Private James MacKenzie VC, 2nd Batt. Scots Guards

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James MacKenzie VC (2 April 1889–19 December 1914) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

MacKenzie was born in New Abbey, Dumfries in 1889 and enlisted in the Scots Guards on 16 February 1912. He embarked for France on 5 October 1914. He was 25 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 19 December 1914 at Rouges Bancs, 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.

Private MacKenzie has no known grave but his name is listed on panel 1 the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing in Berks Cemetery Extension near Ploegsteert in Hainaut, Belgium. the Berks cemetery at Ploestreet, Belgium. There is a memorial tablet at Troqueer parish church, Dumfries. His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Scots Guards RHQ), London, England.

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2nd Batt. Scots Guards at Jabbeke - 8 October 1914

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Bob Grundy of the Great War Forum was so kind to mail me a photo of the 2nd Batt. of the Scots Guards leaving my home town Jabbeke on the 8th of October 1914. Of course this made me curious to the story behind it ! A Scottish unit in my home town how good could it get ?

Andy Pay, another forum member did get me the following :

2nd Scots Guards War Diary for this time reads:


Landed at Zeebrugge about 6am, by train to Bruges, arrived about 11am and marched to Varssenere. The Battalion took up an outpost position LF & RF. The object of landing the 7th Division at Zeebrugge was to assist the Belgium Army to withdraw from Antwerp which was at that time being very heavily bombarded and very hard pressed.


The Battalion marched to Ostend about 14 miles and billeted at Steene which is a small village outside Ostend. A German Taube aeroplane was flying over the harbour. The 3rd Cavalry Division reported to be landing at Ostend and the 20th Brigade was sent to cover their landing. The Taube was chased by an English aeroplane.


Left our billets at 6am and marched into Ostend where we entrained for Ghent about 7.30am. Two days rations were carried on the men accompanied by P/Line Transport. The town was crowded by wounded Belgians who had come from Antwerp. Antwerp was reported to have fallen. On arrival at Ghent at 11am the Battalion marched to a place in the town where it bivouacked and where the remainder of the Brigade joined later in the day. Orders were received in the afternoon to march and take up an outpost line to cover the retirement of Belgian troops which were returning after being in action for some weeks continously. They appeared to have had enough fighting. Ghent was full of German spies. The people seemed pleased to see the British troops. The outpost line taken up was as follows, Border Regiment on the right, 2nd Scots Guards in centre & 1st Grenadier Guards on the left. Gordon Highlanders in Reserve on the railway embankment, unsupported by any artillery.

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Caerlaverock Castle - Dumfries and Galloway

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Caerlaverock Castle is a 13th-century triangular moated castle in the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve area at the Solway Firth, south of Dumfries in the south west of Scotland.

In the Middle Ages it was owned by the Maxwell family. Today, the castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is a popular tourist attraction and wedding venue.

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Hermitage Castle - Borders

Hermitage Castle is a semi-ruined castle in the border region of Scotland. It is under the care of Historic Scotland. The Castle has a reputation, both from its history and its appearance, as one of the most sinister and atmospheric in Scotland.

It can be found at Newcastleton, Roxburghshire.

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Greenknowe Tower - Borders

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The lands of Greenknowe were obtained by the Setons of Touch in the early 15th century, when Alexander Seton married a Gordon heiress. The tower was built in 1581 by James Seton, and the date, his initials, and the initials of his wife Janet Edmonstone, are inscribed above the door. The castle is situated on a low natural mound, which was originally surrounded and defended by marshy ground.

In the 17th century, the tower was sold to the Pringles of Stichil, who made additions to the building, and enlarged the windows to suit the less dangerous times. The castle was occupied until the mid 19th century, and passed into state care in 1937 following restoration works.

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Jedburgh Abbey - Borders

Jedburgh Abbey is a ruined 12th century Augustinian abbey, situated in Jedburgh, in the Borders of Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1138.

Today, there is a cloister and herb garden to explore, and a visitor centre containing 8th century carvings and artefacts excavated from the abbey grounds.

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Dryburgh Abbey - Borders

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Dryburgh Abbey, on the banks of the River Tweed, Scotland, was nominally founded on 10 November (Martinmas) 1150 in an agreement between Hugh de Morville, Lord of Lauderdale and Constable of Scotland, and the Premonstratensian canons regular from Alnwick Abbey in Northumberland. The arrival of the canons along with their first abbot, Roger, took place on 13 December 1152.

It was burned by English troops in 1322, after which it was restored only to be again burned by Richard II in 1385, but it flourished in the fifteenth century. It was finally destroyed in 1544, briefly to survive until the Scottish Reformation, when it was given to the Earl of Mar by James VI of Scotland.

The 12th Earl of Buchan bought the land in 1786. Sir Walter Scott and Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig are buried in its grounds.

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Battle of Bannockburn 1314

The Battle of Bannockburn (Blàr Allt a' Bhonnaich in Gaelic) (June 24, 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence.

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The Battle of Culloden Trailer

Trailer for audiovisual film at National Trust For Scotland's new Culloden Battlefield Experience. A dramatic reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle fought on British soil on 16th April 1746 between the Jacobite supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie and The British Army of George II. Directed by Craig Collinson & Produced by Nobles Gate.

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Bas agus Buaidh - Death and Victory

William Wallace

Scottish patriot born at Elderslie Renfrewshire circa 1270 A.D. who from the year 1296 fought dauntlessy in defence of his country`s liberty and independence in the face of fearful odds and great hardship being eventualy betrayed and captured, brought to London and put to death on the 23rd August 1305.

His example, heroism and devotion, inspired those who came after him to win victory from defeat and his memory remains for all time a source of pride, honour and inspiration to his countrymen.

Dico tibi verum libertas optima rerum nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili. (Sir William Wallace)


I tell you the truth, the best of all things is freedom, never son, live under the bonds of slavery.

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo

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Scotland !

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Passchendaele 1917 Pipes and Drums at Museumweekend Zonnebeke

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