Malcolm Mackenzie, 14 Aird

Last address in Lewis: 14 Aird
Son of Norman and Margaret Mackenzie, of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
Service: 2nd Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 2813466
Date of death: 11 September 1944 at the age of 39
Taken POW at St Valery. Shot by a guard at POW-camp
Interred: Malbork (Poland) Commonwealth War Cemetery, grave 9. A. 3.
Local memorial: Point, Garrabost

Stornoway Gazette
3 November 1944
This week we have the tragic news from Germany that one of our men will not return. Malcolm Mackenzie, 14 Aird (Calum a Ghoisdy) is reported to have died in a German camp on 11 September. Malcolm was taken prisoner at St Valery and now, when it looks as if the day is not far distant when the clouds of war will give way to the sunlight of victory and peace, it is sad to think that his hopes of freedom are not realised. We hope to give further details in a later issue.

9 March 1945
Some weeks ago we reported the death in a German prisoner camp of Pte Malcolm Mackenzie, 14 Aird.

Official information has now been received to the effect that he died a result of a gunshot wound. According to statements by fellow prisoners of war, who were eye-witnesses of the occurrence on 11th September 1944, an argument started between a group of prisoners engaged in sawing trees and a German guard. Private Mackenzie intervened in the argument and was shot by the guard after he had been accused of using his axe in a threatening manner. It is understood he died instantaneously.

Just the day before his death, Pte Mackenzie wrote a cheery letter home in which he said; "We are longing for the day to come when we are free to go home, if God spares us."

Rev Norman Maclean, British Chaplain in the camp, writes: "I buried Malcolm on Thursday last. His own comrades were bearers. One of our men blew the Last Post and Reveille. His own flag covered the casket and flowers were laid on the grave, which is in the town cemetery where his working party was. His comrades collected over £68, which has been sent to his mother, with expression of deep sympathy.

Malcolm was 41 years, and had 23 years' service with the Seaforth Highlanders. He was captured at St Valery.

The circumstances which led to his death were characteristic of his love of fair play. He always championed the weak. A prisoner who was repatriated said of him that he was the life and soul of the prison camp and popular with all the prisoners, always ready to help them, and especially the young boys, of whom there was a crowd in the camp. His love of justice cost him his life, and he died as he lived - a hero. In the early days in France, when they first found themselves under fire, regardless of personal danger, he advised and helped the younger boys, and his courage and cool head in face of danger were the means of helping them out of many a tight corner.

The heartfelt sympathy of the community is extended to his bereaved widow and invalid mother and to his sisters, brothers and all his other relatives. 

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