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Summary: World War I Chaplain Fighting MacKenzie, researched by Pastor Col Stringer

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Heroes from WWI, William “Fighting Mac” McKenzie (12/1869-26/7/1947)

Pstor Col Stringer reveiled the Australian Heros to us by his research, today I share it with you. Who are your personal heroes? Who do you look up to/want to be like?

Why did Aussies want to go to WWI?

It was an honour to serve in the military, an adventure, chance to make a stand.

Initial recruits were called “Dinkum Aussies”

Later recruits were called “Fair Dinkums”

These soldiers were full of zest for life, adventure & fun!

Americanisms-‘cool man, dude & guys’-were never used by ANZACs

Aussie-‘strewth, crikey, mate, cobber’ – were often used by ANZACs

Chaplains with the ANZAC Spirit

• W J Dunbar

• William Dexter

• Spencer Maxted

• Oswald Chambers

• William ‘Fighting Mac’ McKenzie

Born in December 1869 in Biggar, Lanarkshire Scotland

Family was deeply religious, but

Mac was adventurous, fought often & good student

At 12 mac left school to work on his fathers’ farm, but

Adventurous spirit drove him to new life in Australia

Fought on ship with Irish migrants, where the ships’ Captain intervened

At 15 Mac worked on Cattle station, was an accomplished horseman & developed love for Australian Bush

Worked at Bundaberg sugar plantation, where used 50 Kanakas & 20 Chinese labourers-all under Macs’ supervision. These labourers worked better under this 17 y.o. than previous supervisors-leadership qualities already apparent

Mac was regular at pubs & other Bundaberg drinking holes-drinking, fighting & rough life

Pub crawl led to Salvation Army meeting/service, childhood reality of God rekindled, missed past family times-somewhat like Mel Gibson returning to his childhood faith in recent years!

2 well-known Scotsmen, hard-drinkers, fighters & swearers gave testimony how God changed their lives for the better-which impressed Mac

Macs’ youngest sister died, disturbing him, restless sleep for a long time

One morning 4am God spoke audibly, “Go to Bundaberg & join Salvation Army!”

This same voice Mac heard in both Gallipoli & France, spoke 4 consecutive mornings

Mac finally rode 16 miles into Bundaberg, repented & returned home.

Mac studied the Bible, but his fervour & unorthodox ways won over many, conducting services with his younger brother.

Carried books, clothes & other gear walking to meetings throughout Victoria

Transferred to Queensland, successful in Toowoomba, Charters Towers, Townsville & Ipswich. Met Anne in Toowoomba, married in June 1909

Taught chivalry to sons-a real family man! Travelled with family preaching around Australia.

Returning home from Salvation Army Convention in England, heard WWI declared on ship

25/9/1914 volunteered for military service, 1st Salvation Army chaplain in 1 AIF at 44

Given 24 hours notice of departure, enjoyed family time, told them at 21:00-who did same?

Went to Sydney & then shipped out to Gallipoli, not everyone returned home as we know!

Everyone needed to “prove their metal”, Mac was no exception!


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