Major Addison Alexander Mackenzie MC or "Lex" to his friends was born on November 1st, 1885, in Woodbridge, Ontario and was working as a clerk out the outbreak of the war. By this time he had ten years service with the Canadian Militia serving with the Governor General's Body Guard. Lex would become one of the original Officer's of the 4th CMR when it was formed, through the amalgamation of elements of the G.G.B.G., the 2nd Dragoons, 9th Mississauga Horse and the 25th Brant Dragoons.


During the Battle of the Somme, after the Canadian Corps had taken Courcellette, their next major objectives were a series of trenches to the north of the village. The final trench in the defensive position was Regina Trench. Located on the reverse slop of the crest of the ridge, it was difficult for the forward observation officers to bring the artillery to bear on the enemies wire.


Prior to the planned attack, Captain Mackenzie would lead a reconnaissance party to physically observe the effects of the artillery fire and later lead his men in assaulting the Germans positions. His efforts that day would earn him a Military Cross to which the citation reads;


"For conspicuous gallantry in action. He carried out a daring reconnaissance of the enemy's wire in daylight. Later he led his Company with great courage and determination, greatly assisting the bombers by sniping the enemy as they brought up reinforcements."


The above image shows the then Captain Addison Mackenzie (left) with Lt's. William Butson (middle) and William Muirhead (right).


After the Somme the Canadian Corps would be moved into position for its part of the Battle of Arras. Their objective would be Vimy Ridge, a battle that would become a landmark victory for the Canadian Corps. Major Mackenzie's Company's objective that day was the Ridge between L'Ecole commune and La Folie Farm, but, soon after the assault began Lex would be wounded and taken out of the battle. His wound that day would also take him out of the front lines, but he would continue to serve in the Canadian Army's training system until the end of the war.


After the war Lex would return to Woodbridge and take over the family farm before entering politics. He was first elected to local Municipal Office's before entering and winning a seat in the Provincial Legislature. representing the riding of North York. As a sitting MPP for twenty-two years, he sat on many standing committees, most of them dealing with agriculture and natural resources. This was probably because of Lex's farming background making him a man of the soil. It was this interest that also saw him sitting on the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, as well as being a charter member of the Woodbridge Horticultural Society.


Addison Alexander Mackenzie died in 1970, leaving behind him a legacy of military and civic service. His service has been honoured through the naming of a major throughway; Major Mackenzie Drive, as well as Alexander Mackenzie High School and the Woodbridge branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.






The group image to the right was sent to 4cmr.com by a passing contact early in the site's research days, and it is regretted that a specific credit for the image cannot now be cited. However, it was taken sometime between late 1916 and April 1917.


4th CMR researcher, John Crawford, was able to identify the men in this shot. They are, left to right, (with additional details supplied by 4cmr.com):


Back row:

Lt. Edwin Austin Abbey - originally of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, lost at Vimy in April 1917,

Lt. James Armstrong Brockleby Chenney - originally of the 33rd Battalion, struck off strength June 1917,

Lt. William George Butson - originally of the 136th Battalion, lost at Vimy in April 1917, and

Lt. Lyell Corson Johnston - originally of the 111th Battalion, also lost at Vimy in April 1917.


Front row:

Capt. William Robert Muirhead - originally of the 66th Battalion, lost at Passchendaele in October 1917,

Major Addison Alexander MacKenzie - wounded at Vimy and struck off strength in April 1917, and

Lt. Gregory Clark - originally of the 170th Battalion (would receive promotion to Captain and gain an MC), also survived the war.





Credit and thanks to George Auer for the detailed biography.


Image credits;

Upper image, courtesy of the City of Vaughan Archives, City Clerk's Office.

Lower image, it is known that the group photograph came from Lt. Clark's own collection. Many thanks to John Crawford for identifying the men in that image.