Biography

Birth date: 29 September 1896
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Paddington
Death date: 15 April 1953
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Concord
Final rank: Private
Service number: 4195 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion

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.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 20 December 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1896-09-29
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-09-14 Posted as a reinforcement to 2 Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1915-12-20
Date of honour or award 1917-04-09 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Hermies, France whilst serving with 2 Battalion, 1 Brigade, 1 Division as a Private
Date promoted 1917-04-09 Appointed Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-04-12
Date promoted 1918-08-01 Appointed Corporal.
Date wounded 1918-08-26 Wounded during fighting in the Merris sector near the town of Mereten.
Date returned to Australia 1918-10
Date of discharge 1918-12-12
Date of death 1953-04-15