MacKAY, Thomas Gordon
(Service number 9/1327)
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Trooper|
|Date||24 October 1893||Place of Birth||Temuka, New Zealand|
|Date||11 June 1915||Age||21|
|Address at Enlistment||Waikaia|
|Previous Military Experience||7th Southland Mounted Rifles|
|Next of Kin||Murdock MacKay (father), Hydehome, Waikaia, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||6 foot 1 inches tall, weight 168 pounds (76kgs), chest 33-38 inches, pale complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, good teeth|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||6th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||H Squadron, Otago Mounted Rifles|
|Date||14 August 1915|
|Transport||HMNZT 28 Tofua|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Mounted Rifles|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal|
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
6-19 July 1915 - admitted to Trentham Hospital - influenza & measels
|Date||11 December 1915||Age||22 years|
|Place of Death||Gallipoli, Turkey|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Turkey|
|Memorial Reference||Special Memorial, C.10.|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Thomas was born at Temuka on 24 October 1893, the youngest son of Murdock Campbell (1856-1933) and Margaret (nee Anderson, 1858-1945) MacKay. Murdock was a farm manager at Riverslea near Temuka when Thomas was born, and had come out from Sutherlandshire, Scotland, about 1883. He later moved to Southland, where he farmed 324 acres at Hydehome on the Waikaia Plains.
Thomas was educated, along with his siblings, at the Waikaia School, passing at least the 4th standard. He was to be one of 48 classmates who had enlisted up to 1916. Prior to enlisting Thomas was working for his father, and had served as a territorial soldier for three years with the 7th Southland Mounted Rifles. After his medical, on 13 May 1915, he entered camp at Trentham on 11 June, where he was posted to H Squad, Otago Mounted Rifles. His enlistment papers described him as being single, aged 21 years, Presbyterian, 6 foot 1 inch tall, weighing 168 pounds (76 kgs), with a chest measuring 33-38 inches, having a pale complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and good teeth. He had also nominated his father Murdock as his next of kin.
Eight weeks of training followed, broken by admission to the Trentham Camp Hospital from 6–19 July with a bout of influenza and measles. He recovered and later embarked from Wellington on 14 August with the 6th Reinforcements NZEF aboard HMNZT 28 “Tofua” bound for Suez, Egypt. The “Tofua” travelled in convoy with HMNZT “Willochra” carrying a total of 2,363 persons. The troops were kept occupied with various sports and boxing tournaments during the voyage via Albany, Colombo and Aden, before arriving at Port Said on 19 September. A very short period of additional training followed, but because of the dire situation at Gallipoli, his unit was soon sent to Mudros and arrived there on 3 October, joining the NZ Infantry Brigade which was resting there after the hard time they had experienced at Gallipoli.
On 8-9 November the NZ Infantry Brigade returned to Gallipoli along with the 6th Reinforcement troops. By this time a stalemate had been reached, and the decision had been made to evacuate the island. The winter conditions were also adding to difficulties, making the fighting even more arduous. On 8 December General Munro ordered General Birdwood to proceed with the evacuation. A few days later all sick, wounded and surplus troops, vehicles and valuable stores began to be removed. It was during this period, on 11 December, that Thomas was killed in action. He is believed to be buried in the Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Turkey, where his name is inscribed on the Special Memorial C10. The pier was originally made for the purpose of evacuating wounded from the Battle of Sari Bair, but it came under heavy rifle and shell fire and was abandoned after just two days.
There were five original burials at Embarkation Pier, but the cemetery is mostly made up of burials brought in after the Armistice from the cemeteries known as Chailak Dere Nos 1 and 2, Mulberry Tree, and Apex, and from isolated graves. There are now 944 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in the cemetery. There are special memorials to 262 casualties known or believed to be buried among them but 662 of the burials are unidentified. Thomas also has his name included on the Waikaia War Memorial in his home town.
After war’s end, Thomas father was sent his medals, which included the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals, along with a plaque and scroll. Another brother 9/1200 John Robert MacKay also served with the Otago Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli, but was returned home with the sick and wounded in April 1916.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [March 2019]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=154028; "Roll of Honour" in the Otago Daily Times 7 January 1916 and the Southland Times 7 January 1916, and in the Otago Witness 12 January 1916, and "In Memorium" notice int he Otago Daily Times 13 December 1916, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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