Sgt. MacKenzie

I first heard the Scottish traditional “Sgt. MacKenzie“, written and sung by Joseph Kilna MacKenzie, in Mel Gibson’s excellent Vietnam-era film We Were Soldiers (2002).

Joseph MacKenzie wrote the haunting lament after the death of his wife, Christine, and in memory of his great-grandfather, Charles Stuart MacKenzie, a sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders, who along with hundreds of his brothers-in-arms from the Elgin-Rothes area in Moray, Scotland went to fight in World War I. Sergeant MacKenzie was bayoneted to death at the age of 35, while defending one of his badly injured fellow soldiers in the hand-to-hand fighting of the trenches.

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