Service number 64178
Born: October 22nd 1914
Died: October 6th 1944
Archibald was born in Bucklow, Cheshire. His father Captain Lynedoch Archibald Mackenzie, R.E., had married his mother, Elizabeth Mary Dorothy Yates, the previous year. The Yates lived at Buglawton Hall, Congleton and had made their money in the silk weaving industry. Captain Mackenzie came from Edinburgh where his father was a lawyer. He was killed at Gallipoli on October 19th 1915
Archibald was educated at Winchester and Matriculated in 1933. He was living at 4, Cheyne Court, Flood Street, Chelsea when he came up to read Lit. Hum. in which he graduated with a 2nd in 1936.
After graduating, he joined the 2nd Battalion the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in India. In July 1939, they moved to Egypt with 11th (Indian) Infantry Brigade of 4th (Indian) Division and trained for desert warfare.
When Italy entered the war in June 1940, they joined the Western Desert Force. The first Infantry action in the Western Desert was a raid by the 2nd Camerons on the Italian camp at Maktilaon on 22nd-23rd October 1940. They took part in the attack on Nibeiwa camp, and the capture of Sidi-Barrani, the next day.
In January 1941, they moved to Port Sudan and saw action at Kassala and Agordat and took part in the actions breaking through at Keren in February 1941. In April they returned to Egypt. On June 2nd, they took part in the battle at Halfaya Pass. In December during the action to relieve Tobruk, they fought a successful rearguard action at Maraua, El Faida and Carmusa.
Rommel hit back in January 1942. The 4th (Indian) Division withdrew to Gazala. In May, the 2nd Camerons held a 3 mile stretch of the Tobruk perimeter. On June 21st the garrison surrendered. The 2nd Camerons fought on, surrendering the next day. Lt-Col C.S. Duncan ordered every fit man to try to escape to Alamein, 500 miles away. He then marched his battalion out of Tobruk into a prisoner of war camp, not as a defeated battalion, but under its commanding officer and headed by its Pipers.
The battalion was deported and held in a Prisoner of War Camp near Veano in northern Italy. On September 8th 1943, with several other prisoners, Archibald managed to escape. Instead of making his way to Switzerland, he decided to remain in Italy and fight with the Partisans in the Apennines. He was greatly loved and admired by the local villagers who called him “Captain Mack”. They helped many other allied prisoners to make their way to Switzerland.
At the beginning of October 1944, the village was under siege by the Germans. The weather was poor and the Partisans were hidden in the mountains. On the 6th, “Captain Mack” walked out of the fog into a German patrol and was killed. The Partisans recovered his body and gave him a huge funeral at a small church in the mountains, risking their own safety.
He was buried, locally, but now lies in the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa Plot III. A. 5.
He is commemorated on the Special Forces Roll of Honour and on the gravestone of his grandfather in Deane Cemetery, Edinburgh where his father is commemorated, also.
On October 18th 2009, the Commune of Vigolzone held a ceremony at which he was commemoratedHis mother moved to St. Cyrus, Kincardineshire and died in 1954.
He was up at Christ Church in the same year as John Steel Lewes, the co-founder of the SAS.