The life stories of those who crewed the first tanks in September 1916

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Gnr John McKenzie - We Do Remember Him

Posted by firsttankcrews on August 5, 2017 at 6:15 AM

Gnr John McKenzie, from Birkenhead, was killed on 5 August 1917 and his body was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

Born in Carlisle in 1890, John was the eldest son of Railway shunter Francis McKenzie and his wife Mary. By 1901 the family had moved to Tranmere in Birkenhead and were living in Peel Street. .

John probably enlisted at Coventry in early May 16; his home being recorded as Liverpool in Motor Cycle published on 4 May 1916. Posted to D Company, he fought in Dracula on 15 September 1916 at Flers and was also a member of the same D16 crew at the end of the month. He is likely therefore to have been in action at Eaucourt l'Abbaye on 1 October.

He was serving with No 10 Company when he was killed. he is therefore also likely to have been in action on 9 April 1917 at the Harp defensive position near Tilloy.  Sadly his death is not recorded in the D Battalion War Diary so the exact cause is unknown. It was probably as a result of artillery fire, possibly on the tankodrome at Oosthoek Wood. .

His parents published details of his death in the Liverpool Echo on 15 August.  This reveals that John was engaged to be married to Miss H Wood.  He is commemorated on the Birkenhead War Memorial - he is Not Forgotten

(Updated 6 August 2017)

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