Gunner George Davidson Mackie

Service number NX22559
Birth Date 1918-01-20
Birth Place United Kingdom: Scotland
Unit 2/1 Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Composite)
Conflict/Operation Second World War, 1939-1945

George Davidson Mackie was born at the village of Kelty in Scotland on 20 January 1918 to parents Walter and Catherine (née Stenhouse). With the Great Depression looming and its emerging impact on the industrial centres of Scotland already apparent, his family decided to immigrate to Australia. Thus, several weeks after his eleventh birthday, Mackie and his family departed Glasgow on board the steamer Demosthenes, and disembarked at Sydney on 22 March 1929. They proceeded to Newcastle and settled in the suburb of Mayfield East.

At the age of fourteen Mackie left school in the midst of the Great Depression in Australia, and started washing windows in order to supplement his family’s income. Following this period he joined the Newcastle Steelworks where he was employed as an ironworker. Whilst still in this role, he enlisted with the Australian Army on 29 May 1940 with a view of joining a friend in an Anti-Aircraft unit. His friend ended up enlisting with the Engineers whilst Mackie was posted to the 2/1 Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Composite).

Mackie trained as an anti-aircraft gunner at various camps around Sydney including significant stints at both Ingleburn and Liverpool. After completing much of his training he was assigned to domestic defence, and spent time manning anti-aircraft guns at Fort Wallace near Newcastle as well as machine guns mounted to pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Thirteen months after enlisting, he was deployed for service overseas, embarking from Sydney on 28 June 1941 and arriving in the Middle East a month later. He subsequently served with anti-aircraft gun crews in Egypt, Palestine and Syria from late July 1941 to early February 1942.

Mackie returned to Australia in late March 1942, and proceeded to the Northern Territory. He was briefly posted to an anti-aircraft gun position near the Darwin civilian aerodrome and Royal Australian Air Force airfield. He assumed a similar role when transferred to Livingstone Airfield south of Darwin in May 1942, and then to nearby Batchelor Airfield in August of the same year, where he was primarily based until June 1943.

Mackie commenced a period of leave in June 1943, and returned to Sydney. He married Ruth May Collins at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Botany Bay on 31 July 1943. He returned to service three weeks later and entrained to Brisbane, where he was based at Kalinga Camp in preparation for service in Papua New Guinea. He embarked from Townsville on 22 November 1943, and arrived at Buna five days later. He was briefly based at Cape Endaiadere, and then posted to the town of Finschhafen for the remainder of his deployment in New Guinea until May 1944.

During the final year of his active service, Mackie was stationed at Mapee in Queensland for an extended period before departing for his last deployment overseas. He disembarked at Morotai Island in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) on 31 May 1945, and joined a large Allied force in the lead up to the last major Australian operation of the Second World War, the Battle of Balikpapan. He landed at Balikpapan on the 14 July 1945 for the last week of the operation, but remained based there until mid-October. He briefly returned to Morotai Island in preparation for his voyage home, and disembarked at Brisbane on 22 November 1945. Mackie was discharged from service two weeks later.

Following the war Mackie studied cabinet making, design and business. He specialised in the former and eventually started his own furniture company. He and his wife raised three daughters, and settled in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra during the mid-1950s.

George Davidson Mackie died on 26 January 1998.


Date of birth 20 January 1918