Info: Australian? Allied Unit,Lt Duncan Campbell Menzies 182309, Black Watch Royal Highlanders, Attd

Discussion in 'Australian' started by spidge, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Info: Australian? Allied Unit, Lt Duncan Campbell Menzies 182309, Black Watch Royal Highlanders, attd. 13th Bn. , The King's Regiment (Liverpool)

    Don't need the next line for this lad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why was he with this regiment? Any information would be appreciated.

    :poppy:
    Need assistance on Who/Where/What/How for this man who is on the Australian Commemorative Roll which is for those "Australians" who died in other Allied Services. If proved not to be "Australian" their names will not be removed from the Commemorative Roll however their details will be updated accordingly.

    I have researched the Air Force members but there are many more Land and Sea deaths in a myriad of different forces.

    There is not a lot of information on these people that can be accessed easily and I ask your assistance to fill in at least some of the gaps.

    Hopefully some relatives may see this thread and add more.

    I will make a different thread for each along the way as they may tend to get lost if clumped together.

    In Memory of
    Lieutenant DUNCAN CAMPBELL MENZIES
    M C

    182309, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
    attd. 13th Bn. , The King's Regiment (Liverpool)
    who died age 24
    on 04 April 1943
    Son of Duncan and Joan Menzies, of Adelaide, South Australia. Rhodes Scholar for South Australia, 1939.
    Remembered with honour
    RANGOON MEMORIAL

    This partial extract from this very good site and all credit to Steve. Makes very good reading on the Chindits. Click the link and read the rest of the Duncan Campbell Menzies story, especially part of the letter that he had written to his family in case of his death.


    Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943 - Home



    [​IMG] "I recognised him instantly as Duncan Menzies, a young Australian who had been at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar on the outbreak of war, and had joined my regiment the Black Watch. This chance but fateful meeting was the more extraordinary since I had been racking my brains for a suitable column adjutant, and had decided on Duncan as the best man for the job".

    He certainly was the best man for the job and Bernard Fergusson leant heavily on Menzies for almost the whole of the operation in 1943. Duncan Campbell Menzies (pictured left in his full Black Watch regalia) was one of the most revered and well loved soldiers to take part in the operation. He used his down to earth attitude to soldiering to keep morale high when things were looking quite bleak for column five and always, always led right from the front. Bernard Fergusson was fully aware that at times he as column commander had relied on Duncan not only for support, but to make vital decisions on behalf of his Major. I often wonder if Duncan's initials, that being DCM, were an accident of naming by his father, or had some kind of fateful foretelling of his life to come? There is no doubt in my mind that a DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal) was the very least this man deserved for his WW2 service. However, Duncan himself would have been the last man to ever claim such an award. Wingate had another acronym for DCM.........."died chasing mules"!
    Also a Civic Memorial in Adelaide, South Australia:

    Lieutenant Duncan Campbell Menzies, (M.C.)
    Memorial stone dedicated by J. D. Choat and erected by members of the Menzies family in honour of Lt. Menzies who was shot by the Japanese in Burma, 4 April 1943.
    Location: Menzies Crescent off Fitzroy Terrace.

    And from the Special Forces website:

    Duncan Campbell Menzies - CHINDITS 1943 - Special Forces - Roll Of Honour

    born Clare,South Australia
    son of Duncan and Joan Menzies,Adelaide,South Australia
    graduated University of Adelaide (St Peter's College)
    Rhodes Scholar for South Australia 1939
    Balliol College,Oxford
    Black Watch (Private)
    2 Bn Black Watch (C Company) (Lt) 1942
    Adjutant of No 5 Column
    award M.C. (posthumous)
    WIA and POW
    DOW Burma
    from: BBC - WW2 People's War - A Highland Chindit

    Duncan Cameron Menzies was born in Adelaide Australia, son of Duncan and Joan Menzies of Adelaide, South Australia. Joan Menzies was a native of Torrisdale in Skerray (Skerray is a small village in the North West Highlands of Scotland), who emigrated to live in Australia before the outbreak of the Second World War.
    Duncan Cameron Menzies was at college in Australia in 1939 when war with Nazi Germany broke out in Europe, he finished his college years becoming the Rhodes Scholar for South Australia. The (Cecil) Rhodes Scholarship was awarded to the top college student for the year in Australia; other winners of this top award have become Australian Prime Ministers and top government officials.
    In early 1940 Duncan Menzies sailed from Australia to join the British Army and fight in the war, he came to Skerray on holiday when he first arrived in Britain to visit his mother’s family in Torrisdale. He left Skerray to enlist as a commissioned officer in the Black Watch and was sent for officer training, to Sandhurst Military College.
    He joined the 2nd Battalion Black Watch as it was on route for Tobruk in North Africa in the summer of 1941. He was one of five officers in the battalion at that time and became second in command of ‘D’ Company under Captain Boyle, the battalion was soon in the thick of the fighting
    Tobruk was cut off in 1941, re-supply was carried out from the sea as the German Afrika Corps and the Italian Army had laid siege to the town for months. The British and Australian garrison came under constant air and ground attack, the record was 21 air raids in one day. The Black Watch were placed on the left flank at Tobruk in a position called the‘ Tiger’, holding the line in face of heavy German tank and infantry attacks.
     
  2. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Citation:



    Rank and Name
    Lieutenant Duncan Campbell MENZIES

    Action for which recommended :-

    Operations in Burma, February - May 1943

    Lieut. MENZIES was Adjutant of No. 5 Column. At the cutting of the railway at and south of BONCHAUNG on 6th March 1943, he was in charge of the main demolition at BONCHAUNG railway station for the first hour of the work, while his Column Commander was involved in a skirmish elsewhere. Owing to enemy activity, he had had to lead the Column by a difficult route across mountains, a journey accomplished in a very short space of time.

    At HINTHA on 28th March 43, he remained for half an hour in an exposed position by himself, keeping the enemy off with grenades and calling back with accurate information about their movements with a fine disregard of danger.

    Throughout the campaign he set a high example of efficiency, cheerfulness and devotion to duty. Of great physical powers of endurance his energy never flagged; and at the end of the most trying march he was tireless and possessed of extraordinary reserves of strength. He was easily the most skilful jungle navigator in the Column, which he would lead for hours without relief cutting a track as he went. Utterly fearless in action and an unbending disciplinarian who exacted his own high standards from everybody, he commanded the confidence and affection of every man in the column.

    (Since killed in action 04.04.1943)


    Recommended By
    Major B.E. Fergusson, D.S.O., The Black Watch
    Column Commander
    77th Indian Infantry Brigade

    Honour or Reward
    M. C.

    Signed By
    Brigadier O.C. Wingate
    Comdr. 77th Ind. Inf. Bde.









    From what I understand, Duncan was shot in the stomach & was to be given an overdose of morphine by an officer of the Burma Rifles who was subsequently shot dead by the Japanese shortly after. Mentioned in "Beyond the Chindwin" by Bernard Fergusson.
     

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    All very fascinating. I am attaching various snippets (some duplicating info already to hand).


    Apparently the book "Beyond the Chindwin" by Bernard Fergusson is dedicated to Menzies.


    His two sisters served as nurses (one in the British Army - Ellen - and one in the AIF - Jean) and his brother was in the RAAF (Donald Ross Menzies 429983).

    Unfortunately his father passed away a year later in 1944.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Thanks all. Great detective work!

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Geoff,

    Duncan was a leading light in column 5 in 1943, I hope my bio on him does the man justice. I have a fair bit of information on him which came to me via the local historian in Prospect and the archive from St. Peters College.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Hi Geoff,

    Duncan was a leading light in column 5 in 1943, I hope my bio on him does the man justice. I have a fair bit of information on him which came to me via the local historian in Prospect and the archive from St. Peters College.

    Cheers

    Steve

    Hi Steve,

    I did reply to this last night however it seems I missed the enter button working on a few things at once.

    The bio was very good and made interesting reading. I had never heard of Duncan Menzies and I think that is sad.

    As DaveB posts, Duncan gave his life, his two sisters nursed and another brother was in the RAAF which shows the spirit that existed in the family.

    Duncan would have seemingly had a brilliant future ahead of him which was sadly cut short.


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Here is the link to another short conversation based around the service of Duncan, as discussed on another forum.

    British Medals Forum • Login

    Unable to see that unless I register.


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Ofcourse how stupid of me, apologies Geoff.:rolleyes:There was very little extra info on the discussion thread. The AWM had some bits and pieces about him. Without doubt the Prospect Town archive was the place to go for his details.

    It is a shame that Duncan is not more widely known in Australian circles. When I first began to find information about him back in 2007 I found it strange that he seemed to be missing from all the Aussie memorials and commemoration research tools.

    He was a truly well loved man on operation Longcloth by all ranks. If you havn't done so already have a look at Peter Dorans story on my site. He was another top man from column 5, and obviously adored Duncan so much, he named one of his subsequent sons after him.

    Steve
     
  10. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Ofcourse how stupid of me, apologies Geoff.:rolleyes:There was very little extra info on the discussion thread. The AWM had some bits and pieces about him. Without doubt the Prospect Town archive was the place to go for his details.

    It is a shame that Duncan is not more widely known in Australian circles. When I first began to find information about him back in 2007 I found it strange that he seemed to be missing from all the Aussie memorials and commemoration research tools.

    He was a truly well loved man on operation Longcloth by all ranks. If you havn't done so already have a look at Peter Dorans story on my site. He was another top man from column 5, and obviously adored Duncan so much, he named one of his subsequent sons after him.

    Steve

    Hi Steve,

    With what I have in mind hopefully he and the others serving in allied units and listed on the Commemorative roll will have some recognition.

    There are 841 on the Comm Roll with many of them sadly Australian Merchant Navy who are not eligible for the Roll of Honour.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  11. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I have been given permission to post some extra information by a close relative who has possession of these items.

    These items and information show what a wonderful person Duncan must have been.

    Hi Spidge, I was googling and came across your post re Duncan Campbell Menzes and your request for information as to why he was an Australian registered in Britain with the Black Watch. He was my mother's brother and so I have some personal insights. My mother now 91 has had all his letters to the family. His mother was a Scot- from the north coast. The family had and still has strong links to our Scottish heritage. His father had fought in WW1 in France. Having won a Rhodes Scholarship he was studying in Britain and he wrote to his father begging to be allowed to join up. His father reluctantly gave permission. Why the Black Watch. I think that the original flat where the Black Watch was formed was just near the River Tay - just near Menzies Castle near the town of Aberfeldy. The family has a history with the Black Watch.
    [FONT=&quot]An old family friend from Adelaide (Phyllis) who had married and gone to India. Campbell stayed with her and her husband. I have attached 4 letters for you- 2 that Phyllis wrote (one before Campbell's death and one after) and the one that Campbell left with Phyllis to send to his family if he did not return from Burma. We have a lot (all?) of Cambell's letters which we have scanned from his war years. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]


    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I had just googled Duncan and was thrilled with the amount of info I found .. most of it I was aware of but saw that you had the link after I had given it to you ... too much speed reading.

    You are welcome to put the information that I've given you though it is pretty much covered in the various links.

    It was telegrams that were sent between Duncan and his father seeking permission to go to war. My mother (in Bendigo) still has them or could give you the exact wording - or copies of them - she was going to give them to a historical society. The family all called him Campbell as his father was also Duncan. I know that my grandfather- Campbell's father was broken hearted but determinied that his son's life would be remembered. Duncan was just 24 when he was killed, I think that he would be delighted with the links and I am looking forward to showing my mother the website when I come down in July.

    My grandfather's story is actually more amazing. He lost his father and 2 siblings when he was about 5 and his mother remained single, His biggest decision in life was whether to leave school at thirteen to become a bakers boy as the family needed the money, He made his way in the world through various jobs - was shot up in France - Paeschendale - but survived with schrapnel in his spine and a metal plate in his head - was told to live a quite life but went on to father 5 children -made money as an auctioneer and studied law in his 40s - He poured all his dreams into Campbell only to lose him in Burma. It must have been so hard for him to give his son permission to go to war. He knew what war was!

    I'm amazed at my mother's generation , the quiet heroism, the stoic approach to so much loss at such a young age and they all went on to live well. Campbell's photo was always on the mantlepiece in my mothers bedroom - not a war photo but one of him receiving Academic honours.

    Thankyou for all your hard work to recognise these lads. I guess that everyone of them has a rich story behind them.

    [/FONT]
    Was originally a PDF but too large for the forum downloads.

    Duncan Letter To Parents page1.jpg

    Duncan Letter To Parents page2.jpg

    Duncan Letter To Parents page3.jpg
     
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Well done Geoff,

    A wonderful addition to this thread and to Campbell's memory.:poppy:

    Steve
     
  13. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Steve, I was just looking at your site and spotted a small geographic/semantic error in your story of Dr. Faulkner, the Canadian doctor on LONGCLOTH. You have him coming from a town called "Foxboro, near Ontario." Foxboro was (and is) a small town in the province of Ontario, about 20-30 miles from the lake of the same name.
     
  14. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Some further additions of letters to this thread and also his name on the Rangoon Memorial courtesy of Tony (Bucklt).

    Letter from Phyliss in India to Duncan's mother after Duncan's visit.

    Phyliss Letter to Duncan's Mother 3.jpg


    Letter from Phyliss's mother in South Australia to Duncan's mother!

    View attachment 80974


    Letter from Phyliss in India to Duncan's mother after Duncan's death!

    Letter from Phyliss to Duncans Mum after his death6.JPG

    Duncan on the Rangoon Memorial!

    MENZIES D.C. (MC) Rangoon Memorial.jpg
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Steve, I was just looking at your site and spotted a small geographic/semantic error in your story of Dr. Faulkner, the Canadian doctor on LONGCLOTH. You have him coming from a town called "Foxboro, near Ontario." Foxboro was (and is) a small town in the province of Ontario, about 20-30 miles from the lake of the same name.


    Thanks TTH,

    I will correct this on the next update.:)

    Steve
     
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

Share This Page