McKENZIE, Alexander John
(Service number 7/81)
|First Rank||Lance Sergeant||Last Rank|
|Date||8 October 1889||Place of Birth||Mosgiel|
|Address at Enlistment||High Street, Waimate|
|Occupation||Garage manager (motor mechanic)|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Miss I. M. McKENZIE, 49 Clyde Street, Dunedin|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Tahiti or Athenic|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Campaigns||Egypttan; Balkan; Egyptian Eexpeditionary Force|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||11 May 1967||Age||77 years|
|Place of Death||Richmond|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Nelson Crematorium; ashes interred Marsden Valley Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Alexander John Mckenzie, known as John or Jack, was born on 8 October 1889 at Mosgiel, the son of John and Isabella (née Bruce) McKenzie. His father died on 8 August 1892 and his mother on 28 April 1909, leaving, it appears, three surviving sons and one daughter. Alexander was the youngest. Along with his siblings, John was educated at Mosgiel School, leaving for work at the age of fifteen. He was a garage manager (motor mechanic), residing at Waimate, when he enlisted on the outbreak of war. His nominated next-of-kin was Miss I. M. McKenzie, of Dunedin, most likely his sister Isabella Margaret McKenzie who never married.The family was well-known in Akaroa, whence Mrs McKenzie hailed, and where Alexander worked before going to Waimate.
Trooper A. J. McKenzie departed with the Mounted Men by the slow train from Timaru on 17 August 1914, amidst much excitement in the town, whilst their horses were trucked at the Smithfield siding, Waimataitai. The Mayor spoke of the pride in them and said that they were going forward with stout hearts and strong arms. "Be true lads to your King and Empire, to yourselves and your country, and put your trust in God," he said. B that night they were in camp at Addington, McKenzie ranked as Lance Corporal a few days later. Before long he was appointed Corporal. He embarked as Lance Sergeant with the Main Body on 16 October 1914.
As of February 1915, Sergeant McKenzie was one of the “Peninsula Men” (i.e. Akaroa) with the forces in Egypt. At a meeting at Waimate in July 1915 – possibly of the Waimate Automobile Association, it was reported that sixteen members were absent with the Expeditionary Forces, A. J. McKenzie being one of those at the front. By September he had been wounded and admitted to the Canadian Hospital at Taplow, Buckinghamshire. In 1916 he spent time at Codford Camp, England, training men there, before returning to the Front. It was while at Codford in November that he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major. Sergeant-Major McKenzie (7/81) was wounded several times and also had some remarkable experiences. It was reported that he on board the Transylvania when she was torpedoed on 4 May 1917 while carrying Allied troops to Egypt. He was in Palestine when his brother Donald died in 1918.
Quarter-Master Sergeant A. J. McKenzie, 7/81, returned to New Zealand per the “Ulimaroa”, arriving in early August 1919. He gave over five years of service. He married Doris Eileen Rickman on 28 January 1920 at St Mary’s Church, Timaru. Alexander and Doris divorced in 1927. Some ten years later Alexander married Patricia Alice Willis.
Donald Bruce McKenzie, the eldest brother of Alexander, also served in World War I, rising to the rank of major. After being invalided home with shell shock, he was appointed chief of the record department at the Trentham and Featherston camps. There he died on 19 November 1918 of pneumonia following influenza. Donald was married with one son. Malcolm William Bruce, of Akaroa, who was killed in action at Gallipoli, was a cousin of Alexander John and Donald Bruce McKenzie.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [27 October 2020]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0074460) [06 December 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [27 October 2020]; School Admission record (Dunedin Branch NZSG) [31 October 2020]; Nelson Cremation records (Nelson City Council) [27 October 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [27 October 2020]; St Mary’s Timaru marriage record [30 October 2002]; Timaru Herald, 18 August 1914, Press, 19 & 24 August 1914, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 18 September 1914, 24 July 1915, Akaroa Mail, 12 February 1915, 19 December 1916, 22 November 1918, NZ Times, 13 September 1915, Wanganui Chronicle, 21 November 1918, Press, 2 June 1927 (Papers Past) [06 May 2014; 28, 29 & 31 October 2020]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!