18 March 2012

Victoria Cross: W. D. Kenny


Lieutenant, 4/39th Garhwal Rifles, Indian Army

Born: 1 February 1899, Saintfield, County Down, Ireland
Died: 2 January 1920, Kot Kai, Northwest Frontier, India

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This very gallant act of self-sacrifice not only enabled the wounded to be withdrawn, but also averted a situation which must have resulted in considerable loss of life.

[London Gazette issue 32046 dated 9 Sep 1920, published 7 Sep 1920.]

Note: The Mahsud are a Pashtun tribe in South Waziristan, in western Pakistan.

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