There is some confusion about the spelling of Malcolm’s surname, both locally and in official records. The records of the War Graves Commission and the Heaton Moor War Memorial spell it MacInnes, yet his medal entitlement records at the National Archives and the Stockport War Memorial has it as McInnes. There is no doubt, however, that it is the same man.
He had been born in Callanish on the Isle of Lewis and his parents, Norman and Christina, still lived there. It is not known when he moved to the Stockport area but he was living in Heaton Chapel when he enlisted into the army in Manchester. He was originally assigned to the Royal Field Artillery (service number 161737), but this appears to have been for his initial training only. He was probably transferred to the Yorkshires when he had completed the training and his medal records at the National Archives confirm that his only overseas service was with the Regiment.
On 9 April 1918, the German Army opened the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known as the Battle of the Lys. As the month before, the strength of the attack was overwhelming and the British forces were driven back into retreat. It is not surprising, therefore, that battalions found it impossible to keep more than sketchy records of each day’s events.
By 12 April, Malcolm and his comrades found themselves at Strazeele, about 5 kilometres west of the French town of Bailleul. They were ordered to take up a defensive position and dig-in. Patrols were sent out, but there was no sign of the enemy. Sentries were posted along all the roads and nearby railway, with about 100 yards between each of the posts. The next day patrols were again sent out and, this time, they made contact with Australian troops on their right. At 3pm, the Battalion assembled a little to the north at Croix-Rouge and undertook a further withdrawal. There are no further details of the day so it cannot be established how Malcolm was killed.