b. 02/04/1889 New Abbey, Scotland. d. 19/12/1914 Rouges Blanc, France.
James Mackenzie (1889-1914) was born at West Glen, New Abbey, Kirkcudbrightshire on 2nd April 1884. His father was Alexander McCortie Mackenzie, a mason. His mother was Marion Carnduff nee Millar. Alexander and Marion had married on 8th June 1883 in West Glen. The family moved to Maxwelltown when James was young. He had a brother and six sisters.
James was educated at Maxwelltown School (also attended by James Edward Tait VC MC) and after school was employed at Locharbank Farm at Bank End, on his maternal grandparents farm at Barncleugh, Irongray and later as a joiner with Messrs Williamson in Maxwelltown.
When he enlisted on 16th February 1912, he gave his age as 23 although he was 27, to ensure he got in, and gave his occupation as a groom. He went to France with his unit, the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, arriving on 7th October 1914.
On 19th December 1914 at Rouges Blancs, France, Private MacKenzie rescued a severely wounded man from the front of the German trenches under a very heavy fire and after a stretcher party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. Private MacKenzie was killed later on that day while trying to carry out a similar act.
Sadly, Mackenzie’s body was not recovered following the action at Rouges Blancs, and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. James had never married and the VC was sent to his mother on 9th March 1915. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the 1914 Star with Mons clasp, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. His mother later presented his medals to the Scots Guards Regiment and they are held by the Regimental HQ, Scots Guards, Wellington Barracks, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: SCOTS GUARDS RHQ, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE – ON PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL. PANEL 1.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Mackenzie VC Medal Group at the Guards Museum, London.
Steve Hoar – Image of the New Abbey Memorial.