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Category: Army History/WW2

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"Thank God for the Salvos" Page 2

The Salvation Army served during WW1 as shown here but their real bond with the Diggers was formed in WW2 in North Africa and more particularly in the jungles of New Guinea.
  • That bond lasts to this day.

This page is NOT an official Salvation Army site, nor is it endorsed by them. It is a personal tribute to their service that stems from a deep and long held respect based on my personal experience and the experience of family members. 

3 Outstanding War-time Salvos


William McKenzie (1869-1947) was a man of principle and courage. 

He was one of many Salvationists who gained prison sentences for conducting street marches in McKenzle's case, a week of incarceration in Charters Towers, Queensland with his comrade, Lieut Morrison.

McKenzie. who served in various appointments including a stint on the War Cry magazine staff is better known as a pioneering chaplain to the 4th Battalion of the Australian Infantry in the First World War and - later - a leader of the Army who gained the high rank of Commissioner.

"Fighting Mac', as he was known to the troops, was awarded the Military Cross for his personal bravery and spirit of sacrificial service.

General (Mrs) Minnie Carpenter recorded that: "Chaplain McKenzie made Christ real to thousands of men. Up and down the fire-swept ridges he followed them, carrying food and water., tramping miles for their mail; by night cutting steps over treacherous patches which the boys must travel in the morning, Praying with them, helping them to live., supporting them as they died. Burying literally hundreds of brave lads fallen in battle, he spent far into the night in his dim dugout, writing to their relatives."

Melbourne, 1918. Chaplain Major William McKenzie, MC, of the  Salvation Army, who was attached to 4th Battalion, AIF, during the 1914-18 war.
Military Cross 1914/15 Star BWM Victory Medal


For 40 years Marjory Scoble retained identity with Bethesda Hospital where she dedicated her time and talent to this ministry, equipping herself in many fields of nursing, tutorials and administration. 

She worthily earned the respect of her fellow nurses and the esteem of the medical profession, and served as Matron of Bethesda for her final 13 years before retiring in 1973.

Her rewarding career began as a teacher at the Oakleigh Central School from 1928 to 1932.

Being called for full-time service as a Salvation Army Officer, she entered the Melbourne Training College in 1932 and upon graduation was appointed to The Salvation Army's Bethesda Hospital to take up nursing.

As a nursing sister in the Australian Army Nursing Service during World War 11, Captain Scoble had the distinction of being one of the few women to have been awarded both the Africa and Pacific Stars, covering her military service for six years in the war zones of the Middle East and New Guinea.


After the war Marjorie Scoble received a Centaur Memorial Scholarship allowing her to obtain Diploma qualifications, and attended the Salvation Army's international College for Officers in London in 1956. In 1981 The Salvation Army Nurses Fellowship recognised Lieut-Colonel Scoble's outstanding contribution by presenting her with the "Centenary Nurse of Distinction" award.

Her devotion to The Salvation Army's Christian ministry, of which nursing was but a part, was evident to all who came in contact with her. She was a capable leader and speaker. In retirement she remained active until frailty overtook her.

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Marjory Scoble was "promoted to glory' in October 1969.


Arthur McIlveen was the second of The Salvation Army's officers to earn the sobriquet "Mac" from Australian troops. He spent his boyhood mining tin and became a Christian in a lonely camp in the Queensland bush.

As a young Salvation Army officer, had also applied to go as a chaplain to the Great War. His boss, Commissioner Hay, had been afraid to appoint him, however, as - knowing McIlveen's willingness to go into danger - Hay feared "he would not see the war out for an hour before being shot down".

One of the more unusual acts of Mac's pre-WWI ministry was to campaign successfully against a women's wrestling match in Broken Hill, NSW, which he saw as an assault against the dignity of womanhood. As a result of his protests the bout was cancelled.

During the Second World War, with the Rats of Tobruk, Brigadier Arthur McIlveen came into his own. Along with several other brave Salvationists - men serving as chaplains and Red Shield representatives - McIlveen defied imminent death to "be Jesus - to the men he served".

The Commanding Officer of the A1F's 29th Battalion wrote to The Salvation Army to commend its work, stating that "your Brigadier McIlveen was probably the most blitzed man in Tobruk; in the Red Shield store or out of doors he did his duty, regardless of danger".

Tobruk, 1941-04-25. Salvation Army and AIF personnel loading Comforts Fund items on to a truck for distribution to the troops; on the ground from left to right are Brigadier Arthur McIlveen (Salvation Army), Major Mawson (Salvation Army), VX8992 Sergeant Lindrea (AIF), NX15271 Lance Corporal Lane (AIF) and Adjutant Jock Geddes (Salvation Army). (negative by F. Hurley.)

The Rats of Tobruk remembered Mac's kindness and compassion and, years later, raised the money to buy a cottage in which Mac lived in retirement.  

The Rats of Queensland wrote to Mac that 'You had so little to give, yet your constant smile, faith in victory, courage and complete disregard of your own comfort at all times, your humility, self-effacement and driving force took you far beyond the call of extraordinary duty." 

  • McIlveen died in 1979.

Seoul, South Korea. 1953. Flight Lieutenant Donald Galbraith, Medical Officer No. 77 Squadron RAAF, and Captain Clifford Hilton of the Salvation Army issue some foodstuff to a couple of children from the orphan children's hospital in Seoul.
Palestine 1942. Two Salvation Army officers enjoying a cup of tea behind their van, which was donated by the community of Murwillumbah in northern NSW. Nui Dat, Vietnam. 1966. Men of the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) stand near the Salvation Army Red Shield Services Hut and jeep. Note the red kangaroo emblem on the front of the vehicle. (Donor J. Bentley)

From the Salvation Army Museum, Bourke St. Melbourne

"Fightin' Mac's Dugout" Gallipoli

The "Stagger Inn" Kokoda

Click to enlarge
  • The "Rabaul" section is a memorial to the band of the 2/22nd Battalion that went down on the Monte Video Maru.
  • The image is a thumbnail. Click it to enlarge it.
Most text on this page is Copyright (C) The Salvation Army 2001 All rights reserved. All requests for the use of this material in any form or by any means must be directed to The Salvation Army, Australia.

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