Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Schiellj

J H McKenzie South African Infantry

Recommended Posts

Schiellj

Hello,

I contacted the SA Defence office and they sent me this file on my great grandfather. I am wondering... is the “Force Number” going to be the equivalent of a badge number?  Is there anyway to find out what happened with his short stint in the mounted regiment?  Also it says he was wounded in action in England in 1918?  Any ideas on if that’s where he actually was wounded or if that’s where he was stationed or treated?  Also any ideas on what hospital he would have been treated specifically?  I have his Silver War medal and Allied Victory and they say 4th SAI. And another thing... I recently received some items from my great-uncles friend that has a drawing of him in it. If there’s anything anyone can pick up from the drawing that they could tell me that would be awesome. I was told he served with the Gordon Highlanders and I’ve heard mention of the Black Watch. His father was from Aberdeen. He’s been giving me a rough time for a few years now. Every time I think I have the key it leads me almost nowhere.  

Thanks in advance :)

J H MCKENZIE.pdf

260ABE79-3CDC-4659-AD5F-726EDCB7EE4B.jpeg

270576E3-21EF-417B-B177-F8B213B64E45.jpeg

Please see the PDF attached right above the drawing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell
Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

I would assume his force number to be his regimental/service number. That will also be the number impressed on his war medals? If not, what numbers are on his medals?

 

You could find out about his time with the 1st South African Infantry regiment through their war diaries or Buchan's history of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade-

 

https://archive.org/details/historyofsouthaf00buchrich

 

Those records indicate he was in France from 12/8/18 to 24/10/18 around which time he was wounded and sent back to England to recover, where he remained till discharged on 14/5/19. Buchan's book will give you details of where the regiment were around that time.

 

The drawing looks to be a colourised photograph. It throws up some problems. The cap badge does look to be that of the Gordon Highlanders and he is wearing a wound bar on his left sleeve and there appears to be a medal bar on the left side of his chest. I note in the story attached that it has him receiving the military medal and bar for work received for his work in both wars. His South African Service record does not record the military medal however so there is something awry here. 

 

Scott

Edited by Waddell
Added more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark1959

There is a John Hendry McKenzie who won an MM in WW1 but he is not South African. Royal Engineer. 76405.Papers exist. We seem to have 2 men being confused I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Thank you guys for your responses. Unfortunately there are no numbers on his Medals. They say J.H. McKenzie 4th SAI and that’s all. I was wondering if the photo isn’t of his son who was in the Gordon Highlanders in the 1950’s and my great grandmother just got it mixed up. Also, John Henry, is what he went by on most of the paperwork I have for him. The only documents I have that have it listed as Hendry are his marriage certificate and this record I just received. Family has told me he lied about his age but that was common and doesn’t seem like it should hinder me as much.  

9D073261-2110-41C8-B76C-9B3D593AA239.jpeg

1EF6F18C-E79D-4968-AD93-9C818A1C5CE7.jpeg

95154830-D0B9-4632-B02E-9C47BED469D8.jpeg

59BFDB8F-E7C6-4F42-B9EE-E7E912AAF622.jpeg

9B4DCB0C-4292-444B-8157-9C59EFEE672C.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Oh and that 3rd medal is The Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct for his service during the Coventry Blitz which is where they lived during WWII. 

5080A9C6-C446-4663-9F4B-D92E13D124B0.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

I’ve been told he was in Malta in 1922. I have often wondered if there wasn’t something big I was missing. A reason I can’t track him easily and why his birth wouldn’t have been documented.  I have letters from his family so his name does not seem to be the issue. I just can’t find any numbers that I can positively link up to him with a common name like his besides these ones I just received. 

03187CAE-821F-43AA-8EAF-224EF9DA0C61.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell

This is all a bit odd. It might be worth contacting the SA Defence Office and checking the records are correct. They may have access to medal rolls or further information. It seems odd that the 4th SAI is impressed upon the medal and yet they have no record of him serving. Unless the medals were marked incorrectly.

 

Also the image of the Gordon Highlander is from the First World War  era and not of the 1950's.

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RaySearching

 

95154830-D0B9-4632-B02E-9C47BED469D8.jpeg

 

 1EF6F18C-E79D-4968-AD93-9C818A1C5CE7.jpeg

 

The medals in the photos appear to be engraved rather than impressed  

which suggests that they may not be officially issued medals

 

I am sure our medal experts will be along shortly with their opinions  

 

 

Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

They were in my great uncles possession when he passed in 2009. His friend was nice enough to ship them to me after I hunted her down using his obituary lol (yeah I’m THAT girl!) so I don’t believe they could be anything but official. But I don’t pretend to know all of the ins and outs either.  I contacted SAdf again but last time it was 4 months before they got back to me so I suppose I just wait to see what they say. I still haven’t been able to track down any records of his post WWI service. I often wonder if there’s a reason... maybe he didn’t want to be found?  I don’t know. Also, I have been meaning to order that book so thanks for giving me the extra nudge.  Here’s some extra photos Incase anyone notices anything more. The 3rd medal is from the Coventry Blitz which I believe. Is why he had to file the proof of age document. Thanks for all of the input. 

243A58F9-79BD-46C0-AF82-F706990E3B0B.jpeg

2D28E77E-B23C-4F8A-8C9F-3961E13C60FE.jpeg

E3324468-2956-4625-9DF6-1F71717010B4.jpeg

6116AA61-E2F2-4813-A190-231CDB9E0273.jpeg

6A7A4BDE-5E32-410E-B4D6-7FC9776AD8C4.jpeg

3FC37309-DDDD-47C6-BB46-0FE0BA57C6B5.jpeg

0388FFDC-4A08-471F-8DC0-33E1CCDE9A61.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

I didn’t realize I sent some of these already. Sorry for the duplicates. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gordon92
On 15/07/2018 at 06:27, Waddell said:

Also the image of the Gordon Highlander is from the First World War  era and not of the 1950's.

Indeed.  The photo shows him wearing a wound stripe on his left sleeve.  This dates the photo as no earlier than Oct 1918 when his record says he was wounded.  I would say that the photo is no later than 1921 or 1922 after which time collar badges would be present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Here’s some records I recovered from the South African Defense Office. It looks like he was in the 1st SAI and then shot in the hand and ended up in the 4th and treated at Richmond.  Before all of that he was in 1SAH and the Protective Garrison Regiment. If anyone sees anything interesting I might not have deciphered yet (I’m new to all these abbreviations) or has any ideas of where else I could look for info I would love that. Was it common for the men filling out these forms to just pencil whip info into them and end up with a lot of errors? There’s 4 variations of his middle name, 2 of his last name and on one form it has his town born as Tomfontein (thinking they meant Braamfontein). However the info does seem to add up unless someone errenously transferred info between records. 

J H MCKENZIE 2.pdf

Also it says he was discharged for re-enlistment in ACI?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell

Well done pursuing that and it explains the medal engraving. Still some mysteries remaining there regarding the Military Medal and the photograph of the Gordon Highlander though.

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Someone else on this site figured he joined the Highlanders after being discharged from the South African forces and noted the cord in the sketch. He didn’t marry my great grandmother until 1925 in Chelsea England. I have been told he was in Malta in 1922. Such a hard case to crack!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waddell
23 minutes ago, Schiellj said:

Someone else on this site figured he joined the Highlanders after being discharged from the South African forces and noted the cord in the sketch. He didn’t marry my great grandmother until 1925 in Chelsea England. I have been told he was in Malta in 1922. Such a hard case to crack!  

 

Well the Gordons were certainly serving in Malta during that period-

 

http://maltaramc.com/regmltgar/1gordon.html

 

I suspect A.C.I 225 of 1919 is some type of army order or regulation. Again South African Defence would likely know.

 

Scott

Edited by Waddell
Added more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulianR

ACI will be Army Council Instruction No. 225 of 1919,  I cannot see that in the file, so is it he was discharged under A.C.I.? or discharged for reenlistment in the A.C.F. the Active Citizen Force, the South Africa equivalent of the T.F.  Also I think that you might have two different men's records here, you have a John Andrew whose occupation is given as locomotive driver, and JH a farmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

I thought the same thing. However I’m not so sure unless they also combined the records because on some of the forms they are combined. I also see a John Hendrick McKenzie and as I pointed out Tomfontein should probably be Braamfontein. I’m unsure of wether they just wrote down what they thought they heard without verifying or if there are in fact 2 different individuals. I was told  that he worked with horses long before I found these records. I also know that he was wounded. And I have his medals marked 4th SAI. I have a photo of him with his left hand bandaged up but this would have been about 7 years later (was also told he liked to box in his spare time). I’m really not positive about the middle name Andrew. The last name is also spelled MacKenzie vs McKenzie. Next of kin is right. Regimental number is right. Discharge date is right. Enlistment date is right.  Maybe the occupation is his service occupation at that point?  I’m not convinced they havent mashed together 2 soldiers but I’m not quite ready to write it off either. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulianR

I think that he served in 3 theatres, firstly GWSA as No.2436 and was discharged at Aus, he did about 8.5 months there, which is why he gets the 1914-1915 Star, he is recorded as being discharged to re-attest as No. 617 in 1st Regt 1st SA Mounted Brigade, and went to GEA came back as temporary unfit for service, discharged  and enlisted again in late 1917 as No. 17425 and went to France with 1st SA Infantry Brigade,  Regt in GWSA seems to have been PGR? 

 

He is wounded on 20th Oct, 1918 and admitted to 41 CCS to No 1 Australian Gen Hospital at Rouen? the next day and sent to UK a few days later

 

The occupation should be his civil occupation upon enlistment.  There is always the possibility that people wrote down the wrong thing, note the typed letter from theJPhas Transvaal spelt wrongly.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

I just assumed the typo in the civil service letter was because it was written in England WWII for his work during the Coventry Blitz. Where do you see Australia?  I thought he was discharged at Durban following GEA and GSWA?  An interesting note is that I did not have his 1914-1915 Star medal. I’ve been meaning to ask if someone else has it already. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulianR

For the Australian reference look at the Disability, Casualty form, about the 4th page of your pdf, and on 21st Oct., 1918 he is at No.1 Australian General Hospital at a town I cannot read.  He is discharged at Durban following GEA, effectively never left the Army at Aus, just his terms of service were changed.  The term Australian means that the Australians manned the hospital, not that it was in Australia.

 

The wrong spelling in the Coventry letter is almost certainly a typo by the clerk, who may well have asked JH how to spell Transvaal and JH told her that was how it was spelt. That same form is where you find 2436 and the Regt as P G A, the nearest regiment I can find is Prince Alfred's Guard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Oh lol. I see what you meant now. Thought I really missed something huge. Lol. A few days after the Australian hospital he is in the SA hospital in Richmond though right? The most I could find on PGA (they have PGR on the attestation document) was Protective Garrison Regiment. I did just receive confirmation that he did have the star. I swear researching him never gets any easier. I appreciate all the help I can get as I am just learning how to decipher these records. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulianR

The SA Official History, available through Naval and Military Press is not much help at all, it was a brief overview of all the campaigns the South Africans were involved in.  I did have a copy of Col. J.J. Collyers history of the campaign, which might help, but do not know where I put it, and Collyer also wrote a history of the GEA campaign, which you might want to read as general background.  

 

Having just had a look for Protective Garrison Regt and could only find it mentioned in the National Archives list of abbreviations for Medal Index Cards, also looking at that whole file, I am somewhat suspicious of its accuracy.  There was at least one place where the same unit appeared twice, once I think with its country mentioned, then about two lines below without the country.  Without knowing how they produced it, I am bit reluctant to comment further.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Yes I kind of let it go for that reason. I’m not even sure which would be the correct abbreviation if not both or neither at this point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulianR

In the picture of him in Gordon Highlanders uniform, he only has one medal ribbon, why, he should have 3, in the wedding photo, he has 6, presumably MM, 3 WW1 and 2 WW2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Schiellj

Could he have possibly not gotten them yet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×