Lt. John Allister MacKinnon MC, ( DCM, MM I can find no evidence that he had either DCM nor MM)


Born in India in 1892. He went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1912, but resigned his commission in 1913, due to both money problems and absence without leave. He had settled in Canada by 1914. He enlisted as a Private in 1914, and was commissioned in Dec. 1916. Again he had a number of AWLs on his record, plus a Court Martial in 1917 for bounced cheques. He left the Canadian army in 1919 as a Lt - his use of "major" is, I believe, because he was a Company Commander , and used it as an honorary tiltle. He never was awarded DCM nor MM (which he claimed on enlistemt, and is quoted by most academics), but did get MC

1892 Nov 10. Born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Son of Farquhar MacKinnon and Mary Mackinnon, of Bubnowlie, Tomkohi, Gorakpore/Gorgkhpur, India. His father was a factory manager of the Behar Indigo Factories " In 1885 F.Mackinnon became manager and continued upto 1888, when A Macfarlane took charge till 1889 when F Mackinnon returned and continued to 1897. John Mackinnon then took up the management to 1899. In that year F Mackinnon managed to 1905 and still continues as manager." The British established a flourishing indigo trade, based largely in Champaran district in Bihar. It consisted of plantations and processing factories. Conditions on these plantations were harsh.

1911 census at RMA Sandhurst, a gentleman cadet.

1912 Feb 14. Gazetted 2nd Lt. The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets from the Royal Military College to be Second Lieutenants.John Alister (sic) Mackinnon. Middlesex Regt

Preview attachment 15th Bn Officers, 1918-05, Etrun B.JPG [Image] 2 MB

1913 Apr 9. The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), Second Lieutenant John A. Mackinnon resigns his commission.

He then moves to Canada. When war was declared, he was working as a clerk in Toronto. He mobilized with a local militia regiment. He joined C Sqn of the Royal Canadian Dragoons at Valcartier Camp, Quebec and went overseas with the First Canadian Contingent, (rank = Trooper). Soon after arriving in England, he transferred to the MG Section of the RCD.

1914 Aug 5. Mobilized at Toronto

1914 Sep 22. Enlists with RCD at Valcartier Canadian Record of Service

1914 Sep 26 to Oct 17. Sailed with RCD aboard SS Laurentic from  Quebec City to Devonport.  Posted to Pond Farm, Salisbury Plain

1914 Nov 17 to Nov 26:  AWL.  CB 10 days & forfeited 9 days’ pay

1914 Dec 18 WAL, CB 3 days & forfeited 1 day’s pay

1915Apr 12.   AWL.  5 days’ FP & forfeited 1 day’s pay

1915 May 4. RCD proceeded to France as part of the Cdn Cavalry Bde

1915 May 26. He was wounded in the back at Festubert . Evacuated to 6th London Fd Amb, but was back with the RCD within three months

1915 May 28:  Transferred to 4th GH, Versailles

1915 May 31. Invalided to England & attached to Cdn Cavalry Depot

1915 Jun 1. Admitted to Highfield MH, Liverpool

1915 Jun 10.  Discharged to duty & attached to CCD, Canterbury.  Granted sick furlough

1915 Jun 17. Reported to CCD, Canterbury from sick furlough

1915 Aug 4. Posted back to RCD & proceeded to France.

1915 Aug 8. Rejoined RCD in front line trench near Messines

1915 Dec 8:  Ill, Alveolar Abscess.  Admitted to 3rd Fd Amb, then to 1st   Fd Amb

1915 Dec 15. :  Discharged to duty & rejoined RCD at Aldershot Huts

1915 Dec. He applied for a transfer to the 15th Bn - as a piper - and was accepted, (rank = Piper). His name appears on the official list of regimental pipers. He does not seem to have been with the15th band for very long. Between June-July 1916 he rose quickly from corporal to sergeant. The band list names only one sergeant and two corporals, none of these are him.

1915 Dec 23. 12-23:  Posted to 15th Bn at & assigned to Pipe Band

1916 Mar 3:  Promoted to Cpl

1916 Apr 27 to May 12:  Granted leave at Rouen

1916 Jul 18:  Promoted to L/Sgt

1916 Jul 22:  Promoted to Sgt

1916 Nov 28 Discharged from CEF to become a commissioned officer

1916 Dec 1. 15th Can. Inf. Bn. The undermentioned Serjts. to be temp. Lts. : No. 652 J. A. Mackinnon.

1916 Dec 19/31:  Granted leave to UK

1917 Jan 4:  Attached to LAR course, Le Touquet

1917 Jan 5:  Ill with Trench Fever.  Admitted to 24th GH, Etaples

1917 Jan 26 Invalided sick to England aboard HS Stad Antwerpen. Attached to General List for administration.  Admitted to Royal Free GH, Gray’s Inn Road, London.  Now also diagnosed with Shell Shock & nervous myopia

1917 Feb 22  Discharged from hospital & granted one month of sick  furlough with family at Viewfield, Portrie, Isle of Skye, Scotland

1917 Mar 22:  Medical Board at London extended furlough for one month.  Now attached to 5th Res Bn

1917 Apr 23. Under arrest pending court martial.

1917 Jun 15.  GCM at Shorncliffe.  Suspended from duty LWOP (on Leave without Pay) from Apr 23 to Jul 10 & severely reprimanded

1917 Oct 13. Proceeded to France to rejoin 15th Bn

1917 Oct 14. Joined 15th Bn at Ohlain-Fresnicourt

1917 Nov 28 to Dec 07:  Granted leave

Of note is that his officer's pay ledgers seem to suggest that he was borrowing money, and owed some as well, including to his own Bn fund. He closed his bank account, meaning he dealt only in cash - very unusual with officer's files. He was appointed A/Captain just before the attack across the Canal du Nord, where he was wounded and his combat war ended.

1918 Jan 17 to Feb 02:  Granted leave to UK

1918 Apr 29. Appointed Scout Officer, 15th Bn, (ref 1st Division RO 4592)      

1918 May 24. The undermentioned temp. Lts. to be temp. Capts. : — J A Mackinnon MC

1918 Jun 29. Ill, Chicken Pox.  Admitted to 2nd Fd Amb

1918 Jun 30. Transferred to 12th SH, St Pol

1918 Jul 6. Transferred to 16th GH, Le Treport

1918 Jul 24. Canadian, Mach Gun Corps. Temp. Lt. J. A. MacKinnon to be temp Qr.-Mr., with the hon. rank of Capt. while so empld.

1918 Aug 2. Transferred to 3rd GH for ICT, legs

1918 Aug 9. Discharged to Le Treport BD

1918 Aug 26. Classified Cat A

1918 Aug 31. Attached to CCRC

1918 Sep 7. Rejoined 15th Bn at Berneville

1918 Sep 21. Appointed A/Captain, (ref LG 30988)

1918 Sep 27. GSW right arm & knee at Marquion.  Compound fracture of   right humerus.  Evacuated to 26th CCS.  For actions this date was recommended for MC. He was the Battalion Scout Officer attached to Battalion HQ

1918 Sep 30. Invalided to England aboard Ville de Liege & attached to 1st  CORD for administration

1918 Oct 1. Admitted to 7th GH, Exeter

1918 Nov 1. Ceased to be A/Captain & reverted to Lt

1918 Nov 28. Transferred to Matlock Baths CH

1918 Nov 30. Medical Board at Matlock Baths recommended that he be invalided to Canada as unfit for any service for six months

1918 Oct/Dec. Married Agnes B Edwards in Marylebone , Middlesex sometime during the last quarter of 1918. Based on the fact that he was hospitalized with a compound fracture of his right arm from September 27 to November 30, I guessing they married in December when he was on sick furlough. His CEF file does not contain any of the usual or expected references to a marriage, though, and it looks like he did not request permission to marry, nor apply for allowances on her behalf. If you download the file, the only references I found were on his War Service Gratuity ledger, (pg 25) and his R150 form (pg 83). Both of these came at the very end of his CEF service.

1919 Jan 27:  Having been absent for four months, is SOS from 15th Bn. Now posted to 1st CORD

1919 Feb 7.   Ill, effects of old wound.  Admitted to Matlock Baths CH

1919 Feb 8. Discharged to duty

1919 Mar 1.   Posted to 12th Res Bn, Witley

1919 Mar 7. MC gazetted Lt. John Allister MacKinnon, 15th Inf. Bn. 1st C. Ontario R. In the above attack he was in charge of headquarters personnel. The village of Marquion was held by bodies of the enemy, who were holding up our advance. He led his party into the village, and was successful in dislodging several enemy machine-gun posts. During this operation he had his arm broken by a bullet, but continued to lead his men until the situation had been cleared, lie showed fine courage and devotion to duty. Their War Diary is available online

1919 Apr 1. Attached to N Wing, CCC Witley pending discharge

1919 Apr 3. Ill, effects of old wound.  Admitted to 12th GH, Bramshott.  Ceased to be attached to N Wing, CCC Witley

1919 Apr 12. Transferred to Granville SH, Buxton

1919 May 26. Circa this date NOK changed to “Mrs AB MacKinnon, (Wife  [living at] The Cottage, Burys Court near Reigate, Surrey”

1919 Jun 15. Transferred to North Audley CRX Officers’ GH, London

1919 Jun 20. Medical Board at London found that he had ongoing weakness in right arm & hand, as well as myopia.  Further  treatment was of no benefit.  Classified Cat C2

1919 Jun 29. Discharged to duty & granted leave

1919 Jul 25. Reported to R Wing, CCC Witley

1919 Jul 31. Medical Board at London found that he would be partially  disabled due to wounds for about 12 months.  No further  treatment was required.  Classified Cat A for discharge

1919 Aug 1. 1st Central Ontario The undermentioned temp. Lts. retire in. the British Isles : — J. A. Mackinnon, M.C.

1920 Nov 9. Bankruptcy receiving order against Capt John A Mackinnon of 61 Stanhope Gdnst, London . A Motor Transport Manager.

1920 Oct 28. Joined ADRIC with RIC no , ADRIC no 917. Posted to H Coy as Company Commander

A local man described MacKinnon as "A tall broad shouldered Scot, he walked with a confident swagger. MacKinnon always carried a pistol at the ready in a holster strapped loosely to his thigh. This together with the huge bearskin gloves that he always wore, gave him the air of ruthless military efficiency. Yet he was quite suave, and could be very personable when he wished "

1920 Dec 25. Shooting of Reidy & Lean. Gave evidence at the inquest of Reidy and Lean. Ryle Dwyer in "Tans, Terror and Troubles" gives some background on the unpopularity of Major MacKinnon, On 25th Dec 1920, MacKinnon and 4 other Auxiliaries raided the home of a local creamery manager. Two IRA men in the house were shot and killed, and then MacKinnon ordered everyone out of the house and set fire to it.

1921 Mar 3. An attempt to kill MacKinnon in an ambush at Ballyroe when he was returning from Ardfert to Tralee had to be called off when one of the IRA men was accidentally shot.

1921 Mar 17. Ryle Dwyer quotes a local man as saying that Mackinnon "surprised some of the lads. He jumped out of his car and kicked the stuffing out of 3 or 4 lads. He tied one end of a rope to Moss Hogan's legs and the other end to a horse. He then drove the horse along the road. Poor Moss was in the devil of a way for a long time from the battering he got"

1921 Apr 9. DI1 JA MacKinnon, DI3 WH Ballantine, S/L Surtees, T/C CVH Harrison were at the shooting of Driscoll. Surtees was wounded by shotgun pellets. 3 Crossley tenders went to inspect a temporary bridge that intelligence had led them to believe would be destroyed by the IRA. They found a group of men in the act of trying to destroy it. The group split and ran, and the Auxiliaries opened fire. Daniel Driscoll was hit and later died of the wounds

1921 Apr 15. Commanding officer of H coy in Tralee. Shot while off duty and playing golf in Tralee with DI.3 R W H Ballantine (ADRIC no 935). The IRA knew that he played golf here regularly, and had kept watch on the golf course for about 2 weeks before their chance came. The hit squad was a sniper with a rifle, James Cornelius Healy a veteran of WW1, and three men with shotguns, Johnny Riordan, Tommy Barrett and Jack Mason. Healy hid in a tree overlooking the third green and waited till Mackinnon was perfectly still as he shaped to hit the ball. Healy shot MacKinnon twice in the head. The others opened up with shotguns, and all the IRA men were able to escape in the resulting confusion.

There were 4 other Auxiliaries playing golf that afternoon on the course. All we unarmed


That night Ballymacelligott was raided by the Auxiliaries. They burned the creamery and at least fifteen houses including that of the parish priest, Father Trant. They burned the home of Volunteer Tom McEllistrim’s widowed mother. They raided the home of John Reidy, the uncle of Maurice Reidy, one of Mackinnon’s Christmas night victims, and shot and killed him and they burned the home of Maurice’s family. 

1921 Jun 4. Widow awarded £9500 compensation.

Buried Windsor Cemetery Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough, Berkshire, England

1931 Jun 23. His father left a tidy sum when he died in India in 1931

1932 Apr 11. His widow married in India to Samuel William Bower




WO 339/8201 Is his 1912/1913 commission

I am grateful to Jim Busby in Canada for the information on MacKinnon's Canadian service