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Ewart Alan Mackintosh

Mackintosh, widely regarded (along with C. H. Sorley) as being one of Scotland's finest war poets, was born in Brighton of Highland parents and educated at St Paul's School and Christ Church College, Oxford, where he studied classics. His earliest poetry is influenced by W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) and the Celtic Twilight school whose Scottish followers included William Sharp and William Black; it was World War I which brought him to maturity as a poet, moving from exultation and excitement to horror and anguish. Mackintosh knew Gaelic as a child and had perfected it as a student, and folk-song influenced his songs, some of which became widely popular with the Scottish troops. He was sent to the Western Front with the 5th Seaforth Highlanders in July 1915, and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry at the Somme. He was invalided home after being gassed at High Wood, and was offered a post instructing cadets in Cambridge, but he chose to return to France and was killed at the Battle of Cambrai.

E. A. Mackintosh (1893-1917) served as an officer in the Seaforth Highlanders from December 1914. He played the pipes, spoke Gaelic, and was loved by his men who affectionately called him "Tosh." For his part, Mackintosh returned that love. On May 16th, 1916, he carried wounded Private David Sutherland through 100 yards of German trenches with the Germans in hot pursuit. However, before Mackintosh could bring him to friendly trenches, Private Sutherland died and his body had to be left behind. Mackintosh's bravery would win him the Military Cross, and in memory of Private David Sutherland, and in recognition of his unique role as 23-year old "father" to his men, he wrote "In Memoriam." In August 1916, after being wounded and gassed at High Wood on the Somme, Mackintosh wrote "To the 51st Division: High Wood, July -- August 1916." During his recovery and rotation to England, Mackintosh became engaged. In October 1917, Mackintosh returned to France, and on the second day of the Battle of Cambrai, November 21, 1917, was killed. He was 24. In "Cha Till Maccrimmein" -- a poem once considered by Scottish enthusiasts to be an authentic Highland lament -- Mackintosh foretells his own death.