The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX120151) Private Kenneth Bruce Kendall, 2/3rd Battalion, Second Australian Imperial Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.234
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 22 August 2017
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Sharon Bown, the story for this day was on (NX120151) Private Kenneth Bruce Kendall, 2/3rd Battalion, Second Australian Imperial Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

NX120151 Private Kenneth Bruce Kendall, 2/3rd Battalion, Second Australian Imperial Force
Drowned 27 January 1945
Photograph: 066399

Story delivered 22 August 2017

Today we pay tribute to Private Kenneth Kendall.

Kenneth Bruce Kendall was born on 4 October 1922 in North Sydney to Ernest and Gwendoline Kendall.

Before enlisting in the Second Australian Imperial Force on 19 July 1942, Kenneth Kendall had been working at Utly & Coy Dye & Ink Manufacturers in Sussex Street, Sydney.

Following his enlistment and initial training, Kendall was posted to the 2/3rd Battalion.

Part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division, by the time Kendall joined the 2/3rd Battalion it had already served with distinction at Bardia and Tobruk in Libya, as well as Greece and Syria.

In 1942 and early 1943 Kendall was with the 2/3rd at Kokoda and the beachhead battles in Papua. The battalion then spent a long period training throughout 1943 and 1944 in northern Queensland.

In October 1944, the 6th Division was sent to the north coast of New Guinea to destroy the Japanese forces remaining in the Aitape-Wewak area. The 2/3rd Battalion arrived in December.

During late January, torrential rain caused severe flooding to Danmap River. Rising floodwaters washed away bridges, boulders, and trees. On the night of 26 January, Kendall’s machine-gun platoon found itself on a newly formed island in the floodwaters. That night the river rose six meters above its banks and the men clambered to what high ground could be found, and then up in to the treetops.

Platoon commander Lieutenant G.H. Fearnside, a veteran of Tobruk and El Alamein, found this night the most terrifying experience of his life, later recounting:

Some were killed outright in that mad onslaught of frenzied water and green timber; others were swirled beneath the press of timber and drowned; others were knocked unconscious and their bodies snatched and sent racing downstream, turning over and over, like otters.

The following day, the survivors who had made it to the safety of the banks after being washed away gathered together in the battalion area. Seven men of the company failed to report, having drowned in the floodwaters, including Private Kenneth Kendall.

He was 22 years old.

His body was never recovered, and today his name is listed on the Lae Memorial in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.

His name is also listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Kenneth Bruce Kendall, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX120151) Private Kenneth Bruce Kendall, 2/3rd Battalion, Second Australian Imperial Force, Second World War. (video)