First World War campaign medal awarded to (J31736) Boy First Class Albert Edward McKenzie VC, Royal Navy.
See entry for McKenzie's Victoria Cross, OMD 5286. Able Seaman Albert Edward McKenzie (23 Oct 1898 - 3 Nov 1918). Albert McKenzie was born in Bermondsey, and joined the Royal Navy as a boy entrant in 1913. In 1918 he volunteered for the naval force being formed to attack the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in a daring plan to prevent its use by German submarines. Just after midnight on 23 April 1918, St George's Day, Captain Alfred Carpenter RN brought HMS Vindictive alongside the harbour wall known as the Mole. Casualties were heavy even before the storming parties landed. McKenzie, carrying a Lewis gun and 400 rounds of ammunition, followed his officer onto the Mole and in a running fight engaged German positions with machine-gun fire. Ordered to withdraw, and with his Lewis gun blown from his grasp, McKenzie fought his way back using his pistol, bayonet and bare hands. Badly wounded in the back and foot, he was eventually pulled to safety. The Victoria Cross warrant ( Clause 13) allowed participants in a corporate act of bravery to nominate who was to receive the medal. McKenzie was the choice of his fellow ratings. Still recovering from his wounds, McKenzie contracted pneumonia and died in November 1918 aged 20. He is buried at Camberwell New Cemetery, Honor Oak, in south London.