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Remembered Today:

Did this man get a DCM?


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Strange case this, and I have been unable to confirm that the chap got an DCM. He certainly had an MC

John Allister Mackinnon MC

1891 Born India
1911 census at Sandhurst - Gentleman Cadet
1914 Aug. Enlists as Private in Canadian Exp Force
1916 Dec 1. Gazetted commission. 15th Can. Inf. Bn.The undermentioned Serjts. to be temp.Lts. :— No. 652 J. A. Mackinnon. (no mention of DCM)
1919 Mar 7. MC gazetted Lt. John Allister Mackinnon, 15th Inf. Bn. 1st C. Ontario R.
1921 Apr Murdered by IRA in Ireland while playing golf

MacKinnon was murdered while playing golf in Tralee by the IRA. Various newspaper articles were published which describe him as "MC, DCM, MM", later articles only as "MC, DCM"

His entry in the Auxiliaries Register says "MC, DCM" . In other words he appears to have been claiming both awards when he enlisted with them in 1920

DM Leeson in his book "The Black and Tans" cites Mackinnon as "MC, DCM, MM" (p106)

I can find no evidence that Mackinnon had either MM nor the DCM - in other words I cannot find anything in primary sources.

One might argue that there was post murder spin from Dublin Castle to build Mackinnon up as an even greater hero by adding a couple of medals to his MC, but MacKinnon himself seems to have claimed it on entry to the Auxiliaires. I have checked over a thousand men's records in the Auxiliaries, and their medal claims were invariable correct (less than 2 or 3 wrong)

Can anyone find me a reference to him winning DCM (or MM)

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He is not listed in 'Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920' by R. W. Walker (as MacKinnon or McKinnon).

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Thanks. I had checked that, but what I don't know is whether this can be taken as a full record of all DCM recipients. There must be some errors in it, I would think

Similarly I have done the various trawls of LG without success (but that I accept is an inexact science)

Mackinnon appears to have been accepted as having a DCM, but probably nobody has bothered to check as to whether he did or not. In other words he said so when he joined the Auxiliaries, and the press said so when he died. So it has been taken as factual.

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Further to Harry's post, LYONS, above your man, has his DCM after his name.

Ancestry do not appear to list his DCM, either, (but that is not proof !!)



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So the blunt question becomes "Was he DCM fraudulent/wrong/added"

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Guest D M Leeson

When I first read this, my first thought was: "Oh, Christ--not ANOTHER mistake!"

But I am looking at my photocopy of p. 78 from the Auxiliary Division Register (ADRIC Register No. 1, TNA: PRO HO 184/50). And it says:

No: 917

Reg'd No: (blank)

Name: Mackinnon

Date app: (blank)

Coy: H

Murdered 15/4/21


Rank: Major

Regiment: (blank)

Distinctions: M.C., D.C.M., M.M.

That was my authority for the statement on p. 106 of my book. The suggestion that Mackinnon had not, in fact, been awarded all these medals is interesting, though, and I look forward to someone getting to the bottom of this.

Strangely, on p. 221 of Richard Abbott, Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-1922 (Dublin: Mercier, 2000), Mackinnon is listed as "John Alister Mackinnon DCM MM".

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Welcome to the forum Hallowed Company :) . I thought that it might get you going

For what it is worth, I am going through the register and building a CV of each man, and checking what is on the register

You have probably noticed that I have pussy-footed round this one. My feeling is that he certainly had the MC and not the DCM nor MM. But I am trying to avoid being categorical, as it is easy to prove a soldier won a medal, but difficult to prove that he did not

Contemporary newspaper reports start of reporting his murder as "MC, DCM, MM" then drop to "MC, DCM" and the Times report of 23 Apr 1921 refers to him as "MC" only. No military reports show him with DCM.

The ADRIC register does look as if is the original entry. ie the medals have not been added at a later date. I have found most of the claimed medals (read that as virtually all) to be true. But there are exceptions - eg A T Blake who claimed DFC and bar, AFC, MM, none of which he appeared to have.

Mackinnon claimed to be a Major but

1919 Aug 1. 1st Central Ontario The undermentioned temp. Lts. retire in. the British Isles : — J. A. Mackinnon, M.C. (with no mention of Major)

As it stands the balance of probability is that he did not have DCM nor MM. The readers of this thread have basically confirmed my ingoing reason for posing the question. There is no contemporary evidence that he had the DCM.

One of the many problems with Irish history is that accepted truths get handed down as accepted truths. My first thought here was that Dublin Castle had spun his awards to show what a war hero the IRA had murdered. But I am convinced that it was Mackinnon who claimed both to be a Major and to have the awards when he joined. He was under some financial pressure to earn some money with a Bankruptcy receiving order hanging over him. (that order is in the name of Captain")

As they say the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but this is close.

[edit added ] p317 of the "alphabetic ADRIC register" shows him as MC & DCM, but not with MM [/edit added]

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Guest D M Leeson

You must be a scurrilous group indeed if you are in any way "hallowed" by my presence. ;)

These are very interesting findings, and I agree with your (tentative) conclusions. Like I said--I'm just glad that, in this case, the mistake was in the source document, rather than my book. For once.

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  • 7 years later...

Hello late to the party here but said officer was tried 23-4-17 for cashing bogus cheques.  He had also been removed from OTC pre war for periods of AWOL 

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Thanks for the input


Over the years I have built up a lot of detail on MacKinnon. Let's put it this way, I would not have put a lot of trust in anything he said



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