Remembrance Driveway

Victoria Cross Citations

Kenna
Photo: Australian War Memorial

Edward Kenna VC

Private Edward KENNA
2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion, A.I.F.
15th May 1945, near Wewak, New Guinea

"In the South West Pacific at Wewak on 15 May 1945 during the attack near the Wirui Mission features, Private Kenna's Company had the task of capturing certain enemy positions. The only position from which observation for supporting fire could be obtained was continuously swept by enemy heavy machine-gun fire and it was not possible to bring Artillery or Mortars into action. Private Kenna's Platoon was ordered forward to deal with the enemy machine-gun post, so that the Company operation could proceed. When the attacking sections came into view of the enemy they were immediately engaged at very close range by heavy automatic fire from a position not previously disclosed. Casualties were suffered and the attackers could not move further forward. Private Kenna endeavoured to put his Bren gun into a position where he could engage the bunker but was unable to do so because of the nature of the ground. On his own initiative and without orders private Kenna stood up in full view of the enemy less than 50 yards away and engaged the bunker, firing his Bren gun from the hip. He remained completely exposed and continued to fire at the enemy until his magazine was exhausted. Still making a target for himself, Private Kenna discarded his Bren gun and called for a rifle. Despite the intense machine gun fire, he seized the rifle and with amazing coolness killed the gunner with his first round. A second automatic opened fire on Private Kenna from a different position and another of the enemy immediately tried to move into position behind the first machine gun, but Private Kenna remained standing and killed him with his next round.

The result of Kenna's magnificent bravery in the face of concentrated fire was that the bunker was captured without further loss. The company attack proceeded to a successful conclusion, ...There is no doubt that the success of the company attack would have been seriously endangered and many casualties sustained, but for Private Kenna's magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety. His action was an outstanding example of the highest degree of bravery."

[London Gazette; 6th September 1945.]

Private KENNA was born at Hamilton, Victoria, on 6th July 1919.