements in which his vessel was involved, but no indication of this misfortune ever came from Roddy. The wound from which he later fully recovered might never have been heard about had not the chaplain of the shore hospital informed his father.
Donald, his older brother, is also serving on a destroyer in the Mediterranean and strangely enough, on that morning was in action along with the Penelope. He could distinctly see the Penelope, and was in fairly close proximity when, at the height of the engagement, she was overtaken by the final catastrophe, and went down. Anxiety for his brother led Donald to approach one of his officers who, immediately action was broken off, was considerate enough for enquiries to be made by signal of the rescuing vessel, if Roddy was among the survivors. In a long letter to his father, Donald tells the whole sorrowful story in words which leave but little hope of his brother's survival.
Roddy was a tall, fair-haired young man of happy disposition, whose conduct at all times was exemplary. He will be missed not only by those to whom he was near and dear, but by a wider circle in his home district, who were attracted by the likeable traits unconsciously displayed by him in his ways and character. To his sorrowing father, brothers and sister, the heartfelt sympathy of the whole community is at this time sincerely extended.