1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Duncan William Mackenzie

Contributed by: Patricia Barnes, on 2008-11-08

Duncan William Mackenzie
First Name Duncan William
Surname Mackenzie
Year of Birth 1893
Year of Death 1964
Regiment Seaforth Highlanders
Place of Wartime Residence Glasgow

Duncan William's Story

My Grandfather Duncan William Mackenzie joined up in Glasgow in July 1916. Although he was born in Glasgow, his parents came from Ross and Cromarty, the County of the Mackenzies and the Seaforths. He had tried twice before to join up but as he was short-sighted in one eye and one eye was normal he was refused. On the second occasion, he tried to enlist as a drummer but he was asked to take a test to see if he could play the drums, which he obviously couldn't. On the third occasion, the Medics were rather busy, so he covered the same eye twice and that was how he finally managed to enlist in the 8th (SER) Battalion The Seaforth Highlanders.

A brave, patriotic and loving Father and Grandfather

As he didn't speak very much about the War, I do not know where he fought until 1918. He rose through the ranks and was commissioned in 1917 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 27 December 1918. In February 1918 he was at Arras Cambrai Road Sector. In amongst the fighting competitions took place, I suppose to keep up the morale. 2 Lt D W Mackenzie's No 3 Platoon won the Brigade Rifle Competion and were presented with a cup.

He is mentioned a number of times in the 8th Battalion War Diaries and on 1 May 1918 he was presented with the Military Cross at Raimbert. The entry in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 13 May 1918 stated 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in a raid on the enemy's trenches. When his party was forced back by machine gun fire, he twice reorganised them and led them forward. With one man he attacked an enemy machine gun, and finally covered the withdrawal of his party and the removal of the wounded. He showed splendid courage and initiative.

The War changed his life and Duncan William Mackenzie, who had been born to parents who came from a small village in Ross and Cromarty went on to become a Headmaster in London. He was always admired and respected by his pupils and by all members of his family and is always in our thoughts , especially at this time of year.

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