20 July 1916 : Pte. Alexander McGregor McKenzie

Born at Talia, South Australia on 11 January 1891

Talia, South Australia (c) Google Maps 2021

He was a farmer.

District Headquarters - Keswick Barracks, 4th Military District 'The Home of the Brass Hats'.

He enlisted at Keswick, South Australia on 7 May 1915 and embarked on overseas service from Adelaide aboard HMAT Kanowna on 23 June 1915.

27th Regiment, South Australian Contingent. Virtual War Memorial Australia.

After serving at Gallipoli with the 27th Bn AIF from September 1915, Alexander moved to Egypt.

After a period of illness, he transferred to the 32nd Battalion and moved to France, arriving at Marseilles on 23 June 1916.

On 19 July 1916, the 32nd Bn took part in their first major engagement at Fromelles. Alexander was posted as missing in action the following day.

V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles WernerVC CC-BY-SA-3.0

Missing until the recent discovery of a mass grave, Alexander’s name is commemorated on the Australian Memorial at VC Corner, Fromelles. His remains were discovered – amongst 250 British and Australians – in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood in 2008.

Through a combination of anthropological, archaeological, historical and DNA information, a number of these remains were identified.

CWGC Fromelles Ceremony 19 July 2010 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Alexander’s remains were amongst those identified and he now lies in a marked grave in the newly created Pheasant Wood CWGC cemetery at Fromelles.

Studio portrait of 1797 Private Alexander (Alec) McGregor McKenzie, 32nd Battalion. Public Domain Images from the Australian War Memorial H06313

1797 Pte. Alexander McGregor McKenzie, 32 nd Bn.AIF

20 July 1916 killed in action


Research by David O'Mara

References and sources:

Google Maps 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org)

Australian Service Records (National Archives of Australia): ( http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/ )

Australian War Memorial (War Diaries, Embarkation Rolls, Roll of Honour, etc.) ( https://www.awm.gov.au/ )

Virtual War Memorial Australia > https://vwma.org.au/explore/units/2