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Kenneth McKenzie’s Lost Photos from World War II


I met a man who owned a ton of his uncle’s photos he took during his time in World War II. The images by Kenneth McKenzie start in Vancouver and Banff where they did their training, then all across Europe.

Kenneth McKenzie with his Brownie in hand and Caesar by his side.

While there are many images like these, what makes these special in my opinion is that each of the images has a handwritten caption on the packs of the photos giving context and names to the people in the images.

Two sentries standing guard in front of a machine gun nest guarding Muir Creek Bridge. This is just one gun. There are several more there.

One of my favorites photos is of Sgt. Cesar, the dog they took with them all throughout the war, and who was then brought back home to live out its days in Manitoba (I even have his discharge papers, which are a nice touch).

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. It also marks the year Kenneth McKenzie would have turned 100 years old.

Below are a selection of my favorite images from Kenneth’s collection that span his service during World War 2. All sequencing has been kept the same as Kenneth had it in his album out of respect for his story and how he wanted it shown.

Step back into the past and experience the war through his eyes, read his words, experience his joys, and feel his loss.

“(illegible) & cooking our own breakfast on a three day convoy to Nanaimo BC”
“Grub line up at the side of the road. The fellow marked with an X is a Lieutenant. They eat with the men on a trip like this. “
“Another view of the stuck carriers”
“A jeep. A light rescue car. Has 4 wheel drive and will go 65 MPH. Seats 4 & 6 men can carry it anyplace. Has a Willy Overland motor”
“A close up of the Jeep”
“Otter PT. A Camp – from a hill overlooking the camp.”
“Jack Boatfield (Winnipeg) on the boat.”
“One of our carriers in the parade.”
“Most of the Winnipeg “gang”.”
“Sgt. T.C Hicks cutting break for dinner. TPR. A. Nicholson in the foreground frying meat. Taken somewhere in England at one of our better stopping place. This is one of our more elaborate meals. We had a lot of time for this one.”
“Me sitting in the driver side rescue car.”
“Taking it easy at noon hour. As usual, Caesar is the centre of attention.”
“A snap of me in our last camp in Eng. It was the middle of a forest so it’s rather dark.”
“City of Ostend Belgium welcoming Staghounds”
“An anti-tank mine exploding on our mines and demolition school.”
“German Officers in the lead. Troops Following. Holland – 45”
“More Jerries on the hoof. After seeing some of these mobs I am more than ever convinced that we didn’t kill enough of them. Holland 45.”
“Another German picture of same camp.”
“A few armoured cars lined up in amsterdam before the parade.”
“SGT Balfour. Taken by himself on top of a church tower in Lissewege, Belgium.
Since killed in action in Germany at Fresoyth April 20, 1945. Picture taken Oct, 1944″
“TPR. Hamilton manning a .50 calibre machine gun post, it looks and is COLD”
“France. A small village we liberated & most of the people posing for their picture to be taken. You can see how happy they are.”
“The same little town in France. We are just preparing to “push on” after having liberated it.”
“A ruined chateau, somewhere in France. This used to be an orchard. The rough spots in the ground are where mortar shells have landed. Our scout car is proceeding up the trail, my vehicle is following. This picture was taken on the move.”

I took the photos from Kenneth’s nephew with the intention of scanning and distributing them. I am aiming to work with him to help track down the families and provide them with the images.

With the war having been so long ago, I can only imagine that others are also sitting on gold mines of photos like this. I hope this story helps inspire those people to also share their stories of such a historic time in our history.

Thank you Kenneth for the view into your life. This past year has been an unforgettable journey that I could only have dreamed of experiencing.