An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

William Andrew MACKINLAY



No. 32463 Second Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, Middlesex
Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own).


Died 24 December 1941, aged 37 years.

Buried in Stanley Military Cemetery, Hong Kong,
Plot 6.A. Collective Grave 1-12.


The Japanese attacked Hong Kong in December 1941. Second Lieutenant Mackinlay was killed in its defence, along with thousands of others, including fellow Old Coathamian Geoffrey Newhouse (q.v.). They were both killed on Christmas Eve 1941. The colony surrendered the following day, Christmas Day, and those defenders who had not been killed, or who had not managed to escape, became prisoners-of-war.



William Andrew Mackinlay was the second of the three sons of Dr. William Harrison Mackinlay and Jessica Allen Mackinlay. The family lived in Portland Terrace, Coatham. Dr. Mackinlay, himself an old boy of the school, was a medical practitioner in Redcar, as well as being a school governor and the school’s medical officer. Each of his sons, James, William and George, went to Coatham Grammar School. Born on 12 July 1904, William entered the school in September 1913, in the preparatory class. He stayed for nearly ten years, until March 1923. In his final years he passed his Senior Cambridge examinations with distinctions, for which he received prizes. William became a school prefect, and captain of Pearson’s house. He played football and cricket for his house, and served on the school athletics committee. Alongside sport, he took part in school plays and debates, and in 1922-23 was editor of the school magazine. His poetry was published in the magazine on numerous occasions. On leaving school William trained as a solicitor, passing his final Law Society examinations in 1928. He travelled to Hong Kong in 1932 to become an Assistant Crown Solicitor there. Both William’s parents died in the 1930s. His wife Sheilah was with him in Hong Kong in 1941 and she was interned in Stanley Camp in Hong Kong after his death. She survived and remarried in 1945. William was first listed on the School’s Roll of Honour in July 1942.