Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Sgt. William McKenzie, East Surrey Regt.


14 replies to this topic

#1 kenmorrison

kenmorrison

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 427 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:42 AM

This man does not seem to be on CWGC Debt of Honour Register and I need help to identify him, please.
A War Memorial in Maxwelltown, Dumfries has: McKENZIE, WM. SGT. E, SUR. REGT.
A local newspaper of February 1918 reports that Sergeant William McKenzie of the East Surrey Regiment was killed in action in France on 25 November 1917. (there are a number of East Surrey deaths around this date - at Cambrai?)
His father was Joseph McKenzie of Dumfries and his wife was of Maxwelltown
There is a Medal Index Card for a William J A MacKenzie, Pte. & Cpl. (1616) East Surrey Regt. but I'm not sure that this is the same man.
Anyone got access to East Surrey Regt. records?

#2 lenandoliver

lenandoliver

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Surrey
  • Interests:Huntingdonshire Cyclists
    1/20th London Regiment (Blackheath & Wookwich)
    1st Royal Berkshire Regiment
    7th Bedfordshire Regiment
    2nd Battalion York & Lancs Regiment

Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:05 PM

I too have checked on the CWGC and the SDGW, neither have a death recorded. I have checked on The National Archives and Ancestry for a Medal Index Card to no avail. William is certainly proving to be a mystery. I hope someone can come up with some sort of info or explanation for you.

Fran

#3 kenmorrison

kenmorrison

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 427 posts

Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

I'm still stuck with this man - another article from a local newspaper 30 January 1918 reads:

"Mrs. McKenzie, Elizafield, Maxwelltown has received a letter from the officer commanding a company of the East Surrey Regiment that her husband, Sergeant William McKenzie, was killed in action in France on 25th November last.
Sergeant McKenzie, who was the oldest son of Mr McKenzie, painter, 7 Academy Street, Dumfries, was a Reservist and re-joined his regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders, on the outbreak of war. He went to the front immediately, and was through the retreat from Mons.
In the course of much heavy fighting he was twice wounded and once gassed, and on re-joining after one of his periods in hospital he was attached to the East Surreys.
He was 32 years of age and was one of six brothers serving with the colours. One, Arthur, was killed at Gallipoli while serving with the 5th KOSB. The other four have all been wounded"
( Arthur McKenzie, Pte.1910 - 1/5th KOSB was killed during the attack of 12 July 1915)

Any ideas on where I can go with my research of this man would be very welcome.

Ken

#4 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,921 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

I can't find him either. He's definitely not 1616 East Surreys as that soldier was discharged with a SWB.
As he was in the Seaforth Highlanders and was involved (according to the article) in the Retreat in 1914 his 14 Star would almost certainly be named to that Regiment.
There are a couple of candidates in the mics though 7371 who went out in December 1914 was KIA in 1916.

I think the key word is 'attached'. The war diaries for the East Surreys are online and it was probably during the 40th Division attack on Bourlon Wood that he was killed. This means he was attached to the 13th Bn East Surreys and there is a link to the action report here
http://qrrarchive.we...01319171104.pdf

You will see there were 71 Soldiers 'Missing' after the action if he'd only just joined them there may have been some confusion
The home page for all the East Surrey Diaries is here http://www.queensroy...ries_home.shtml

No help in your quest but a recent forum thread on Bourlon Wood is here http://1914-1918.inv...1

He may be an IFCP candidate but it's worrying we can't fin an mic.

Ken

#5 Scobie

Scobie

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 98 posts

Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

Hi Ken.

I have just checked the Roll of Honour in my copy of History of the East Surrey Regiment. The only McKenzie named there is McKenzie, T.A (Pte.). No William. No date of death given. I would agree with kenf48 that "attached" may well be the operative word. If he was wounded twice and was also gassed during the three year period of his war service, could he have also spent time with another regiment?

Scobie

#6 PPCLI

PPCLI

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,670 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:From the Scottish Riviera, now Notts/Derby border
  • Interests:1. The King's Own Scottish Borderers, particularly the 1/5th (Dumfries and Galloway) Battalion, and 2. Researching men and women from Kirkcudbrightshire who served during WW1

Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

I think he is possibly the following man, serving under an alias:

Name: Charles Thomas Harris
Birth Place: Dumfries
Enlistment Location: Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey
Death Date: 26 Nov 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: East Surrey Regiment
Battalion: 13th Battalion
Number: 19176
Type of Casualty: Killed in action

I have drawn up a possible service scenario and have sent Ken an email to let him decide whether it is worth following up or not. He can add the details to this thread if he thinks it is a possibility.

Cheers,

Stuart

#7 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,921 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:02 PM

I think he is possibly the following man, serving under an alias:

Name: Charles Thomas Harris
Birth Place: Dumfries
Enlistment Location: Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey
Death Date: 26 Nov 1917



Why would a married man, a reservist from Dumfries and, according to the article, a Sergeant enlist under an assumed name at the main recruiting Depot of the East Surreys around March 1916 when he originally went to France with the 2nd Seaforths?

Then rise to the rank of Corporal while depriving his wife who thought she was married to a sergeant, and whose address is known to the officer in the East Surreys, of her 15/- separation allowance?


And [always allowing for the confusion of war] why said officer should say he was killed on the 25th while Cpl Harris was killed on the 26th?

You could be right but just curious as to your reasoning.

Ken



#8 PPCLI

PPCLI

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,670 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:From the Scottish Riviera, now Notts/Derby border
  • Interests:1. The King's Own Scottish Borderers, particularly the 1/5th (Dumfries and Galloway) Battalion, and 2. Researching men and women from Kirkcudbrightshire who served during WW1

Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:31 AM

'....just curious as to your reasoning.'

Just trying to fit a possible scenario to the known/published information:

Born Troqueer, Kirkcudbrightshire (Maxwelltown in Troqueer was the other side of the river from Dumfries - they merged in 1929 - there was always a lot of confusion on military forms, as well as mis-spellings of Troqueer and Kirkcudbrightshire, so sometimes easier just to say Dumfries)

Born 1885 (so depending on how truthful he was regards his age, he could have enlisted from 1900/1 onwards)

Reservist and re-joined his regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders (suggests a regular reservist rather than special reserve)

He went to the front immediately, and was through the retreat from Mons (so 2nd Seaforths, as kenf48 stated)

Wounded and gassed, latterly he was attached to the East Surreys (Dumfries/Galloway locals in contemporary newspaper reports often referred to men who had transferred regiments as 'attached', borne out by the number of men on local memorials inscribed with their original unit rather than that with which they died)


A possible scenario:

Only two possibles for William McKenzie, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders who served overseas from very early (Aug 1914) in the war - #8876 and #7657. We know that #8876 died of wounds on 26 Apr 1915 and that #7657 deserted on 2 Sep 1915. Interesting. Worth considering?

Enlisted: summer 1902 as Private 7657, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders
Mobilised: August 1914
Disembarked: in France, 23 Aug 1914
Wounded: May 1915 (Times 21/06/1915)
Deserted: 2 Sep 1915
Re-enlisted: May 1916, using an alias, as 19176 Charles Thomas Harris, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in action: 25/26 Nov 1917 as Cpl 19176, 13th East Surreys

I can't access the Scotsman casualty lists at the moment because there is a problem with the Athens authentication system. However, when possible, I will search it for later wounding/death lists to see if it gives a place of residence for his next-of-kin.

I don't have a subscription, but on Findmypast there is a WO96 Militia file for William McKenzie born 1885 at Dumfries, Kirtcudbright (sic). There are also several variations of C, Charles and Thomas Charles Harris on the 'Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933' that may be worth a check.

As kenf48 states, there are minor issues wrt date/rank, but most people will have found similar examples if they have researched a large pool of men (as mentioned, re dates, we have to allowances for the confusion of war and re ranks, always issues regards acting ranks, appointments like L/Sgt where men are referred to as Sgt but are actually substantive Cpls etc.). Not saying that this is so in this case, but raising known issues. The point re separation allowance is quite correct, but may just have been a 'casualty' of his desertion. Of course, once re-enlisted and back at the front, he may have informed his officer/battalion but the information has not made it onto his MIC(s).

So, just an idea to fit the death of a man named William McKenzie with no obvious MIC or CWGC entry.

Best wishes,

Stuart

#9 PPCLI

PPCLI

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,670 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:From the Scottish Riviera, now Notts/Derby border
  • Interests:1. The King's Own Scottish Borderers, particularly the 1/5th (Dumfries and Galloway) Battalion, and 2. Researching men and women from Kirkcudbrightshire who served during WW1

Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:31 PM

Ken & Ken,

Now able to access the Scotsman archive and have found the list reporting the death:

The Scotsman, 5 Jan 1918, p 9 - East Surrey Regt.—Harris, 19176, Cpl. C. (Dumfries.)

[Note at beginning of casualty list states, 'The town shown against each soldier's name is the home of his next-of-kin, except when followed by the abbreviation "Enlt.," when it is his place of enlistment.']

Another detail that I meant to include in my previous post and which Ken mentioned by email is that the only birth in Scotland for a Charles Thomas Harris is 1875 and not in Dumfriesshire or Kirkcudbrightshire. Ken also states that the summary for the WO96 Militia file shows b.1885 Maxwelltown, Dumfries; 17 years 10 months; attested 23/1/1902; #3867, 4th Scottish Rifles; discharged from Cameronians (SR). Anyone with a FMP subscription?

I wonder whether William McKenzie decided after his initial six months full-time training as a special reservist that army life was for him and was discharged to enlist in the regular army? As far as I can tell, the Seaforths number, 7657, was issued about July/August 1902.

Best wishes,

Stuart

#10 SteveE

SteveE

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 6,208 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cambridgeshire
  • Interests:25th Bn. Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen) & The East African Campaign.

Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

Ken also states that the summary for the WO96 Militia file shows b.1885 Maxwelltown, Dumfries; 17 years 10 months; attested 23/1/1902; #3867, 4th Scottish Rifles; discharged from Cameronians (SR). Anyone with a FMP subscription?

I wonder whether William McKenzie decided after his initial six months full-time training as a special reservist that army life was for him and was discharged to enlist in the regular army? As far as I can tell, the Seaforths number, 7657, was issued about July/August 1902.

Stuart

William McKenzie #3867, was born Maxwelltown, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and enlisted 23rd January 1902 into the 4th Bn Scottish Rifles. He was discharged from that unit to join the Seaforth Highlanders on 2nd August 1902, so that bit fits with what you have already surmised.

The Surrey Recruitment Registers don't appear to have a suitable entry for Charles Harris though.

Regards

Steve

#11 PPCLI

PPCLI

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,670 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:From the Scottish Riviera, now Notts/Derby border
  • Interests:1. The King's Own Scottish Borderers, particularly the 1/5th (Dumfries and Galloway) Battalion, and 2. Researching men and women from Kirkcudbrightshire who served during WW1

Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:33 PM

Hi Steve,

Thank you for taking the time to help with this interesting puzzle. The extra piece of info you provide re his discharge to join the Seaforth Highlanders on 2 August 1902 completes the early part of the jigsaw, I think. There is a pension file for John McKay who was serving with the 3rd (Militia) RSF; he was discharged and enlisted as 7653 Seaforths on 6 August 1902. So, the date certainly fits.

I think it may prove difficult to find documented proof that William is also 19176 East Surreys, but the circumstantial evidence is fairly strong. The Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933 on Findmypast are probably the best hope.

Cheers,

Stuart

#12 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,921 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:52 PM

While your hypothesis is plausible I find it difficult to believe a former deserter would court publicity, as I know to my cost even an 'honourable' soldier's death did not always appear in the local press.

In any event I managed to get to the library today but The Surrey Recruitment Registers don't help (though I don't know my way around FMP but find the search parameters a bit sketchy) but I could only find one Charles Thomas Harris who is in the register for
1919-20. I couldn't find a Harris [with initials and variations] born in Dumfries I don't know how complete the Registers are - very frustrating.

Even more annoying Sgt 8876 has an extensive bio on De Ruvigny RoH!

Ken

#13 nils d

nils d

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 247 posts

Posted 29 April 2012 - 08:47 AM

I think he is possibly the following man, serving under an alias:

Name: Charles Thomas Harris
Birth Place: Dumfries
Enlistment Location: Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey
Death Date: 26 Nov 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: East Surrey Regiment
Battalion: 13th Battalion
Number: 19176
Type of Casualty: Killed in ac


lnteresting theory PPCLI ,l like how you can think outside the box, but this could be totally disproved if someone can now check and find a Charles Harris on a Dumfries war memorial.

#14 kenmorrison

kenmorrison

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 427 posts

Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

I really should not be surprised at the amount of time and effort that members of this forum put in to help answer a question - but I am.:thumbsup:
I'm very grateful for all your research. I'm minded to go with Stuart's solution and will try to confirm his hypothesis. At the moment the supporting evidence is in a negative form.
There is no sign of a C T Harris being born or living in the Dumfries area and the name Harris does not appear on any War Memorial in Dumfries and Galloway. So it could be an alias.
This isn't the first time I've run across this kind of story and that case took 10 years to sort out.
See
http://1914-1918.inv...=1

so wish me luck.:blush:

many thanks

Ken

#15 kenmorrison

kenmorrison

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 427 posts

Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:26 AM

Hi Steve,

Thank you for taking the time to help with this interesting puzzle. The extra piece of info you provide re his discharge to join the Seaforth Highlanders on 2 August 1902 completes the early part of the jigsaw, I think. There is a pension file for John McKay who was serving with the 3rd (Militia) RSF; he was discharged and enlisted as 7653 Seaforths on 6 August 1902. So, the date certainly fits.

I think it may prove difficult to find documented proof that William is also 19176 East Surreys, but the circumstantial evidence is fairly strong. The Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933 on Findmypast are probably the best hope.

Cheers,

Stuart


Stuart (PPCLI) has e-mailed me with the information that the Police Gazette of 14 September 1915 reported that McKenzie, Wm.; 7657; Seafth Highrs; age 31 1/2; occ. Painter; enl. 12 Aug. 1902, Dumfries; born Maxwelltown, Kirkcudbrightshire had deserted.