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Remembered Today:

Captain D MacKenzie MA MC*


Steven Broomfield

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A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a couple of hours to kill in Preston, which happens to have two excellent antiquarian bookshops - proper bookshops, full of real books. I also happened to be alone, and with a conscience clear enough to spend money.

As a result I was able to acquire the History of the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which has been on my wants list for some time, a Penguin copy of Aubrey's Brief Lives (a curiosity I rather fancied) and a book I foolishly failed to buy 20 years ago and haven't seen since - The Sixth Gordons in France and Flanders: an absolutely splendid anecdotal history of a territorial battalion from one of the remotest bits of these islands.

It is the author of this volume who interests me - Captain D MacKenzie, MA, MC* - described on the flyleaf of the book as "Schoolmaster at Cullen". Who was he? I see Cullen is a small coastal town on the Moray coast, between Banff and Buckie, but a Google throws up nothing about Captain Mackenzie. I have a vision of him as a Chips-like character, but one who went off to war, returning to a life of educating, developing and moulding the children of a small highland town. Is this the case?

Does anyone have any information on the gentleman? I merely ask out of interest, so no need to bust any springs trying too hard.

Ta in advance.

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This could possibly be him;

Lt. D. Mackenzie, M.C., Gord. Highrs.,-

T.F., to be seed., and to be actg. Capt.

(without the pay or allowances of that

rank) whilst empld. as an Instr. at an-

Officers' School. 26th Feb. 1918

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Here's a possible;

University of Aberdeen

Roll of Service

MacKENZIE, DAVID, M.A.,

s. of George MacK. ; b. Newmill, Keith, 4 Oct. 1883. M.A. (Ill Eng.), 1905. Commd.,

6th Gordon Hrs. (T.F.), 27 Jan. 1915. Served France. Final rank, Acting Captain.

M.C. Bar to M.C. Croix de Guerre (avec palme).

Lt. David MacKenzie, M.C.. Gord. Highrs.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion

to duty. He took command of the battalion

and carried on with great success,

although himself wounded. He remained

for six hours until ordered to withdraw. He

rendered invaluable service to his battalion.

(M.C. gazetted 4th June, 1917.)

THE ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY REVIEW

VOLUME V 1917-18

The Croix de Guerre (French) has been conferred on Second Lieutenant

(temporary Lieutenant) David MacKenzie, M.C., 6th Gordon Highlanders

(M.A., 1905).

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You're right, Sam but I couldn't find that one.

Found this snippet, which appears to be from an obituary in 1936;

"Mr. Mackenzie, who was 53 years of age, was educated at Keith Grammar School, and entered the University as fourth bursar, graduating four years later with honours in English. After holding teaching appointments at Strichen, Huntly , Huntly, Fordyce Academy, and Bellshill Academy, he was appointed head master at Cullen in 1911. He remained there for sixteen years"

He is also mentioned on the below website, where he is described as the commanding A Company.

http://www.kinnethmont.co.uk/soldiers/geo-gordon.htm

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Brave man, only 2 months between the "Gazetting" of his MC and Bar, seems strange though there's no mention of the Bar or CdeG in the book.

To add, it looks like he was still at Bellshill Academy at the time of the 1911 Census as there's a 27 year old David MacKenzie listed for Bellshill 1911 although I haven't looked at the entry, it seems he must have taken up his post in Cullen after 2nd April.

Sam

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I hope you got a bargain Steven

Seems I did. The three books together cost a little under £150, the 52nd Division one being the most expensive. The Gordons was about £65. I forgot to mention that (joy of joys) quite a few of the pages on the 52nd Division were uncut, so I have the delight of knowing I am the first person to look at quite few pages in a book printed nearly 90 years ago!

And thanks everyone for your help: much appreciated. To go from Head Master at the local school to subaltern must have been quite a step.

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Steven

All of the above relate to the author of The Sixth Gordons in France and Flanders. I have a copy of the letter to the dead soldier's father referred to on my website when he was commanding " A " company 6th Gordons as 2nd Lt MacKenzie in June 1915. Geo Gordon was his observer.

These books were printed by the 6th Gordon War Memorial Committee and a copy presented to the family of each of the battalion's casualties with the man's name entered on a fly leaf. Sadly it is often cut out. Is there a name on your book?

one of the remotest bits of these islands

Aberdeenshire / Banffshire remote ? We are not even halfway up North Britain here

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Jim, my copy has the name Lieut W F Proctor inked in, with "page 160" underneath: he is mentioned on that page.

Many apologies, I shuld have put into context - it's extremely remote from Hampshire!

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Steven

No need for any apology, it was meant in humour.

There is no sign of Lt Proctor in the casualty Roll. Where it was presented to the NOK the page reads " Presented by the War Memorial Committee of the Sixth Gordon Highlanders In Memory of ............

Their name liveth for evermore

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Steven

No need for any apology, it was meant in humour.

And taken as such. Trouble is, anything more than 20 miles north of the Winchester Service Area on the M3 is a bit remote (that includes Basingstoke).

It's a lovely book, though; it's been one of my main regrets that I forewent the opportunity to buy a copy many years ago. Now rectified, along with the 1/4th Duke's, which I also missed some years ago and have releatively recently acquired.

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Jim, my copy has the name Lieut W F Proctor inked in, with "page 160" underneath: he is mentioned on that page.

The suspense is killing me! This is the only W F Proctor that I can find on the Debt of Honour

PROCTOR

Initials: W F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Captain

Regiment/Service: Scottish Horse

Age: 30

Date of Death: 27/09/1915

Additional information: Husband of Ivy C. Proctor, of I, Clarence Rd., Harpenden, Herts.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 3.

Cemetery: EAST MUDROS MILITARY CEMETERY

So, what does it say on page 106?

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On the Scottish National War Memorial William Fife Proctor is listed twice as Scottish Horse Yeomanry and Black Watch formerly Scottish Horse, so there seems to be no Gordon's reference, not sure if he's listed as Black Watch because the 1st and 2nd Bn's of the Scottish Horse were re-designated as 13th (Scottish Horse Yeomanry) Bn Black Watch, but that was 01/10/1916 a year after he died, maybe because that's where the Scottish Horse are listed in the books of remembrance in the memorial Chapel?

The thing is no BW Bn was in the Gallipoli theatre when Capt Proctor died, 6th Gordons didn't serve outside F&F and Scottish Horse/13th BW served Gallipoli/Egypy/Salonika till June 1918 before they got to France, so again no connection!

Sam

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Sam,

Thanks for that extra info re the Black Watch connection; I did not have that.

Captain William Fife Proctor died of wounds received on Gallipoli whilst serving with the Scottish Horse

regards

Michael

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There are 2 William Proctor's listed in the 1911 Scottish census aged 26 - 27, could be he was living in Scotland pre-War hence the commission in the Scottish Horse?

Sam

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I think there is little doubt these are different men.

Lt. Proctor is not listed as a casualty in the 6 GH Roll, nor is he listed among those who journeyed to France on 9th November 1914.

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I think there is little doubt these are different men.

Lt. Proctor is not listed as a casualty in the 6 GH Roll, nor is he listed among those who journeyed to France on 9th November 1914.

I'd disagree Jim, no other WF Proctor on the MIC's, could he have been at Uni with the author, or even been a fellow teacher?

Sam

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Page 160 make reference to a night operation involving an officer ( with asterisk in the text) and 10 OR. The officer was wounded and missing. He crawled back to the lines 40 hours later. At the foot of the page * Lt WF Proctor is noted.

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That's it - footnote to history! My copy (I assume) must have beloneged to Lt Proctor, so the one who died must be a different one.

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He crawled back to the lines 40 hours later. At the foot of the page * Lt WF Proctor is noted.

if there were two officers called W F Proctor, then this was certainly the lucky one

Thanks gentlemen

Michael

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Page 160 make reference to a night operation involving an officer ( with asterisk in the text) and 10 OR. The officer was wounded and missing. He crawled back to the lines 40 hours later. At the foot of the page * Lt WF Proctor is noted.

Does it give a date or theatre for this operation Jim?

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It relates to 2nd Marne in May / June 1918 in the Anzin, Maroeuil, Mont St Eloy, Neuville St Vast area. They moved in and out of the line while in Support / Reserve at Ecurie Wood Camp.

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