11 July 2009

Remembering a true Aussie hero: Edward "Ted" Kenna, VC

[UPDATED from earlier post.]

With the passing early Thursday morning of Victoria Cross receipt Edward "Ted" Kenna, who was aged 90 and a World War II veteran, Australia has only two living recipients of our nation's highest military honour. The Victoria Cross, or VC, is awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy. The two remaining living Aussie VC recipients are Keith Payne who fought in Vietnam and Mark Donaldson who was in the current Afghanistan conflict.

Kenna enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1940 and served in the 23/21st Battalion in Victoria and later in Darwin. On 15 May 1945, a young Private Kenna, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions near Wewak, New Guinea, when he exposed himself to heavy enemy fire, killing a Japanese machine gun crew and making it possible for his company's attack to succeed.

Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, Chief of the Royal Australian Army, said that "Ted was an inspiration to us all. His actions while serving in New Guinea epitomises the characteristics all soldiers strive for - bravery, loyalty and determination." "His loss will be heavily felt by all members of the Army family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ted's family at this time," said Gillespie.

A state funeral for Kenna will be held on Thursday, 16 July at 1100 hours (Australia Eastern Time), at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Corner of Gisborne Street and Cathedral Place, East Melbourne. A second service will take place on Friday, 17 July at 1300 hours (Australia Eastern Time) at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Lonsdale Street, Hamilton, Victoria. Members of the public are welcome to attend but should contact the State of Victoria's Department of Premier and Cabinet, on 03-9651-0820 or 03-9651-5026 from 0900 starting Monday, 13 July and before 1700 on Tuesday, 14 July so that seating arrangements can be organised.

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