The Superhuman

Lieutenant Colonel A. E. G. McKenzie, D.S.O. †
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionMcKenzie

…he followed the immediate centre of his Battalion, and seeing his men held up by most destructive fire of all kinds, he pushed forward to personally lead them and was killed while so doing. On the way, prior to his death, he showed an extreme coolness and an almost superhuman courage.

(Capt. McGillivray to 5th Brigade O.C., 26th Bn. War Diary, Aug 1918, 32)

Archibald Ernest Graham McKenzie was a New Brunswick lawyer, Liberal Party campaigner and militia officer. He was born 21 January 1878 in Campbellton, McKenzie served as second-in-command with the 26th Battalion when it arrived in France in September 1915. By May 1916, he had replaced an ill Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity as commander of the battalion.

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The Accountant

Lieutenant Colonel Walter R. Brown, D.S.O.
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionWRBrown

I see in my mind many bright, cheery figures, some of the best of our county’s stock, soldiers every inch of them—how sorry I am they are not returning with us today, and how I feel for their people. But though they are sleeping in some military graveyard in France or Belgium, I know they are not forgotten…

(Brown to People of N.B., St. John Telegraph, 1919)

A member of the 62nd Fusiliers and Boer War veteran, Walter Richard Brown enlisted with the 26th Battalion in February 1915. He was born on 3 June 1872 in London, England. After the removal of Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity in May 1916 and the departure of Lieutenant Colonel A. E. G. McKenzie to an officer’s course in summer 1917, Brown assumed command of the battalion.

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The Ringleader

Lieutenant Colonel James L. McAvity
26th (New Brunswick) BattalionMcAvity

“Actual demonstration of the wonderful ability of the Overland cars in the rear of the trenches of the allied nations caused me to buy an Overland.” said Colonel McAvity, 26th Battalion, St. John, N.B., Just after one of the new Overland models was delivered to him by J. A. Pugnley, Overland dealer at St. John. Colonel McAvity recently returned home on a short furlough, and in order to get the most out of his, brief leave of absence purchased a motor car.

(Ottawa Journal, 26 August 1916, 13)

James Lupton McAvity was born on 8 October 1867 in Saint John, New Brunswick. He began his career with the family manufacturing business, T. McAvity & Sons Ltd. in the mid-1880s. His position as a company manager and representative took him to western Canada, Chicago and New York. During the gold rush of 1897, he traveled to Alaska and the Yukon in search of his fortune.

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