Edward (Ted) KENNA VC

KENNA, Edward

Service Numbers: VX700330, VX102142, V55955
Enlisted: 9 August 1940, Hamilton, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion
Born: Hamilton, Victoria, Australia, 6 July 1919
Home Town: Hamilton, Southern Grampians, Victoria
Schooling: Hamilton, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Plumber
Died: Natural causes, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, 8 July 2009, aged 90 years
Cemetery: Hamilton Lawn Cemetery, Grampians Shire, Victoria, Australia
Memorials: Hamilton Edward 'Ted' Kenna VC Memorial, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

9 Aug 1940: Enlisted Private, SN VX700330, 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion, Hamilton, Victoria
9 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN VX700330, 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion
10 Aug 1940: Involvement SN V55955
10 Aug 1940: Involvement SN VX102142
1 Oct 1944: Embarked Private, SN VX700330, 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion
15 May 1945: Honoured Victoria Cross, Aitape - Wewak, New Guinea, Kenna was awarded the Victoria Cross for 'magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety' in action near the Wirui Mission on 15 May 1945.
5 Jun 1945: Wounded Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion, Aitape - Wewak, New Guinea, At Wewak (face and chest)
22 Feb 1946: Discharged Private, SN VX700330, 2nd/4th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Edward Kenna VC 

by the Australian War Memorial 

Edward (Ted) Kenna was born at Hamilton, Victoria, on 6 July 1919. He completed his education in his home town before becoming a plumber. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1940 and served in the 23/21st Battalion in Victoria and later in the Darwin area. In June 1943 his unit returned to Victoria before being sent to Queensland. At this point the unit was disbanded and its members allotted as reinforcements to other units. Kenna was assigned to the 2/4th Battalion and embarked for New Guinea in October 1944.

On 15 May 1945, Kenna was involved in an action near Wewak, New Guinea, during which he exposed himself to heavy fire, killing a Japanese machine gun crew and making it possible for his company's attack to succeed. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Three weeks later he was shot in the mouth and spent more than a year in hospital before being discharged from the AIF in December 1946. The following year he married Marjorie Rushbury, who had nursed him at Heidleberg Military Hospital.

After his discharge from hospital, Kenna returned to Hamilton. Proud of their Victoria Cross winner, the people of the Hamilton district raised sufficient funds to build Kenna and his wife a house which remains the family home. The Kennas had four children. After the war he worked with the local council and played Australian Rules football for the local team. He has attended many Victoria Cross reunions in London and has led the annual ANZAC Day march in Melbourne. In the 1980s Kenna had his portrait painted by Sir William Dargie and in July 2000 he was featured on a postage stamp as part of an issue commemorating Australia's living Victoria Cross winners. He died in Geelong on 8 July 2009.