About noon on 21st November 1917, on the second day of the Battle of Cambrai, a company of the 4th Seaforth Highlanders was inserted between the 4th Gordons and the 7th Argylls who had diverged from each other. They faced the Cantaing Line, which held up the advance. Mackintosh was beside and slightly ahead of a Lewis Gun team, sheltered in Rue de Graincourt. Mackintosh advised the Lewis gunners ‘to keep their heads down’, then raised his own to observe and was struck through the mouth by a bullet.
The late Richard Holmes, military historian, thought In Memoriam, To Private D Sutherland, killed in action in the German trench 16th May 1916, and the others who died ‘one of the most moving First World War poems’ (Tommy, p578). It was read at the Western Front Association’s commemoration at the Cenotaph in 2016. His poetry strides the whole range of human emotions in peace and in war. Like most soldiers in France he knew that death was always imminent.
At his grave on 11.11.2017 these words of his were read:
‘This is our Earth baptized
With the red wine of War.
Horror and courage hand in hand
Shall brood upon the stricken land
In silence ever more.’