Personal info

  • Name: Hugh McDonald McKENZIE
  • D.O.B: 5th December, 1885
  • D.O.A: 30th October, 1917
  • D.O.D: 30th October, 1917
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, 7th Company, The Canadian Machine Gun Corps, 7th Brigade, Canadian Expeditionary Force
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West of Passchendaele, Belgium 30-31 October 1917

30-31 October 1917

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The First World War 1917 

On 30 October 1917, Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie launched the second phase of the Second Battle of Passchendaele, which was to bring the Canadian Expeditionary Force to the western outskirts of the village. 49th (Edmonton) Battalion The Alberta Regiment advanced north of the Ypres-Oostnieuwkerke road, but came under heavy machine-gun fire near Furst Farm. This position was captured by Private C J Kinross allowing the advance to continue. To the north of 49th Battalion the forces included 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, which was detailed to capture the German stronghold at Vapour Farm. Though wounded, Acting Major G R Pearkes succeeded in securing this objective and holding out all day against German counter-attacks even when the situation appeared desperate. Meanwhile, to the south of the Ypres-Oostnieuwkerke road, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry pushed forward to attack the Meetcheele spur. Machine-gun fire from a German pillbox swept the slope. It was only the determination of Lieutenant H M McKenzie, 7th Company, The Canadian Machine Gun Corps, that galvanized the Canadian Light Infantry to charge. McKenzie himself was soon killed but the pillbox was taken by Sergeant G H Mullin, making it possible for the Light Infantry to advance.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and leading when in charge of a section of four machine guns accompanying the infantry in an attack. Seeing that all the officers and most of the non-commissioned officers of an infantry company had become casualties, and that the men were hesitating before a nest of enemy machine guns, which were on commanding ground and causing them severe casualties, he handed over command of his guns to an N.C.O., rallied the infantry, organised an attack, and captured the strong point. Finding that the position was swept by machine-gun fire from a “pill-box” which dominated all the ground over which the troops were advancing, Lt. Mackenzie made a reconnaissance and detailed flanking and frontal attacking parties which captured the “pill-box,” he himself being killed while leading the frontal attack. By his valour and leadership this gallant officer ensured the capture of these strong points and so saved the lives of many men and enabled the objectives to be attained. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 12 February 1918. 13 February 1918, Numb. 30523, pp. 2003-04

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