Lt-Col Ian Mackenzie, DSO; born September 7, 1914,

died July 31, 2000

Ian Mackenzie was born on September 7, 1914 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was educated initially at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg and then at Glenalmond in Scotland. At the end of his school career in 1932 he went to Pembroke College, Oxford, and read the Modern Greats (philosophy, politics, and economics). After obtaining an MA he returned to South Africa in 1935, served his articles, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1938 and became a partner in George Mackenzie & Co in 1939.

Meanwhile, the threat of war in Europe had been steadily growing. In Johannesburg a Second Battalion of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment was formed in 1936 which Ian Mackenzie joined and seriously trained and prepared for the outbreak of war. Early in 1939 Ian Mackenzie went to London to gain practical business experience, taking his uniform with him as war seemed unavoidable. He expected to become attached to the Black Watch, with which the Transvaal Scottish had affiliations, but the British Army was already virtually on a war basis and this attachment was not possible. He attended the Last Levee at St James Palace before the outbreak of war.

When war came he arranged with the South African military authorities for a transfer to the British Army and he was posted to the 4/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers in September, 1939.

His Battalion was in France in 1940 and covered the retreat of the last British forces in France, scrambling on board the last ship to leave Cherbourg as the German panzers closed in on the only remaining escape route - they were only three miles from the harbour. After his baptism of fire Ian Mackenzie, who was already marked out as a leader of men, was promoted Captain and Adjutant to his Battalion. He spent the next few years at Camberley - he was the only South African to become an instructor at Camberley in wartime.

With the approach of D-Day and the Normandy landings, Ian Mackenzie asked for a posting back to his battalion or to some unit with which he could participate in action against the enemy. He was posted to the 10th Highland Light Infantry. Before long, at the age of 30, Ian realised one of his big ambitions - the command of his own battalion, the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers, and commanded this battalion for the rest of the war.

Ian Mackenzie was decorated with the DSO in the field by Field Marshal Montgomery in 1944. He received this award for ''conduct beyond praise'' in the fierce fighting at the Gheel bridgehead when the British forces were making desperate efforts to smash their way through to link up with the 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. He asked Winston Churchill to become Honorary Colonel of his Regiment and Churchill said he would be delighted.

In March 1945 Ian Mackenzie and his men again distinguished themselves by leading the British forces across the Rhine. Mackenzie was mentioned in despatches and Piper Frank McGhee, who piped the battalion across the river, said to newspapermen: ''I've never seen a braver man than our CO.''

By the beginning of 1946 Ian was demobilised and after attending an investiture at Buckingham Palace he returned to South Africa with is wife, Anne. He had met Anne during the war years on one of his visits to Scotland. They were married at St Mary's Church, Broughty Ferry, Scotland, in February 1944.

Ian Mackenzie was an extremely active, imaginative, and enterprising businessman and had an illustrious career in South Africa. He became director and then chairman of the Standard Bank Investment Corporation Ltd from 1973 until 1985, and chairman of other public companies, such as Afrox Limited, Messina Ltd, as well as a director of Liberty Life Association of Africa Ltd. He received a Doctorate of Laws from Rhodes University in 1975 and was chancellor of Rhodes University from 1977 to 1990. He maintained his interest with the Transvaal Scottish and was Honorary Colonel of the Regiment until the end.

He was a collector of Africana - books and art - and had many interests, especially in wildlife and salmon and trout fishing.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

n Lt-Col Ian Mackenzie

receives his DSO from Field Marshal Montgomery in 1944 for ''conduct beyond praise''