Private Thomas James Bede Kenny

Service number 4195
Birth Date 1896-09-29
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Paddington
Death Date 1953-04-15
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Concord
Final Rank Private
Service Australian Imperial Force
Unit 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Biographical information They dared mightily. in 1963
Published in London Gazette in 1917-06-08
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-10-04

Bede Kenny (1896-1953) was born at Paddington, Sydney, and enlisted in August 1915, before his 19th birthday. A tall and powerful man, he became a well known member of his battalion and, later, a familiar figure at Sydney's ANZAC Day ceremonies.

At Hermies, Kenny's platoon had to dig in on the edge of the village and engage any enemy attempting to leave. Several men were pinned down by heavy enemy fire before Kenny leapt up and rushed a post, throwing bombs as he ran. Although the first two missed, Kenny's third bomb landed in the middle of the Germans, killing some, while the rest became prisoners. His action made a significant contribution to the capture of the village.

Not long afterwards Kenny was evacuated to Britain with trench foot, and did not rejoin his battalion until May 1918. He received a light wound the following month. Kenny came home on HMAT Medic with other Victoria Cross recipients to a hero's welcome. In later years he was a traveller for a wine company.



Date of birth 29 September 1896
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 14 September 1915 Posted as a reinforcement to 2 Battalion.
Date of embarkation 20 December 1915
Date of honour or award 09 April 1917 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Hermies, France whilst serving with 2 Battalion, 1 Brigade, 1 Division as a Private
Date promoted 09 April 1917 Appointed Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 12 April 1917
Date promoted 01 August 1918 Appointed Corporal.
Date wounded 26 August 1918 Wounded during fighting in the Merris sector near the town of Mereten.
Date returned to Australia 1918-10
Date of discharge 12 December 1918
Date of death 15 April 1953