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No Roses Grow on a Sailor’s Grave – The Jim Mackenzie Story

edited November 2016 in General Charlton
As we approach Remembrance Sunday the museum would like to draw attention to the three Addicks who fell in WW1

Below is an article by Steve Hunnisett of Blitz Walkers www.blitzwalkers.co.uk who posts on Charlton Life as @Tom_Hovi

Thanks Steve for the research and article.

Lest we forget

----------------------
By now, most supporters will be aware of the efforts of Club Historian Clive Harris, ably assisted by Ben Hayes, in tracking down the names of the three members of our club who fell during the First World War.

On a recent visit to the excellent Charlton Athletic Museum at the Valley, I noticed a freshly delivered memorial tablet which listed the names of the three definitely known Addicks who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the conflict that was described at the time as “The War to end All Wars”, a description that has subsequently been proved sadly inaccurate.

One name, or rather a ship’s name, immediately caught my attention when looking at the finely crafted plaque. This was the steamship Heron, a name I recognised as being a vessel from the General Steam Navigation Company, a London based short sea and coastal shipping concern that later became a part of the shipping company for whom I once worked, the P&O Group. So apart from the connection to Charlton Athletic, there was also a link, albeit a slightly tenuous one, to my first employer with whom I spent some of the happiest working years of my life. I had to learn more.

The name of the man lost aboard the Heron was somebody who had been involved with the Club literally right from the very start, for he was none other than Jim Mackenzie, the very first Honorary Secretary of the embryonic Charlton Athletic when the club was formed in time for the beginning of the 1905-06 season and whose name and address at 5 York Street, Charlton was given in the Kentish Independent newspaper advertisement of 27th October 1905, as the person to contact for those looking for a friendly fixture.

John Alexander Mackenzie, as his surname suggests, was a Scot who was born in 1890 in Dundee to parents William and Annie Mackenzie. Jim, as he was universally known, was the eldest of five children, with a younger brother and three sisters. By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to 36 Cedar Grove, Charlton as Jim’s father William had taken a job as a Dockyard Labourer, no doubt at one of the many wharves that lined the Thames in the area at that time. By 1905, the family had moved to York Street, today called Mirfield Street and which connected East and West Streets (now Eastmoor and Westmoor Streets respectively) at the heart of the area from whence the young players of the newly formed football club were to be found.

As readers of Richard Redden’s excellent club history ‘The Story of Charlton Athletic 1905-1990’ will perhaps remember, Jim was Honorary Secretary of the Club during its formative years but in November 1908, at the age of eighteen, he decided to join the Merchant Navy, being engaged by the General Steam Navigation Company, often referred to simply as the GSN, or ‘The Navvies’. Although the company’s headquarters were at Trinity Square in the City of London, they also had a wharf and engineering works at Deptford and it was perhaps the locality of his new employers, together with the regular schedules and relatively short routes covered by the company that attracted Jim to this type of work.



Comments

  • edited November 2016
    Superb!

    More more more
  • edited November 2016
    image

    Jim Mackenzie (extreme right of photo)

  • Brilliant Steve thanks for that, and Ben for posting, we will certainly remember Jim, Fred and Nobby on the 19th November before the game at the war memorial. More to follow in the coming days
  • image

    Jim Mackenzie commemorated on the Merchant Navy Memorial, Tower Hill
  • Superb!

    More more more

    As Clive says, more to come.
  • Fantastic write up. So interesting. Thank you those involved.
  • Thanks to all concerned for the research that went into that.

    Excellent.


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  • Excellent article.
  • A really interesting thread.

    Thanks for that.
  • Excellent. Thanks for that

  • Interesting read.

    BTW the web address above needs tweaking slightly.
  • Very interested in this, as my Grandfather worked for the steam navigation company, and later for Greenwich council, after his return from war. My grandfather served in the 'buffs', and stayed in the army in the 'auxillary' or what I believe is the reserve for several years. In later years he was responsible for 'public works' which included the town hall clocks,monuments, and even public toilets all over the borough. Thanks Steve and Ben for the contribution's.
  • Very interested in this, as my Grandfather worked for the steam navigation company, and later for Greenwich council, after his return from war. My grandfather served in the 'buffs', and stayed in the army in the 'auxillary' or what I believe is the reserve for several years. In later years he was responsible for 'public works' which included the town hall clocks,monuments, and even public toilets all over the borough. Thanks Steve and Ben for the contribution's.

    Thanks Ken - is this your Grandfather who served with the AFS? At long last, after a lot of being messed around by them, we are finally in discussions again with Invicta Road School about the plaque. As soon as we have a firm date - next year now I reckon - we'll be sending the invites out and you will be on the list!
  • image

    The current memorial put up by the museum with the help and donations of fans
  • The new memorial for Jim and the two other WW1 fallen.



    image
  • Brilliant bit of research, will remember Jim and Messrs Nightingale and Chick on November 11th.

    Did we lose anyone during the Second World War?
  • Tom_Hovi said:

    Very interested in this, as my Grandfather worked for the steam navigation company, and later for Greenwich council, after his return from war. My grandfather served in the 'buffs', and stayed in the army in the 'auxillary' or what I believe is the reserve for several years. In later years he was responsible for 'public works' which included the town hall clocks,monuments, and even public toilets all over the borough. Thanks Steve and Ben for the contribution's.

    Thanks Ken - is this your Grandfather who served with the AFS? At long last, after a lot of being messed around by them, we are finally in discussions again with Invicta Road School about the plaque. As soon as we have a firm date - next year now I reckon - we'll be sending the invites out and you will be on the list!
    Indeed it is.
    Let me know, as my cousin would like to attend as several of the family were, and are serving fire officers, albeit now in Essex.
    Thanks
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  • Tramp said:

    Brilliant bit of research, will remember Jim and Messrs Nightingale and Chick on November 11th.

    Did we lose anyone during the Second World War?

    Yes, Geoff Reynolds
  • Tom_Hovi said:

    Very interested in this, as my Grandfather worked for the steam navigation company, and later for Greenwich council, after his return from war. My grandfather served in the 'buffs', and stayed in the army in the 'auxillary' or what I believe is the reserve for several years. In later years he was responsible for 'public works' which included the town hall clocks,monuments, and even public toilets all over the borough. Thanks Steve and Ben for the contribution's.

    Thanks Ken - is this your Grandfather who served with the AFS? At long last, after a lot of being messed around by them, we are finally in discussions again with Invicta Road School about the plaque. As soon as we have a firm date - next year now I reckon - we'll be sending the invites out and you will be on the list!
    Indeed it is.
    Let me know, as my cousin would like to attend as several of the family were, and are serving fire officers, albeit now in Essex.
    Thanks
    Will do Ken - the school have been messing around a bit but we do seem to be finally getting somewhere. Will keep you posted and all will be welcome to come along.

  • Engrossing story, superbly researched and written.
  • Fascinating to read the background stories of some of those who gave their lives.
    I work as a park warden in Southwark and regularly patrol the three cemeteries there. I regularly make a point of stopping to pay my respects at the many graves and memorials dotted around these cemeteries but nothing brings it more to life than when I bump into a relative who has come to visit one of these graves and they tell me what happened. The last one was an Aussie fella who only found out his dad had a younger brother after his dad died earlier this year. Following his younger sibling's death during his first day of action at Gallipoli, the old fella never spoke about him again. The rest of the family only found out when they discovered some documents while clearing out his house.
  • Bumping for tomorrow
  • As we approach the centenary of the Armistice worth reminding ourselves of our of those who lost his life.

    RIP
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