James Mackenzie VC

James Mackenzie VC

New memorial plaque to James Mackenzie V C

Private James MacKenzie, VC, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, was born at New Abbey, Dumfries on 2 April 1889. He was the son of Alexander MacKenzie, a Mason, and Marion MacKenzie, of 22 Terregles Street, Maxwelltown, Dumfries.

His siblings were Marion, Isabella and Agnes.

He enlisted in the Scots Guards on 16 February 1912, embarking for France on 5 October 1914.

The 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, was part of the action on the Sailly-Fromelles Road on 18 December 1914 when 180 men were lost to withering German machine gun fire while attacking the enemy front line trenches. This was part of a fierce hand-to-hand two-day action in which he won the Victoria Cross for rescuing a severely wounded comrade under heavy fire.

All previous attempts had failed.

He was killed by a sniper the next day while attempting a similar rescue., and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

The citation read:

For conspicuous bravery at Rouges Bancs on the 19th December, in rescuing a severely wounded man from in front of the German trenches, under a very heavy fire and after a stretcher-bearer party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. Private Mackenzie was subsequently killed on that day whilst in the performance of a similar act of gallant conduct.

He is also commemorated on a memorial plaque at Troqueer Parish Church, Dumfries, on Maxwelltown War Memorial and in Laurieknowe Roll of Honour..

His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Scots Guards RHQ), London.