John Mackenzie, 73 North Tolsta

A deep gloom was cast over this district on Tuesday of last week when news was received that Corpl. John Mackenzie, 73 North Tolsta, had been killed in action on 9 June 1918. The sad news was conveyed in a letter to Mr Angus Mackay, Free Church missionary, from Sergt Macleod, a relative of Portnaguran. John was struck by splinters of shell in the arm and in the leg. Arteries were severed an he died from shock and loss of blood as he was being carried to the dressing station. The deceased, who was about 36 years of age, was a divinity student prior to enlisting in 1916. Being an expert instructor in bomb-throwing he was kept in this country until the German offensive started last March. As a young man, he had seen service in Egypt during the South African War. Subsequently he was employed for several years with the Clyde Turst, but some years ago he entered Skerry's College with view of entering the ministry of the Free Presbyterian Church. He was an eloquent and impressive preacher and moreover he was a man whose influence told for good in the community. He was much loved and highly respected both as a man and as a Christian. During the time he was in the home camps he used to hold meetings amongst the soldiers in training, many of whom, when he arrived in France, would cluster round him hoping he would hold a short service with them. The platoon sergeant, writing to John's father, said that he had personally lost a dear and true friend, whom he could never forget, for he had left them such a beautiful example in his steadfastness on the side of Christ and in The Truth. The commanding officer of the battalion has written, and one could see how highly he esteemed John Mackenzie, a keen and capable soldier and a man who had such a good influence on his fellow soldiers. The heartfelt sympathy of the community is extended to his aged father, his brothers and sisters. The village of North Tolsta has now lost thirty-three men.

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