Herbert Edward Gray Kenny
by Grahame and Rosslyn Thom
Herbert Edward Gray (Bert) Kenny was born on 23 January 1888 at Berwick, a Victorian country town to the east of Melbourne. At this time his father Herbert was described as a Station Manager living at Berwick.
From around 1885 his father was station manager for a short period at Innamincka, and then at Lawn Hills Station, near Burke, NSW. Herbert then moved to Yass, NSW as a station inspector for the PFA Company (probably the Pastoral Finance Association). It is not known if Rose and their children also lived at Burke and Yass.
Herbert was then appointed as station manager at New Koreelah Station, in northern New South Wales. In 1890 Herbert purchased two blocks at New Koreelah and it is likely that Rose and the children then left Berwick for New Koreelah. Herbert and Rose’s two youngest children Roy (1892) and Jack (1895) were born at New Koreelah.
While at New Koreelah the Kenny children were educated at home until 1901 by their governess Miss Mary Carter. Mary then became the first teacher of the nearby Mandle Public School opened in May 1901. Bert was probably first educated at home, then for a short time at the School.
After selling their property at New Koreelah in about 1909 Herbert, Rose, Bert, Roy and Jack, moved to Morpeth for a couple of years, then to Vineyard and Riverstone, NSW. In the 1913 Electoral Roll Bert was listed as a farmer living at Windsor Road, Vineyard. He is listed with the same details for the 1915, 1916 and 1917 Rolls while serving with the 7th Light Horse overseas. None of the family are listed at Vineyard or Riverstone in 1921, indicating the family had moved to Blacktown.
Not long after the Kennys moved to Vineyard, Bert joined the NSW Lancers as his enlistment documents indicate he had served two years in the Lancers. Then Bert enlisted as a volunteer to serve overseas in the AIF, at Liverpool on 6 April 1915 as a private/trooper in the 7th Reinforcement, 7th Australian Light Horse Regiment – regimental number 1103. Also joining the 7th Light Horse was Bert’s good friend Frank White. In many communications by Bert and Frank from overseas, each mentioned the other.
After some training, and attendance at several farewell functions, Bert and Frank embarked on 7 June 1915 at Sydney on HMAT Chilka. They travelled via Melbourne, Fremantle, Columbo and Aden, before reaching Cairo on 18 July. While in Egypt Bert and his brother Jack got together several times. After intense training in camp at Ma’adi near Cairo Bert landed at Gallipoli on 2 October 1915, the day his sick brother Jack sailed to Cairo.
Although a cavalry regiment, it was decided that the Light Horse troopers would not be mounted while serving at Gallipoli. Bert was in the front trenches when he was wounded in the nose by a bullet on 16 October. While it was not a serious wound, the doctor decided Bert should be treated elsewhere and he was transferred to the hospital ship ‘Soudan’ on 16 October and arrived at Malta 24 October 1915.
As reported in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette the 24 October was the 100th anniversary of Jack’s grandfather, Eyre Evans Kenny, landing in Malta with the 80th Regiment for a tour of duty in peace time.
After receiving treatment at St David’s Hospital, Bert embarked for active service on 21 January 1916 on the ship ‘Euripides’ bound for Cairo, where he rejoined his unit at Ma’adi. After Gallipoli the Light Horse regiments were re-horsed for operations in the field. Bert probably trained with the horses at Ma’adi. While in camp it was easy to come down with an illness and Bert was admitted to hospital with mumps on 27 February 1916 at Serapeum near Alexandria; he rejoined his unit on 13 March 1916.
Bert was promoted on 20 April 1916 to Lance Corporal at Romani. After another tour of duty he became sick at Bir Etmaler, near Romani and was admitted to hospital with diphtheria at Port Said on 18 July, and rejoined his unit on 6 September 1916. On 23 September 1916 he was promoted to Corporal at Hill 70, a desert camp seven miles east of Kantara, a port town on the Suez Canal 30 kilometres north of Ismailia. In November 1916 Bert attended an Imperial School of Instruction at Zeitoun near Cairo for signalling instruction.
Not much is known about Bert’s involvement in the war in the Middle East during 1917, but on 25 August 1917 he was appointed temporary Sergeant while at Marakeb, a beach town near Gaza, and then promoted in the field to sergeant on 17 December 1917. The Light Horse had a rest period at Marakeb so its likely that Bert took to the surf with his fellow troopers.
The 7th Light Horse had been actively involved in fighting the Turks in a difficult campaign in the Sinai and Palestine under Lt General Sir Harry Chauvel, being part of the troops that eventually captured Gaza on 17 November, and ending in the capture of Jerusalem in December. They were close to but not involved in the Light Horse charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917.
In January 1918, Bert was sick again with psoriasis, and was transferred to hospital at Port Said on 18 January. He then spent some time at the Port Said Rest Camp from 24 February to 21 March 1918 when he was taken on strength of the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Moascar, near Ismailia on the Suez Canal.
Again little is known of Jack’s role during 1918. He probably took part in raids in the Jordan Valley at Es Salt in early May 1918 and then helped defeat a joint Turkish-German attack on the Jordan bridgehead around Musallabeh on 14 July. The last engagement in the war by the 7th was as part of the force which captured Amman on 25 September 1918. Turkey surrendered on 30 October. Bert was promoted to Temporary Squadron Sergeant Major in the field on 9 November 1918 just days before the end of the War in Europe.
Bert embarked from Kantara on HT ‘Huntscastle’ to Dardanelles on 27 November 1918
He returned on the ‘Norman’ and disembarked at Port Said on 22 January 1919. In a letter to his parents, Bert said that he and his mate Frank White were now at the Dardanelles as their regiment had the honour of garrisoning this territory together with a New Zealand regiment. Their task included looking after the graves of their dead comrades. Bert remarked that he had little thought they would sail in through the Dardanelles when he left there, wounded, 3 years ago.
Bert was promoted to Squadron Sergeant Major in the field on 16 February 1919 at Rafa and had leave at the Port Said Rest Camp from 21 February 1919 to 4 March 1919 when he rejoined the regiment at Rafa.
The 7th Light Horse was employed one last time to assist in putting down the Egyptian revolt of early 1919. On March 8, 1919, the first modern Egyptian revolution broke out after the British authorities had arrested several local leaders and exiled them to Malta. For several weeks until April, demonstrations and strikes across Egypt by students, civil servants, merchants, peasants, workers, religious leaders became such a daily occurrence that normal life was brought to a halt. The uprising in the Egyptian countryside was more violent, involving attacks on British military installations, civilian facilities and personnel.
He embarked on HT ‘Madras’ at Kantara on 27 June 1919, and sailed next day for Sydney arriving on 4 August. Earlier his family had received word in May that Bert was about to return home. Two free first class rail tickets were issued to enable Rose and Evans to attend the “Anzac Buffet “ in Sydney to welcome Bert. Evans was most likely living at Legume, in northern NSW and the pass was issued for travel from Wallangarra, on the Queensland/New South Wales border, to Sydney. Following his reception in Sydney, Bert travelled by train to Riverstone on 5 August, probably with his mum and Evans, to a heroes welcome at the station.
Bert was discharged on 16 December 1919 at Sydney NSW after four years and eight months service. For his army service Bert received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.
We have included below details about Bert from his official army records, some general information about the 7th Light Horse and many newspaper extracts revealing more about Bert’s role in World War I.
After his discharge Bert lived at Riverstone until the family decided to move to Blacktown in about 1920. It was then that Bert travelled north to see his sister Millie in Bowen and met Amy May MacLean who was working in the office of Millie’s father-in-law Frank Sellars. Bert and May married on 7 December 1923 at Bowen and had three children Elizabeth (1925, known as Betty), Lesley (1926) and Colleen (1928).
They lived on a local dairy farm before moving to the farming district of Inveroona where Bert purchased a tomato and mango farm. Bert named the farm “Koreelah” and they remained there for many years. Their daughters married and settled in the district.
The Bowen Independent reported on Tuesday 22 February 1927, on page 2, that :-
A Terrible Experience – Mauled by a cow
Mr Bert Kenny, farmer and dairyman, who resides on the Don River, at what used to be known as Jackson’s had a terrible experience on Friday last. It appears from what we can learn that he went to the assistance of a young calf that had gone into a bog, of which there is plenty after the recent rains, and before he realised it the mother attacked him knocking him down, pawing him and endeavouring to gore him. He grabbed the cow by one horn and the nose, thus stopping her from using her horns and eventually his wife came to the rescue and drove the offender off. Mr Kenny received bad bruises on the back and side and a severe shaking. The cow was a quiet one that he had milked and he never thought for a moment that she would have attacked him, otherwise she would not have got him so easily. For doing a good turn he nearly lost his life, the cow, evidently misunderstanding his intentions.
On Tuesday, 4 November 1941, the Bowen Independent, on page 2, reported that :-
Messrs Fred Cheffins and Bert Kenny are visiting Canberra for the opening of the Australian War Memorial, which takes place on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Mr Kenny was also present when the foundation stone of the memorial was laid. (25 April 1929)
Bert enlisted again during World War II on 29 April 1942. This was some 4 months after Australia declared war against Japan, and the Japanese forces were becoming a threat to Australia. Bert’s role as a Warrant Officer, Class 2, in the 22nd Battalion of the Queensland Volunteer Defence Corps was important as the Japanese Air Force dropped bombs on Townsville to the south, and Darwin to the west, and the army invaded Papua New Guinea. He served for over three years and was discharged on 21 October 1945.
For many years after arriving in Bowen, Bert was a leading member of the Bowen Sub-branch of the then RSSAILA (now the Returned Services League) and his services were recognised by the award of the gold Life Membership badge as reported in the Bowen Independent (date unknown).
In November 1959 The Queensland Branch of the Repatriation Department sought Bert’s service documents from the Department of Defence, as Bert had applied for a repatriation benefit.
In April 1967, writing from Bowen, Bert applied for and received the Anzac Commemorative Medallion, issued by the Commonwealth Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
Bert and May retired to a beach suburb of Bowen and had many happy years there. May died in 1975 and Bert then moved into a Soldier’s Retirement Home for several years before spending his final weeks at his daughter Betty’s home at Home Hill, 100 kilometres north of Bowen. Bert died on 22 August 1979 aged 91 years. A wonderful husband and father, he had a quite nature and a good sense of humour.
Official Army Records held by the Australian War Memorial
Herbert Edward Gray Kenny
Regimental Number 1103
Date of birth 1888
Age on enlistment 27 years 3 months
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Riverstone, NSW
Marital Status Single
Next of kin Mother, Mrs Rose Marion Kenny, Riverstone NSW
Enlistment Date 6 April 1915 at Sydney NSW
Rank on Enlistment Private
Previous service Two years in 7th A L Horse
Unit 7th Light Horse Regiment, 7th Reinforcement
Embarkation details At Sydney per HMAT A51 ‘Chilka’ on 7 June 1915
Service Landed Gallipoli 2 October 1915
Bullet wound in the nose 16 October 1915
On ship “Soudan’ 16 October arrived Malta 24 October
Embarked for active service 21 January 1916 on ship ‘Euripides’
Rejoined unit at Ma’adi 21 January 1916
Admitted to hospital with mumps 27 February 1916 at Serapeum
Rejoined unit 13 March 1916
Promoted L/Cpl 20 April 1916
Admitted to hospital with diphtheria at Port Said 18 July 1916
Rejoined unit 6 September 1916
To be Temp Corporal 23 September 1916
Attended Imperial School of Instruction November 1916 at Zietoun (signalling)
Promoted to Sergeant in the field 17 December 1917
Sick with Psoriasis, to hospital at Port Said 18 January 1918
To Port Said Rest Camp 24 February 1918
Taken on strength 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Moascar 21 March 1918
Place on Supernumerary List of 7th Light Horse on 18 April 1918 in the field
Returned to 7th Light Horse in the field on 6 May 1918
Promoted Temp S S M in the field on 9 November 1918
Embarked from Kantara on HT ‘Huntscastle’ to Dardanelles on 27 November 1918
Disembarked from ‘Norman’ at Port Said on 22 January 1919
Promoted to Squadron Sergeant Major in the field on 16 February 1919
From Rafa to Port Said Rest Camp 21 February 1919
Rejoined regiment at Rafa on 4 March 1919
Embarked on HT ‘Madras’ at Kantara for Australia on 27 June 1919
Rank from Nominal Roll Staff Sergeant Major
Fate Returned to Australia 28 June 1919
Discharged 16 December 1919, Sydney NSW
Physical details on first enlistment
Height 6 foot .75 inches
Weight 158 pounds
Chest measurement 30.5-33.5 inches
Distinctive marks Nil
Bert Kenny was awarded three medals
The 1914-1915 Star for his period on Gallipoli
The British War Medal for being in a theatre of war in World War One
The Victory Medal
7th Light Horse Regiment
The following is a general outline of the role of the Regiment in World War One and has been taken from the Australian War Memorial web site.
The 7th Light Horse Regiment was raised in Sydney in October 1914 from men who had enlisted in New South Wales, and became part of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade. Sailing from Sydney in late December 1914, the regiment disembarked in Egypt on 1 February 1915.
The light horse were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry. The 2nd Light Horse Brigade landed in late May 1915 and was attached to the 1st Australian Division. The 7th Light Horse became responsible for a sector on the far right of the ANZAC line, and played a defensive role until it finally left the peninsula on 20 December 1915.
Back in Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse Brigade became part of the ANZAC Mounted Division and, in April 1916, joined the forces defending the Suez Canal from a Turkish advance across the Sinai Desert. It fought at the battle of Romani on 4 August, at Katia the following day, and was involved in the advance that followed the Turks’ retreat back across the desert.
The regiment spent late 1916 and early 1917 engaged on patrol work until the British advance into Palestine stalled before the Turkish bastion of Gaza. It was involved in the two abortive battles to capture Gaza directly (27 March and 19 April) and then the operation that ultimately led to its fall – the wide outflanking move via Beersheba that began on 31 October.
With the fall of Gaza on 7 November 1917, the Turkish position in southern Palestine collapsed. The 7th was involved in the pursuit that followed and led to the capture of Jerusalem in December. The focus of British operations then moved to the Jordan Valley. In early 1918 the 7th was involved in the Amman (24–27 February) and Es Salt (30 April–4 May) raids, and helped defeat a joint Turkish-German attack launched on the Jordan bridgehead around Musallabeh on 14 July.
The next major British offensive was launched along the coast in September 1918, and the 7th took part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan. It was part of the force that captured Amman on 25 September, which proved to be its last major engagement of the war; Turkey surrendered on 30 October 1918. The 7th Light Horse was employed one last time to assist in putting down the Egyptian revolt of early 1919, and sailed for home on 28 June.
Bert Kenny also enlisted in the Australian Army in World War Two
Service Number Q224033
Date of Enlistment 29 April 1942
Place of Enlistment Bowen, Queensland
Locality on Enlistment Inveroona
Next of Kin Aimee Kenny
Date of Discharge 21 October 1945
Rank Warrant Officer Class 2
Posting at discharge 22 Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (Qld)
Extracts from the book
World War 1 Hawkesbury Heroes
Windsor and Richmond Gazette newspaper extracts reports and letters from the front.
Rod and Wendy Gow and Val Birch
11 June 1915 – At the Royal Hotel Windsor, on Saturday night, there was an enthusiastic display of hearty comradeship, when the members of the Windsor Detachment, C Squadron, 7th Light Horse (NSW Lancers) entertained at dinner three of their number who have volunteered and been accepted for the war, and also gave them mementos of the occasion that will be very useful to them on active service. The guests were, Trooper Herbert Kenny, Riverstone, Trooper W F (Frank) White late of Vineyard and Trooper Cecil Turnbull of Wilberforce. They are going with the Light Horse reinforcements, and were to sail this week. The spread provided by Mr and Mrs Curl was quite in keeping with their excellent reputation in that line. Captain R B Walker resided, and had on his left the Mayor (Ald W H Dean, JP) and the departing soldiers, while Lieut. Milner Bowley, Lieut. R O Holland, Sergeant-Major W Huxley and Farrier Sergeant Joe Greentree sat on his right. Captain Walker, after singing of the National Anthem, announced that apologies had been received from Major McMahon, Captain Brinsley Hall, Captain Hudson, all of the A L H and Captain Forssberg of the Rifle Club, Sergeant Owens an old comrade, and Mr Kenny, father of Trooper Kenny. All expressed best wishes for the welfare of the men who were being honoured that night, when they got to the front. Captain Forssberg expressed the hope that they would sign Kitchener’s pledge and keep it. Proceeding, Captain Walker said they were there to wish Godspeed to the three members of the Windsor Detachment of C Squadron, 7th Australian Horse – the old Hawkesbury Lancers – who were going away to war. Their good-bye would be said with a lot of feeling, and while the Detachment were very proud of the men who had enlisted, he could not help thinking that there were lots of others who should follow the example of the three boys present. There was trouble at the Dardanelles and the wastages in the ranks must be filled up. It was not very creditable to the country to realise that while many brave Australians were giving their lives fighting for the liberties of the Empire, the places of amusement were always filled with crowds of people, many of whom could and should be made to go to the front. As for the boys they were sending off, they had been under his command and he had had opportunities to judge them, and knew them personally. He felt confident they would acquit themselves worthily, do their duty and whatever befell them they would be a credit to the Squadron to which they belonged, and to the Hawkesbury district. Mr Dean in presenting Troopers Kenny, White and Turnbull with a large shut-knife each to put in their belts, said that the officers and men of the Windsor Detachment could not have selected more suitable presents. The knives would be very useful to cut their tucker with and were not intended to sever friendship. He was sure that every time they used them on the far off field of battle they would have kindly thoughts of the Hawkesbury boys who gave them. The chairman had just reminded him that another lad from the Detachment had volunteered and gone to war. This was Trooper Ben Mitchell and he should have their kindest thoughts (Applause).
11 June 1915 – Troopers Kenny and White, who were entertained by the comrades of the Australian Light Horse on Saturday night had to be in camp by 12 o’clock that night. It was doubtful whether they would be able to get to the function, and the boys of the detachment were delighted when they arrived by the evening train. “We must be in the lines by midnight, we can only do it by having half an hour with you, going back by the 8 o’clock train” said Tpr Bert Kenny. “That’s no good to us” said the jovial Capt Farrier Sgt Joe Greentree, “We have you here, and you don’t get away till after the show.” “But there’ll be trouble – we must be in the lines by midnight.” “Leave that to us,” quietly replied the resourceful Farrier Sgt. And the soldier boys were satisfied to do so, feeling that all would be well. Just after the dinner was over the honk of Mr Middleton’s motor car was heard outside the Royal Hotel, and that’s how the boys got back to the lines.
11 June 1915 – Trooper Herbert Kenny, who has left for the front, was very popular with his fellow employees at the Riverstone meat works. Prior to his leaving, they presented him with a wristlet watch, suitably inscribed.
25 June 915 – A White of Coogee, received a couple of letters from his son, Tpr Frank White, who left Sydney with the reinforcements on the 7th instant. A case of measles was discovered on board and the boat was quarantined in Melbourne and no one allowed to go ashore. Frank reports that he and his mate, Tpr Bert Kenny, are well and both send kind regards to Hawkesbury friends.
27 August 1915 – We have received a post card from Tpr W F White, who, with Tpr Bert Kenny, was in England at the time of writing, He states that they are both well.
10 September 1915 – It turns out that Trooper Frank White son of Mr Alfred White JP, late of Mulgrave and now of Coogee, is not in England as recently reported. A post card received from him requested us to forward the ‘Windsor and Richmond Gazette‘ newspaper regularly to an address in England, hence the mistake. We have just received a letter from Trooper White, which shows that Troopers White and Bert Kenny are in Egypt. Frank’s address is No. 1122 Trooper W F White 7th Reinforcements, 7th Regt. 2nd A L Horse Brigade, Ma’adi, Egypt. Following is his letter, or what is left of it :
Ma’adi, Egypt, 20 July, 1915. Just a line to let you know that Bert Kenny and I have arrived safely in Egypt. We are camped at a place called Ma’adi (Mardy) about eight miles from Cairo. We left Sydney on first June and arrived in Melbourne on the 9th, and took 300 horses on board. We left again on the 11th. Crossing the Australian Bight we struck very dirty weather, which knocked the horses about, considerably. Some of them died through an outbreak of influenza. We arrived at Fremantle on the 18th. Here we unshipped the horses, owing to the boat being classed as unfit for carrying horses. We were not sorry to lose them. We left port again on the 19th for Columbo, and had a great trip across, fine weather all the way. The line was crossed on the 29th. Old Father Neptune came on board and the usual operations were carried out. It was great fun. We arrived at Columbo on the 2nd July, it was a very monotonous trip over. We did not see a ship or land until we neared Columbo. I did not go ashore, so I could not see much of the town. It seemed a very pretty place. The tropical plants and trees grow right to the water’s edge. We left Columbo on the 3rd July for Suez, and arrived on the 18th. On our trip across from Columbo we were called into Aden. I believe there had been a bit of a disturbance there, and we were called in, in case we should be wanted. Our stay there was short, only four of five hours. Aden is a very dry, desolate looking place, not a bit of plant life to be seen anywhere. We disembarked at Suez on the 19th and took train to Heliopolis. As the train left Suez, we ran on to the desert with miles of sandy country on both sides. As we passed on we came across some fertile country, worked by Egyptians. We then came to the famous Valley of the Nile. It is a picture. There are miles of cultivation and here and there native villages are dotted about. The houses are mostly built of mud. A lot of the natives live in shelters made of cornstalks. It very seldom rains in these parts. Donkeys and camels are mostly used for getting about with and doing the farm work. It is very funny to see them after being used to horses. We arrived at Heliopolis about 9 pm and camped for the night. Next morning we left for Ma’adi, where we are now camped. Remember me to all the old Windsor friends.
24 September 1915 – In a letter to his mother, from Heliopolis, Pte Jack Kenny, youngest brother of Tpr Bert Kenny, states that the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Battalions all sailed for the Dardanelles on August 26, and have probably been in the trenches some weeks. Jack belongs to the 17th and was in good health and spirits when he wrote and eager for the fray. Tpr Bert Kenny was still in Ma’adi (Egypt) when last heard from with his mate Tpr Frank White.
29 October 1915 – Mr A White JP, visited Windsor on Monday and called on a number of friends. Mr White is still residing at Coogee. He had a letter from his son, Tpr Frank White, saying that he and Tpr Bert Kenny were about to leave England for the front with a mounted brigade probably for the Balkans.
5 November 1915 – We received this week a letter from Tpr H E G (Bert) Kenny, of the 7th Light Horse, AIF. It was written at Ma’adi, Egypt, on September 18. He and Tpr Frank White were well at the time of writing.
12 November 1915 – Las week we reported that Trooper Frank White had been wounded at the front, and now word comes to hand that his mate Trooper H L G (Bert) Kenny is also wounded. His father Mr Herbert Kenny of Riverstone, received a wire from the Defence Department stating, “Regret to report that your son, Trooper H L G Kenny disembarked Malta from hospital ship Soudan, October 24, wounded. Will promptly advise if anything further received.” By a strange coincidence Trooper Bert Kenny was disembarked wounded at Malta on the same day of the month exactly that his grandfather, then Major E E Kenny, 80th Regiment, had disembarked at Malta with his regiment just 100 years ago. Mr Kenny, of Riverstone, has his father’s old regimental orderly book in his possession, and some of the entries are interesting reading. The parents have also received a long and interesting letter from their youngest son Jack, written from Heliopolis, where he was sent, wounded, after six weeks all but a day in the trenches. At the time of writing he was convalescent, and hoped soon to be fit to return to the firing line.
19 November 1915 – Trooper H E G (Bert) Kenny, writes from Ma’adi on September 18. Trooper Kenny was wounded about October 20, and is now in hospital in Malta. We embarked in Sydney on the Chilko, and proceeded to Melbourne, where we loaded 350 horses. Before reaching Fremantle pneumonia broke out among the horses and we lost nine head. Owing to their bad state they were all unloaded and left at Fremantle. It was a relief to get rid of them. Crossing the Bight we had very rough weather, and many of our boys were very sick. While in port at Fremantle I had a run on the tram to Perth. It happened to be Friday night, and as all the shops were open I saw the city at it’s best. We stayed two days at Columbo , and took on coal, water and general cargo. The troops got leave for a day, and I spent a very enjoyable day ashore, and had my first ride in a rickshaw. Columbo is a beautiful place. The public buildings are very fine, and the gardens and parks exceedingly beautiful. I visited the native quarters of Columbo, and had a trip to several native villages. I found them very interesting. At Aden we were not allowed to land, but were a day in the harbour. We proceeded up the Rd Sea and disembarked at Suez. In the Gulf of Aden we had very rough weather for a couple of days. We disembarked on the 19th July, after a six weeks voyage. We entrained at Suez for Cairo, and thence to Ma’adi. Cairo is distant from Suez about 80 miles, and Ma’adi is ten miles from Cairo. The trip across from Suez is very pretty and interesting. Shortly after leaving Suez you get into the irrigation country. It is surprising what they can do with irrigation. I suppose they have one of the finest irrigation schemes in the world. The principal crops are cotton, corn and potatoes. I thought I would have been in the fight-line before this, but the military authorities seem to have something in view, and are holding back the Light Horse reinforcements. In fact they have formed a new regiment out of the details in Ma’adi camp. We are fitted out ready to move off at an hour’s notice. There is a strong prospect of getting away to the front shortly, and also going away mounted. Up to the present all the LH regiments have gone to the front dismounted, so if we get away mounted we will be the first mounted regiment to leave Egypt. We have a particularly fine lot of horses. In fact all the horses I have seen in different camps are of good stamp. I am very pleased to see by the Australian press that recruiting is strong in New South Wales, as well as in the other States. They will all be needed, as the losses over at the Dardanelles are dreadfully heavy. The hospitals in Egypt are full of wounded, and they are arriving from the front every week. The doctors and hospital staff are kept very busy. I was through a hospital last week, and it was a sight never to be forgotten. My brother Jack was camped at Heliopolis, and I saw him several times before he left for the front. Since he left I have heard nothing of him. I have been out to Mena, where the pyramids and Sphinx are, also to the museum and botanical gardens, through several mosques and citadels and found all most interesting. Kind remembrances to the Windsor boys, and wishing the ‘Windsor and Richmond Gazette’ newspaper every success.
14 January 1916 – We received yesterday a short letter from Trooper H E G Kenny, who was at the time of writing (December, 1, 1915) in St David’s Hospital, Malta. Bert makes light of his wound, said he was almost well, and hopes soon to be in the firing line again. In fact he expected to be in the trenches for Christmas. He speaks very highly of the treatment the Australian boys receive in the hospital.
21 January 1916 – Trooper H E G (Bert) Kenny writes a brief letter to the Editor of the Windsor and Richmond Gazette from St. David’s Hospital, Malta, under date December 1, 1915 : I am in hospital here and as time passes very slowly, I will take the opportunity of dropping you a line. I suppose you have heard before the reason I am here. On the morning of 16th October, I received a bullet wound while in the firing line. The wound is nothing serious, but the medical officer at the dressing station thought it advisable to get me away. I embarked on the ship Soudan, and have been at Malta five weeks now. I have quite recovered from the effects of the wound, and will soon be on the road to Gallipoli again. (The Gallipoli evacuation took place after Private Kenny’s letter was written – Editor). It will, I suppose, mean spending Christmas in the trenches. I have received good treatment in the trenches here, and I think all the patients in the different hospitals will say likewise. I suppose there are about 15 military hospitals at Malta. Patients are coming in nearly every day from Gallipoli, and convalescents are returning to the Peninsula every week. The weather is beginning to get very cold at night, but the days are pleasant. There is a great number of wounded and sick Australians here, but the majority of the patients are English, “Tommies”. My comrade, F White of Mulgrave, was well when I left Gallipoli – (Frank has been wounded since – Editor) – also W Dwyer, of Clarendon. We lost a lot of chaps while I was at Gallipoli, and the end is not yet in sight. Kindly remember me to all the Windsor boys and with the compliments of the season.
24 March 1916 – Private Bert Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs Kenny of Marsden Park, is back at the front after being wounded, and in hospital at Malta for some weeks. He joined his comrade, Private Frank White, when he returned to his regiment, and writing to his parents said it was like a home-coming to be with his mates again. But they were not long together, for Private White went down with illness, and is now in hospital in Egypt.
21 July 1916 – Mr Alfred White is paying a visit to his son at Fiji, and left Sydney on Tuesday in the Atua. Mr White’s son at the front, Tpr Frank White, was OK when he last wrote home. He had rejoined his regiment, and is glad to be again with his mate, Tpr Bert Kenny. They are away in the Desert, where the temperature gets up to 125 degrees F.
4 August 1916
We are sorry to hear that Tpr Bert Kenny is in hospital at Alexandria with diphtheria. He and his mate Tpr Frank White, were not long together before being parted again, Last week Tpr Kenny sent to his mother, Mrs Kenny of Riverstone, a parcel containing a pistol, picked up in the Desert, which must have be 200 years old, also the tail of an aeroplane bomb, and Turkish cartridges. Mrs Kenny’s other son, Pte Jack Kenny, has been discharged as unfit for further active service abroad. He is now a clerk and typist at Riverstone Meat Works and improving in health.
11 August 1916 – In the 190th casualty list, appeared the name of Lce-Cpl H E G (Bert) Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs Kenny, of Riverstone. He is among the list of sick soldiers, and his trouble was diphtheria. Bert has been promoted to the rank of Lance-Corporal while on active service.
15 September 1916 – Mrs Kenny, of ‘The Pines’, Riverstone, has had a cable from her son Lance-Cpl Bert Kenny, saying that he had recovered from his attack of diphtheria. Her son Jack, who came back from Gallipoli some time ago is becoming strong and well.
6 October 1916 – We are pleased to learn that Lance-Cpl Bert Kenny has recovered from his attack of diphtheria and rejoined his regiment in Egypt.
22 March 1918 – Tpr H Kenny, son of Mrs H Kenny of Riverstone, is reported sick in hospital.
6 September 1918 – Among the soldiers who have acknowledged parcels from the Riverstone Comforts Society are Lance-Cpl E A Schofield and Pte Herbert Kenny.
13 September 1918 – Tprs Frank White and Bert Kenny, who are in Palestine with the Light Horse, were both well when last mail left.
21 February 1919 – Mrs H Kenny of “The Pines” Riverstone, has received a letter from her son Bert, in which he states that he and his mate, Tpr Frank White, are now at the Dardanelles. The honour of garrisoning this territory was conferred upon the 7th Light Horse and a New Zealand regiment. They will also look after the graves of their dead comrades. Bert remarks that he had little thought they would sail in through the Dardanelles when he left there, wounded, 3 years ago.
2 May 1919 – Mrs H Kenny, of “The Pines” Riverstone, has received word from her son Bert, that he has been promoted to the rank of Squadron Sgt-Major, and has also passed an exam for a commission.
11 July 1919 – We take the following from the Warwick (Queensland) daily newspaper – Miss E Kenny, sister of Mrs A Devine, Killowen, East Warwick, has become the possessor of an interesting souvenir of the Gallipoli campaign which was given to her brother, Sgt -Major H Kenny, while serving in Palestine. The souvenir is a Gallipoli Star, a decoration awarded to Turkish soldiers who distinguished themselves during the campaign on the Peninsula. The Star is in silver set in red enamel, with a crescent over 2 inscriptions in Turkish signs. The Star is attached to a ribbon in red, crossed by 2 white stripes. A photograph of one of these stars was recently given in a Sydney newspaper. The souvenir was presented to Sgt-Major Kenny by a wounded Turk in appreciation to kindness shown him on the battlefield. Sgt-Major Kenny, who is in the 7th Light Horse has been on active service in Egypt and Palestine for over 4 years. Sgt-Major Kenny is a son of Mr and Mrs H Kenny of “The Pines” Riverstone.
1 August 1919 – Mrs H Kenny of “The Pines” Riverstone, has received word that her son Sgt-Major Bert Kenny, arrives by the troopship ‘Madras’ on 4th August, after over four years service in Egypt and Palestine. Another son, Cpl Jack Kenny, hopes to return soon.
8 August 1919 – Among the recently returned soldiers are Ptes Cecil and Stanley Alcorn, who are cousins, Sgt-Major Bert Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs H Kenny of “The Pines” Riverstone, and Pte Allan Locke of Schofields, came home on Monday night and had a great reception. The station was gaily decorated and the Band played the returning heroes home. Ald H R Reid, JP, and C Davis, JP, welcomed the men on behalf of the people of the town and district. Sgt-Major Kenny has been away about four years, and was in much heavy fighting at Gallipoli and in Palestine. The soldiers were taken home in Mr East’s car after the reception.
8 August 1919 – Recently we had a par, concerning a Gallipoli Star sent to his sister in Queensland by Sgt-Major Bert Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs H Kenny, of “The Pines” Riverstone. We were shown one of these Gallipoli Stars the other day by Miss Ida Mullinger, of Church Street Windsor, whose brother Cpl Roy Mullinger obtained from a German prisoner while he was on the hospital ship ‘Karoola’. The star is surmounted by the Turkish crescent, and is a pretty decoration.