Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Private Thomas James Bede Kenny.V.C.

Private Thomas James Bede Kenny, 2nd Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Hermies, France.

Bede Kenny was born at Paddington, Sydney, and enlisted in the 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion, 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.

On 9 April 1917, at Hermies, France, 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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