The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

 
 
Lieutenant Colonel (Later Major General) James Mackay CB, OBE, VD, MID

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: James Alexander Kenneth Mackay

Ancestor's date of birth: 05/06/1859

Ancestor's date of death: 16/11/1935

Cause of Death: Age related

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Farmer, politician and author.

Service Number: Officer - no number

Colony or State of enlistment: NSW Place of Enlistment:

Unit: New South Wales Imperial Bushmen

Rank attained in Boer War: LTCOL, Date Effective: 1898

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): MAJGEN, Date Effective: 1920

Murray Page: 90

Contingent: Fourth New South Wales

Ship: Armenian, Date of Sailing: 23/04/1900

Memorial details: NSW Polo Association Annual Trophy

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB), Mention in Despatches (MID), Volunteer Officers' Decoration (VD), Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps: Rhodesia, Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Colony and South Africa 1901, British War Medal.

Personal Characteristics: Community minded.

Reasons to go and fight: A serving soldier

Details of service in war: May 1900 - May 1901. He was involved in the following actions, Relief of Elands River 5 August, Marico River 6 August, Occupation of Ottoshoop 14 August 1900, Buffel's Hoek 18-19 August, Jacobsdal 22 August, Malmani 27 August, Wondersfontein 10-11 September, Manana and Lewerpan 12 September where a 15Pdr and Pom Pom were captured, Reoccupation of Lichtenburg, 28 September, Oliphants Nek 5 October, Magatas Pass 10th October, Riekertodam 16 October, Lead Mines 24 October and Kaffir Kraal 1 November. The intensity of the operations is visible in the time frame. Finally, outside Zeerust, he was seriously injured when his horse fell. Unfit to ride he was sent to Cape Town and in November 1900 was appointed chief staff officer for the various Australian contingents. This appointment seems to have met with acclaim by all Australians, a Victorian Nurse in far away Rhodesia remarked that since he had taken over they at last seemed to be getting the supplies that they needed. While in South Africa he unsuccessfully stood for election to the first Australian Senate. He returned to Sydney in July 1901 and for his war service was appointed CB, mentioned in dispatches and granted the honorary rank of colonel. He was involved in the following actions, Relief of Elands River 5th August, Marico River 6 August, Occupation of Ottoshoop 14 August 1900, Buffel's Hoek 18-19 August, Jacobsdal 22nd August, Malmani 27 August, Wondersfontein 10-11 September, Manana and Lewerpan 12 September where a 15Pdr and Pom Pom were captured, Reoccupation of Lichtenburg, 28 September, Oliphants Nek 5 October, Magatas Pass 10th October, Riekertodam 16 October, Lead Mines 24 October and Kaffir Kraal 1 November. The intensity of the operations is visible in the time frame. Finally, outside Zeerust, he was seriously injured when his horse fell. Unfit to ride he was sent to Cape Town and in November 1900 was appointed chief staff officer for the various Australian contingents. This appointment seems to have met with acclaim by all Australians, a Victorian Nurse in far away Rhodesia remarked that since he had taken over they at last seemed to be getting the supplies that they needed. While in South Africa he unsuccessfully stood for election to the first Australian Senate. He returned to Sydney in July 1901 and for his war service was appointed CB, mentioned in dispatches and granted the honorary rank of colonel.

Service and life after the Boer War: In 1906-07 Mackay was chairman of a royal commission covering the administration of Papua; its report was presented in 1907 and in 1909 his personal account Across Papua was published. He was actively involved in Parliamentary committees and eventually served well over thirty four year in the Legislative Council. He retained his interest in military matters and in 1912 was given command of the 1st Light Horse Brigade with the rank of Brigadier-Colonel. He commanded the military parade at Canberra in 1913 for the setting of the foundation stone and the naming of the capital. Too old for active military service during World War I, he was appointed to raise an Australian Army Reserve from returned soldiers and was its first director-general (as a Brigadier General) from 1916. He was appointed O.B.E. in 1920. That year he retired from the Australian Military Forces with the honorary rank of major general. He remained associated with the South African Soldiers Association until his death. Throughout his life Mackay had maintained a close interest in primary industry and the bush and its people. His own property, Wallendoon, was part of the land which his father had occupied since 1842. He was living there when admitted to Cootamundra District Hospital where he died on 16 November 1935; he was cremated. His wife and two daughters survived him.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Michael Alexander Mackay Baldry, Harden NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grandson

 


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields