Military Medal : Lance Corporal A Kennedy, 52 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Mouquet Farm
Accession Number REL/01272
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Military Medal (Geo V). Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Alexander Kennedy, born in Glebe, Sydney, was a 20 year old baker working in Brisbane, when he enlisted in the AIF on 27 April 1915. After training he was assigned as a private to the Headquarters of 26 Battalion, with the service number 570.

The battalion sailed for Egypt on 29 June, aboard the troopship HMAT A60 Aenas, and then on to Gallipoli, where they landed on 12 September, undertaking defensive roles on the peninsula. Kennedy suffered what was diagnosed as an epileptic fit on 18 October. After assessment at 16 (British) Casualty Clearing Station, he returned to his unit the following day, but immediately suffered more fits. As a result, he was evacuated to the hospital ship, Soudan, and taken to Malta for treatment. Kennedy returned to duty in Egypt in March 1916 and transferred to D Company, 52 Battalion the following month, as a battalion stretcher bearer.

On 6 June 1916, he sailed with his battalion, aboard the Iverniai, to France for service on the Western Front. On 18 August Kennedy was promoted to lance corporal. In its first action in France, at Mouquet Farm on 3 September, fifty per cent of the men in 52 Battalion became casualties. Kennedy was one of them, receiving gunshot wounds to the shoulder, chest and left thigh, and fractured toes. Shortly before he was wounded he took part in an action in which a German machine gun crew were killed, for which he was subsequently awarded the Military Medal. The recommendation for the award reads : 'Mouquet Farm. On the morning of the 3rd September under Sergeant Fiest did excellent work by bombing German grenadiers who were supporting their Machine Gun. Then helped to bomb remainder of German machine gun crew, thus enabling us to work to right and eventually join up with 49th Battalion. They did good work observing during the night of the 3rd', (joint recommendation with 2861 Lance Corporal Ernest Wicks).

Kennedy was evacuated to a casualty clearing station on 5 September and then on to 18 (British) General Hospital at Camiers. There, his condition fluctuated, improving by 2 October, dangerously ill two weeks later, and then improving on 24 October. It is unclear form his records whether one or both of his legs was amputated, but an amputation took place on 16 November. A decision was made to try to transfer him to England by easy stages and he was moved about 4 miles to the St John's Brigade Hospital near Etaples at the end of November. However, infection set in and he died there of septicemia at 12.15 a.m. on 2 December.

This medal was sent to Kennedy's eldest sister in 1922, who, together with her father, had raised her four siblings after her mother's death in 1901. Although the medal would normally have been sent to Kennedy's closest male relative (his father died in 1918), his younger brothers asked that medals and next of kin plaque be forwarded to their sister in recognition of the role she played in keeping the family together, and the authorities complied with their request.