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RUSI of NSW

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   Army Museum of New South Wales
    Army Museum of NSW - Medals of the Month


Medals of the Month - July 2021

Honours and awards for Major General Kenneth Mackay, CB, MBE, psc.
Top L-R: Order of the Bath - Companion (Military), Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal.
Bottom L-R: (1) Order of the British Empire - Member (Military), (2) 1939-45 Star, (3) Africa Star, (4) Pacific Star, (5) Defence Medal, (6) War Medal 1939-45, (7) Australia Service Medal 1939-45, (8) Vietnam Medal, (9) Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, (10) Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, (11) Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 (clasps Malaya and Vietnam), (12) Australian Service Medal 1945-1975, (13) Republic of Vietnam Military Merit Medal (14) Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross

1917. Born at Waverley NSW on 17th February, son of Robert Mackay and his wife Elsie. (née Hill). Completed secondary schooling at University High, Melbourne VIC.

1938. Graduated from the Royal Military College - Duntroon on 14 December as an artillery lieutenant in the Australian Staff Corps.

1939. Posted to North Head Fort, Sydney NSW.

1939. Awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal for the rescue by rope of a seriously injured civilian from the base of the cliff face on North Head.

1939. Graduated from the Field Artillery School and transferred to South Head Fort, Sydney.

1940. Adjutant 2/8th Field Regiment, Puckapunyal, VIC. This posting resulted in a transfer from fortress artillery to field artillery.

1941-42. War service in the Western Desert, Egypt as an Artillery and Liaison Officer at Headquarters 9th Australian Division.

1942. Attended the UK Commando Instructors Course, Northern Palestine then raised and trained Australia's 9th Division Commando Unit.

1942. Attended the UK Camberley Staff College at Haifa, Palestine. Transferred to infantry and posted as Brigade Major, 26th Australian Infantry Brigade and was engaged in the fighting at El Alamein, Egypt.

1943-44. Brigade Major 26th Brigade in Papua New Guinea.

1945. Appointed 8 March 1945 as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Distinguished service in the SW Pacific.

1944. Posted mid-year as G2, Directorate of Operations, Army Headquarters, Melbourne.

1944-45. MO 12, War Office, London. MO 12 was a small top-secret section directly serving the Chief of the Imperial General Staff of the British Army (General Sir Alan Brooke - later Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke) and the British Prime Minister (Winston Churchill – later Sir Winston Churchill).

1945. Attended the Potsdam Conference, Germany in July as a member of Sir Alan Brooke's and Winston Churchill's personal staff.

1946-47. Joint Secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defence, Melbourne.

1948. Commanding Officer 67th Australian Infantry Battalion in Japan.

1949. First Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in Japan.

1950-52. Operational Staff at Army Headquarters, Melbourne.

1952. Operational secondment to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in Korea.

1953-55. Chief Instructor, School of Tactics & Administration, Victoria (Now the Jungle Training Wing - Combat Training Centre).

1955-57. Assistant Australian Defence Representative, London.

1958-61. Successively the Director of Personnel, Maintenance, Quartering and Military Training, Army Headquarters, Melbourne.

1962. Attended the Imperial Defence College, London.

1963-66. Director of Military Operations & Plans, Army Headquarters, Canberra.

1966-67. First appointment of General Officer Commanding - Australian Forces Vietnam.


L-R: General William Childs Westmorland (United States of America Commander Military Assistance Command, Vietnam),
Major General Kenneth Mackay (General Officer Commanding - Australian Forces, Vietnam) and
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (US Ambassador to South Vietnam) c.1966-67). (Others in the photograph have not been identified).

1967-68. Commander 1st Division at Victoria Barracks Sydney.

1969. Appointed as a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) with the citation Staff Corps - Vietnam.

1969-71. Quartermaster General, Army Headquarters, Canberra (now Commander Support Command - Army).

1971-73. General Officer Commanding Eastern Command, Victoria Barracks, Sydney.


Major General Kenneth Mackay, CB, MBE psc (centre) on a parade at Victoria Barracks Sydney, early 1970s.
(Others in the photograph have not been identified).

1973. First appointment of General Officer Commanding Field Force Command (now Land Commander).

1974. Placed on the Inactive List in February.

2004. Passed away on 18th May. A funeral service for General Mackay was held at the Garrison Church, Miller's Point, Sydney.

Lest We Forget

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