Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fed: Ted Kenna VC goes on display at war memorial

AAP General News (Australia)
Fed: Ted Kenna VC goes on display at war memorial

By Max Blenkin, Defence Correspondent

CANBERRA, April 9 AAP - Rob Kenna says he doesn't understand what made his father,
Ted, do what he did to receive the Victoria Cross.

But he says his dad was determined not to be beaten under any circumstances - a resolve
he shared with other recipients of the nation's highest medal for bravery in the face
of the enemy.

Ted Kenna died last year, aged 90. His VC and other medals have now gone on display
at the Australian War Memorial.

He won his VC for an act of incandescent courage near Wewak, in Papua New Guinea, on
May 15, 1945, when he was a private in the Australian Army.

Memorial director Steve Gower said Pte Kenna was the last of Australia's 20 World War
II VC recipients.

"It's quite extraordinary to read the citation. It's very inspirational and it's the
very definition of valour," Rob Kenna said.

Pte Kenna's unit was pinned down by a Japanese machine gun. Without orders, he stood
in full view of the enemy less than 50 metres away, firing a Bren gun from the hip.

Return fire passed between his arms and body. With the Bren gun's ammunition expended,
he seized a rifle and shot dead the enemy gunner with his first round. He then killed
a second machine gunner with another shot.

Mr Gower said this was an act of amazing coolness, valour and gallantry.

"We are really honoured here at the Australian War Memorial to have this Victoria Cross
on loan. It's a wonderful gesture by the Kenna family," he said.

Rob Kenna, of Melbourne, said what made his father and other VC winners do what they
did was a question many asked.

"And I certainly haven't got the answer," he said.

"But I know what makes up the man. But studying other VC, there is a common thread.

It is not a one-off action.

"It is a resolve not to be beaten under any circumstances. In Dad's case he was a victim
of the Depression when he had to grow up tough and grow up quick. He lost his father at

Mr Kenna said the family bonds and the mateship was formed at that time.

Throughout his long and happy life, Pte Kenna remained modest about his achievements.

"Why Dad was so humble about his VC and why VC winners are so humble in my opinion
is they know they left a lot of good men behind, a lot of brave men that didn't get recognised
for valour," Mr Kenna said.

"When Dad talked about his action, he talked about the men who saved his life, not
the lives he saved."

The Kenna VC takes the war memorial collection to 60 VCs awarded to Australians and
three British.

It is now on display in the Hall of Valour.

AAP mb/srp


2010 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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