William David Kenny VC

Name: William David Kenny

Conflict: Waziristan Campaign

Gazetted: September 9, 1920

Service: Indian Army

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William David Kenny VC
William David Kenny Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Saintfield, Co Down, Northern Ireland/February 1, 1899

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Lieutenant

Date of bravery: January 2, 1920

London Gazette citation:

The late Lieutenant William David Kenny, 4/39th Garhwal Rifles, Indian Army.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Kot Kai (Waziristan) on the 2nd January, 1920, when in command of a company holding an advanced covering position, which was repeatedly attacked by the Mahsuds in greatly superior numbers.

For over four hours this officer maintained his position, repulsing three determined attacks, being foremost in the hand-to-hand fighting which took place, and repeatedly engaging the enemy with bomb and bayonet. His gallant leadership undoubtedly saved the situation and kept intact the right flank, on which depended the success of the operation and the safety of the troops in rear.

In the subsequent withdrawal recognising that a diversion was necessary to enable the withdrawal of the company, which was impeded by their wounded, with a handful of his men he turned back and counterattacked the pursuing enemy, and, with the rest of his party, was killed fighting to the last.

This very gallant act of self-sacrifice not only enabled the wounded to be withdrawn, but also averted a situation which must have resulted in considerable loss of life.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death:  Kot Kai, North West Frontier, India (now Pakistan)/January 2, 1920

Grave/memorials: Jandola Cemetery, Pakistan; Delhi Memorial, India; Donaghadee Churchyard, Co Down, Northern Ireland; Donaghadee War Memorial, Co Down, Northern Ireland; Donaghadee Church, Co Down, Northern Ireland; Mount Temple School, Dublin, Ireland

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Spink, London, 1998

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum