Craig MacKenzie poses with a photo of his father Walter MacKenzie. Craig’s father fought in the First World War at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Hill 70 and Somme, among other battlefields said MacKenzie. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Son recalls father’s valiant effort in First World War

Our Canadian Stories: Walter MacKenzie

My dad (Walter MacKenzie) was born in Greenock, Scotland. He was one of ten sons who operated 4 Butcher Shops in Greenock. He immigrated to Canada in 1912 to farm with his brother in the Hogadon District near Wimbourne, AB. The Ship that he was on coming on from Scotland (I think the Saratoga?) they assisted in rescuing people from the Titanic after answering the Distress Call.

When the First World War broke out in 1914 he volunteered immediately riding his horse to the CPR Station in Red Deer and from there went by train to Quebec for training for overseas for combat in the First World War. He was assigned to the first Canadian Division out of Red Deer and fought valiantly in the well known conflict of Vimy Ridge, the Passiondale, the Battle of the Somone Hill 70 and numerous other significant conflicts and survived the first gas attack the Germans launched.

After the war in 1919, he served one year of occupation in France helping to rebuild the country. Upon returning to Canada in 1920 he was given a quarter section of land in Knee Hill Valley from the Canadian Soldier Settlement Board. He homesteaded the quarter of land that he was given and there he learned how to become a farmer because his trade was a first class butcher in Scotland. He quickly learned how to become a farmer and bought three more quarters of land in Knee Hill Valley. Dad basically refused to talk about the war as he said it was a no win situation for either side and cost hundreds of thousands of lives unnecessarily.

He raised a family of two sons on the farm and later retired to Innisfail where he worked for the Innisfail hospital in various capacities until his death on April 30th, 1962.

Thomas Walter Craig MacKenzie, Born on May 7th, 1937

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