Colin Scott Mackenzie (German binoculars)



Colin Scott Mackenzie (German binoculars)


Colin Scott Mackenzie


German Binoculars, book cover 'Ross Mountain Battery, Gallipoli 1915-16.


Colin Scott Mackenzie, my father’s older brother, joined the Ross Mountain Battery (RMB), Territorial Force, of the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade in 1909 on his 16th birthday. This was the earliest date he was allowed to join and earlier than normal because he was a ‘boy bugler’. The Ross Mountain Battery (RMB) was based in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

Mountain batteries were light artillery able only to fire 10lb shells, but they were supremely mobile and remarkably accurate. They could quickly be taken apart and carried by horses or mules to wherever they were needed – often enough the men themselves could manhandle the guns into the final positions. In modern times mortars have largely usurped their role.

Colin Scott, like most of the ‘originals’, had just returned from the 1914 Annual Camp with the RMB when he was called up on the very outbreak of war. He was at both Gallipoli landings, Cape Helles and Sulva Bay, and formed part of the battery rear-guard at the latter’s evacuation. I remember him telling me that the evacuation with no loss of life was no miracle; armies can’t move quietly. The Turks knew perfectly well their uninvited guests were leaving and didn’t want them to change their mind by firing at them. He also said the soldiers were short of everything except corned beef which they sucked from the tin (it became fluid in the heat) before the swarms of flies could get at it.

Colin Scott also fought throughout the Sinai campaign, but was invalided home in late 1916 when he had already been ‘time expired’ for some years. He spent some time in hospital in the UK and then returned to his interrupted law studies, eventually becoming Procurator Fiscal for the Western Isles. In the Second World War he was 2i/c the Lewis Battalion of the Home Guard.




Gallipoli and Sinai


Quentin Mackenzie, nephew, with acknowledgement to my cousin, Colin Scott Mackenzie Jnr.

This item was submitted on February 7, 2019