Bridge of Weir

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S/6524 Private William John McKenzie

9th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

died of wounds 27th June 1916

aged 28

Bethune Town Cemetery
Freeland Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

4 Windsor Place, Bridge of Weir
Son of John McKenzie and Margaret McKenzie
Husband of Margaret McKay Cowan
Father of John

His Life

William John McKenzie was born on 21st September 1888 in Monkton, Ayrshire, the eldest of a family of ten born to John McKenzie from Inverness and Margaret McKenzie from Lochalsh, Ross-shire who had married in Edinburgh on 8th December 1887.

In 1891, John (29), Margaret (29), William John and Annie Alexander were living in Nethermuir, Monkton. John was a gardener.

By 1901, the family of nine (without Annie Alexander) lived in Railway Land, Bridge of Weir. John was a jobbing gardener.

In 1911, eleven of the McKenzie family were living in a 3-roomed flat in 4 Windsor Place, Main Street, Bridge of Weir. John was still a jobbing gardener; William was a postman, Roderick an apprentice leather dresser, and Jessie a telegraph messenger. Margaret and eldest remaining single daughter Maggie minded the home. Five of the children were still at school.

On 29th November 1912, William married Margaret McKay Cowan in Irvine. Margaret was the daughter of William Cowan, railway superintendent and Christina McKay and was employed as a domestic servant in Morada, Bridge of Weir.

William volunteered for active service on 7th November 1914 and was enlisted into the Black Watch.

Private McKenzie first joined the theatre of war on 14th July 1915 in France with the 9th Battalion, the Black Watch which formed part of the 44th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. He was fortunate to survive the Battle of Loos later that year and was home on leave in January 1916. But in June that year he was mortally wounded by a bomb burst during a raid on enemy trenches and was buried in Bethune Town Cemetery about 18 miles north of Arras in the Pas de Calais in France. He left a widow and a three year old son, John, born on 5th January 1913.

William's younger brother Roderick survived the war, although wounded by shrapnel. He served with distinction in the 6th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry, and was awarded the Military Medal for attending to wounded comrades under machine gun fire in October 1918.


1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age
William John2 William J12Wm John22 Monkton, Ayrshire
Annie Alexander11 mo Monkton, Ayrshire
Maggie8Maggie18 Monkton, Ayrshire
Roderick6Roderick16 Monkton, Ayrshire
Jessie5Jessie15 Kirkmichael, Ayrshire
Dollina3Dolly13 Bridge of Weir
Jennie2Jane12 Bridge of Weir
Hector R 8 moHector Robert10 Bridge of Weir
Alex9 Bridge of Weir
Donald5 Bridge of Weir


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