The Mackie brothers were born at Inverell and educated at Fernhill School. James enlisted at Inverell on 27 January 1916 and was one of the Second Contingent of Kurrajongs. He was a Private with A Company Depot Battalion and later transferred to the Light Trench Mortar Battery. He sailed from Australia for England on HMAT A14 Euripides in September 1916.
After training in England his Battalion moved to France in April 1917. Later that year he attended a one week Musketry School. After leave in England at the beginning of 1918, he returned to his unit and was Killed in Action on 22 April 1918 at Strazeele, France. He has no known grave and is one of many Australians whose names are inscribed on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.
William Henry Mackie, brother of James, enlisted at Toowoomba Qld in September 1915. As a Private with the 12th Reinforcements, 9th Battalion, he sailed from Brisbane on HMAT A50 Itonus in December 1915. He first served at Tel el Kabir in Egypt until sent to France in June 1916. Three months later he was wounded and evacuated to England for treatment. After returning to his unit he was Killed in Action on 19 October 1917. He too has no known grave. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium.
Gunner James Robert Mackie and his brother, Private William Henry Mackie are remembered at Inverell where their names are inscribed on the Fernhill School Honour Roll (at the Pioneer Village) and the Inverell Cenotaph. After the War they were among the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade.