PDA

View Full Version : For Valor: Vale Ted Kenna, V.C.



Sonnabend
07-09-2009, 11:06 AM
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/09/2621065.htm?section=australia

Australia's last remaining World War II Victoria Cross recipient, Edward 'Ted' Kenna, has died in a Victorian nursing home. Mr Kenna was awarded the highest award for gallantry in May 1945 for his courage in a battle near Wewak in New Guinea.

The private exposed himself to heavy gunfire when his company was held up by a machine gun post on a ridge. On his own initiative, Private Kenna stood up in clear view of the enemy, less than 50 metres away, and started firing his Bren gun from the hip

The Japanese shot back with such accuracy that bullets passed between between Private Kenna's arms and body. When his magazine was exhausted, he called for a rifle and, despite a continuing hail of bullets, shot dead two more machine gunners with two rounds.

Three weeks later he was shot in the mouth and spent more than a year recovering in hospital. The 90-year-old died in a Geelong nursing home last night after suffering complications following a fall two weeks ago.

He was a father of four, grandfather of 12 and great-grandfather of 15. Mr Kenna's youngest daughter, Marlene Day, was with her father when he died. She says while her father was remembered as a war hero, he did not see himself that way.

"He was very modest really. If you asked him he'd just say 'I was doing my job'," she said.\ "He didn't talk a lot about it. He talked about the fun times, the mateship, but not much about the actual war."

She said her father had been living in a Geelong nursing home with her mother for the past six months and his death had hit his wife of 62 years hard. "Him and mum were the strength of (the family), their partnership was amazing. They met in the war; they had a great love story," Ms Day said.

"The last words he said to me were 'say goodnight to your mother if she's still awake'. He's always thought about her. "We all loved him and we're going to miss him, he's been a huge influence on our lives. It's a big loss."

In a joint statement Acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Minister for Veterans' Affairs Alan Griffin described Mr Kenna's death as "a sad day for Australia." "Private Kenna made an outstanding contribution to the nation and will be remembered for his courage," they said.

Victorian RSL president David McLachlan says Mr Kenna was actively involved with the RSL until his death. "He took very seriously his responsibility for what he was as the representative of so many veterans that served with him during the war, just a wonderful man."

Australia now has only two living Victoria Cross recipients. They are Keith Payne, who won his medal in Vietnam, and Trooper Mark Donaldson, who won his for bravery in Afghanistan last year.

Mr Kenna's family has accepted the Victorian Government's offer of a state funeral.