The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire to Rear-Admiral Colin Mackenzie
An outstanding Mesopotamia C.I.E. and Taku Forts D.S.O. group of seven awarded to Rear-Admiral Colin Mackenzie, Royal Navy, who commanded H.M.S. Whiting in the successful cutting out of the Chinese destroyers in the Pei-Ho river, one of the last occasions boarding parties went into action with the cutlass. The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, C.I.E., Companions 3rd type neck badge, gold and enamels, complete with full neck cravat in its Garrard & Co. case of issue; Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; China 1900, 1 clasp, Taku Forts (Lieut. Commr. C. Mackenzie, R.N. H.M.S. Whiting); 1914-15 Star (Capt. C. Mackenzie, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. C. Mackenzie, R.N.); Coronation 1911, mounted as worn, minor enamel loss to wreaths of D.S.O., otherwise nearly extremely fine. Footnote: 55 medals with Taku Forts clasp issued to this ship. D.S.O. London Gazette 9 November 1900: In recogntion of services in China. One of only five Naval D.S.O.s for China. M.I.D. London Gazette 13 September 1915: Served during the operations on the Tigris River for the attack on the Turkish positions north of Qurnah, and the advance on and occupation of Amara. For this service he was specially promoted to Captain. C.I.E. London Gazette 3 June 1919: For meritorious services in connection with the War in Mesopotamia. Colin Mackenzie was born in 1872, eldest son of Donald Mackenzie, Gairoch, Ross-shire. He joined the Royal Navy in 1885 and went to sea in the autumn of 1887. In 1900 he was given his first command, H.M.S. Whiting, a Torpedo Boat Destroyer of 350 tons. To the destroyer Whiting, and her consort Fame, fell the unenviable task of capturing four Chinese destroyers lying between Taku and Tongku, which were threatening the Allied attack on the forts. Commanded respectively by Lieutenants Colin MacKenzie, R.N. and Roger Keyes, R.N. (afterwards Admiral of the Fleet) each ship also towed into action a whaler manned by a dozen Bluejackets, all of them volunteers - it was one of the last occasions boarding parties went into action with the cutlass. In his subsequent report to the Rear-Admiral, China Station, dated 27 June 1900, Keyes stated: After a slight resistance and the exchange of a few shots, the crews were driven overboard or below hatches; there were a few killed and wounded; our casualties were nil. No damage was done to the prizes, but the Fames bow was slightly bent when we closed to board, and the Whiting was struck by a projectile about 4 or 5 inches abreast a coal bunker. This was evidently fired from a mud battery on the bend between Taku and Tongku, which fired in all about 30 shots at us, none of the others striking, though several coming very close ... There was a good deal of sniping from the dockyard so I directed all cables of the prizes to be slipped and proceeded to tow them up to Tongku. Mackenzie afterwards received from the Admiralty an expression of their Lordships thorough approbation and was awarded the D.S.O., one of only five such awards to Naval officers for the China campaign. Promoted to Commander in June 1906, he commanded Nubian, First Flotilla, 1909-11; Star, Fourth Flotilla, 1911; Blonde, Seventh Flotilla, 1911-12; and Clio, China Station, 1912-15. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Mackenzie took Clio to the Middle East and was in Port Said by January 1915. At the end of the month she moved into the Suez Canal and was active in the defence of the canal against Turkish troops. She fired on Turkish positions on 27 January and 1-3 February, receiving incoming fire on the last. Clio then formed part of the British expeditionary force in the Shatt-al-Arab in April 1915, taking part in the operations on the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, and at times was Senior Naval Officer. He was mentioned in despatches and promoted to Captain for these services. In April 1916 Mackenzie took command of Himalaya, armed merchant cruiser, serving against the Germans off the coast of East Africa from April 1916 to May 1917. Operating a Short 827 seaplane, Mackenzie, acting as observer, took off with Flight Lieutenant E. R. Moon and made a successful reconnaissance of Lindi harbour in late 1916. This was a not untypical instance of a senior naval officer taking to the skies with the Royal Naval Air Service, but the risks were great. Some six weeks later the same pilot took off on a similar reconnaissance of the Rufiji delta with Commander R. O. B. Bridgeman, D.S.O., as his observer, but suffered engine failure on the return trip to Himalaya and made a forced landing in a creek. Moon and Bridgeman spent the next three days walking and swimming towards the mouth of the river but Bridgeman died after a raft they had made was swept out to sea. Moon was captured by German Askaris and was a P.O.W. for the the remainder of the war. In August 1918 Mackenzie was appointed to Victory at Portsmouth, and in May 1921 to Thunderer, in command. He retired in 1923 and was promoted to Rear-Admiral in August 1926. Rear-Admiral Colin Mackenzie, C.I.E., D.S.O., died on 22 June 1968.