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15947 Rifleman Alexander (Alex) McKenzie – NZ Rifle Brigade

Alexander (Alex ) McKenzie was born in Thames on 3rd October 1868.[i] Little is known of his early life he is listed as
being married to Emma in 1900[ii] and the couple had three children all listed as being born in Paremata, Porirua.

On 10th April 1916 Alex entered military camp his military papers list him as a self employed fisherman, married with
three children and his wife Emma is listed as his next of kin[iii]. 15947 Private McKenzie’s age, based on his given birth
date on enrolment 3rd October 1872, was 44 years which was within the permitted age.

15947 Private McKenzie entered camp with G Company, 15th Reinforcements but at some stage during training was transferred to 6th Reinforcements, 4th Battalion, 3rd Regiment, New Zealand Rifle Brigade leaving New Zealand on
25th July 1916 as Rifleman McKenzie.

The 6th Reinforcements arrived in England on 3rd November 1916 they were sent to the Sling Military Camp where Rifleman McKenzie was posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion of the 3rd NZRB.  Reinforcements for the losses to the
NZ Division was required so training was short and on 20th November 1916 Rifleman McKenzie was sent to France.  
In France on 5th November 1916 Rifleman McKenzie was posted to B Company, 3rd NZRB.

On 13th February 1917 Rifleman McKenzie was sent to hospital with anaemia this was later simply noted as debility.
On 13th March 1917 Rifleman McKenzie was ‘ personally inspected by the ADMS  (Assistant Director Medical Services)’ and was classified as unfit for service at the front with a recommendation to be transferred to base.

On 9th April 1917 Rifleman McKenzie was sent to the Base Depot, Estaples, France prior to being transferred to England
on 22nd April 1917. In England Rifleman McKenzie was first posted to the Codford Convalescent Depot then on
29th May 1917 to the Discharge Depot, Torquay. On 30th May 1917 Rifleman McKenzie was before a Medical Board
where he was classified as not fit for Active Service on account of ‘overage and debility.’ The NZEF had been informed of
his correct date of birth so that he was 49.

On 23rd July 1917 less than a year of leaving from New Zealand Rifleman McKenzie was embarked on the SS Ionic
arriving in New Zealand on 26th September 1917 and he was given a month leave and then discharged as
‘no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contacted on activbe service and overage.'

Alex returned to Paremata living in the district up to his death on 19th August 1937, aged 70[iv].

Alex McKenzie is honoured on the Roll of Honour, St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui[v].

References
Archway Archives New Zealand, Military Files
NZ BDM
Paperspast online
Pauatahanui – a local history

Photos
Paremata and Porirua Harbour c1920: Alexander Turnbull Library

[i]    Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 15947 Rifleman Alexander McKenzie
[ii]   Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 15947 Rifleman Alexander McKenzie
[iii]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 15947 Rifleman Alexander McKenzie
[iv]  NZ BDM
[v]   Pauatahanui – a local history
Paremata Bridge and Porirua Harbour c1920