Eyre Evans Kenny
Dudley Roy Kenny
Arthor John Charles Kenny
Eyre Evans (Evans) born Belar Station NSW, 2 November 1877
Dudley Roy (Roy) born New Koreelah, NSW, 15 August 1892
Arthur John Charles (Jack) born New Koreelah, NSW, 16 May 1895
Very little is known about their lives, except for Jack’s war service.
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 Mandle Public School opened in May 1901 on a reserve alongside Koreelah Creek and adjoining the south eastern boundary of Herbert’s property Windyhaugh. On page 96 of the book Memories of Killarny & District, a local farmer, George Davidson (born 1899) “attended the school and remembered two Kenny boys, and Villiers Mutch and his twin sister as class mates.” The Kenny boys were probably Roy and Jack.
Evans grew up first on Belar and Ulimambra Stations, near Coonabarabran, NSW, then with his parents in Victoria at Berwick. His father was station manager for a short period at Innamincka, and 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. They moved north in about 1890 to New Koreelah Station where the two younger brothers were born.
In 1898 the western side of Koreelah Creek, opposite New Koreelah homestead, was divided into lots which became available by ballot. Even though not yet 21 years of age, Evans put his name forward and was successful in obtaining lot 97 in the Parish of Acacia of 1716 acres by conditional purchase. This sale was confirmed on 5 October 1899. At the same ballot his father Herbert obtained an allotment immediately adjoining Evans’ southern boundary. Also a small length of his boundary ran along Koreelah Creek immediately to the west of New Koreelah Station. It is possible all these properties were ran as one operation and named Windyhaugh.
Both Herbert and his son sold cattle at the sale yards in Brisbane and Sydney. In 1895 when 17 years of age Evans took a trip to Sydney, leaving Brisbane on 8 February on the ship Burwah. Its likely he attended the Sydney sales. The Sydney Morning Herald of 21 August 1908 reported that 4 bullocks at £7.16.0 and 7 cows at £5.11.0 were sold at the Homebush sale yards on behalf of Evans.
In late 1909 Evans sold Lot 97 to George Mutch. This probably occurred at the same time as Herbert sold his lots and he, Rose, Bert, Roy and Jack moved to Morpeth in the Hunter Valley to live.
Evans remained in the Koreelah district farming. An Eyre E Kenny is listed as holding Lot 25 of 2040 acres and Lot 22 of 450 acres under an Imperial Lease near Old Koreelah Station. This information is on a map of the Parish of Beaury but does not indicate any dates.
The book Memories of Killarney & District on page 96 records that the “Kennys dairied for a while and Evans Kenny opened a butcher’s shop at Koreelah village, which was later renamed Legume.”, and Evans “stayed in the district droving for a living.”
In 1919 when his brother Bert returned from the war, their mother Rose stated Evans was living in Queensland. It is likely that Evans was living at Legume just south of the Queensland border. Rose obtained a first class train ticket for Evans to travel from the border rail station town Wallangarra to Sydney to be with her to welcome home Bert.
After they married in 1910, his sister Millie and her husband Frank lived in Bowen and at some time Evans moved to Bowen. He is listed on the 1925 Commonwealth Electoral Roll as a farmer living at Idalia, Bowen. He was not living at Blacktown when their father died in 1927 as only Roy and Jack are mentioned in the funeral notice. Then in 1930 he is listed as a farmer living at Flushcombe Road, Blacktown. Its likely that Evans, when aged about 50 years, decided to move to Blacktown to live with his mother and brothers after their father died. Evans probably became the mainstay of the Kenny household at Flushcombe Road, especially after their mother died in 1931.
Evans died in the Liverpool Hospital on 5 September 1945, aged 67 years. His occupation was given as munition worker and he was late of Flushcombe Road, Blacktown. Evans was cremated at the Rookwood Crematorium on 6 September, with the service performed by the Rev J Paul Dryland of the Church of England. The informant was his sister Ethel who had come from Warwick to be with him.
As Evans had some cash savings, and not having made a will, his estate was administered by the NSW State Trustees Office. As at 13 November 1945 his assets were made up of :-
Commonwealth Savings Bank account 205.07.9
Commonwealth Treasury Bond 50, due 15 September 1961 50.13.2
Undrawn wages, Ministry of Munitions 4.04.6
Taxation refund 51.01.3
To understand what this amount means, in 1945 the average male adult weekly wage was about 120 shillings or £6.
From this, it would seem that Evans had been working at a local munitions factory. Its likely this was the factory built in 1942 at St Marys. Production commenced in November 1942, with the factory employing up to 4,000 people per day over 3 shifts at its peak. At the end of the war in August 1945, the St. Marys Explosive and Filling Factory had fulfilled its intended role and personnel were stood down as quickly as possible. Perhaps the expectation of being out of work at the age of 67 years, may have caused some stress for Evans as he died of a stroke. We do not know who were the beneficiaries of his estate. It would seem that Jack was not capable of administering Evans’ affairs as he may have already been living at the Graythwaite Home in North Sydney. Its likely that of the three brothers, Evans, the oldest, was probably the last to live at 87 Flushcombe Road.
Family oral history says that Rose was thrown from a buggy when pregnant with Roy in 1892, resulting in him being mentally incapacitated from birth. This meant he did not seek any paid employment during his lifetime. And it would appear that Roy was looked after, firstly by his mother Rose, and in later life by his brothers Evans and Jack.
After turning 21 years of age Roy enrolled for electoral purposes and is listed in the 1915 Roll as a farmer at Vineyard, with his parents and brother Bert. In 1930 Roy is again listed in the Electoral Roll as a farmer at Flushcombe Road, Blacktown, together with his mother and brother Jack (clerk). Again in 1936 Roy is listed as a farmer living at Flushcombe Road with his brothers Jack (clerk) and Evans (farmer).
Roy died at Flushcombe Road, Blacktown, on 4 June 1942, aged 49 years. His occupation was given as invalid pensioner. He was cremated at Rookwood Crematorium on 5 June, with the service performed by the Rev J Paul Dryland of the Church of England. The informant was his brother Jack of 87 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown.
In his teens Jack would have helped his father on their Vineyard property before moving to “The Pines”, at Dromana Road, Riverstone. In August 1914 war broke out and probably about this time Jack got a job as a clerk at the nearby Riverstone Meat Works. Jack served six months in the Citizen Forces before volunteering to enlist in the AIF on 1 March 1915 at Liverpool NSW as a private in D Company, 17th Battalion – regimental number 1222. His brother Bert enlisted a month later in the Light Horse.
After initial training locally, Jack sailed from Sydney on 12 May 1915. He arrived with his regiment in Port Suez in mid-June and went into a training camp near Cairo. While in camp Bert and Jack got together several times. On 16 August he sailed to Gallipoli, landing on Anzac Cove on 20 August. Jack was wounded on 23 August when he “received a slight wound in the left foot from a spent bullet”.
On 28 August 1915 he was listed as a casualty suffering from dysentery, a common health problem on Gallipoli. On 29 August he was transferred to the New Zealand hospital ship Maheno, which remained offshore until sailing on 2 October, the day his brother Bert landed on Gallipoli, to Egypt where on 3 October, Jack was admitted to the No 4 Auxiliary Hospital at Abbassia, on the north east edge of Cairo. Twenty two days later he was admitted to the Helouan convalescent camp in Abbassia. By 3 January 1916 he was well enough to be invalided to Sydney on board the Ulysses leaving from Suez.
Jack arrived home in early February and attended several “Welcome Home” functions arranged by the local Riverstone community. He was discharged from the army on 7 July 1916 and received a disability pension of 15 shillings ($1.50) a fortnight from 8 July. Following a medical assessment his pension was cancelled from 15 August 1917. Sometime after his return he rejoined the office staff at the Meat Works as a clerk.
When Jack re-enlisted in Sydney on 13 April 1918 he had grown two inches since he first enlisted to be 6 foot 3 inches (190.5 cms). His medical report identified a scar on his left ankle from an injury he received on Gallipoli. Jack was placed as a private in G Company, 34th Regiment – regimental number 54455.
As a member of the Re-enforcement Unit 7, Jack embarked at Sydney on the SS ‘Feldmarschall’ on 19 June 1918 and arrived in London on 26 August 1918. He was stationed on the Salisbury Plains performing administrative duties at army camps, first at Hurdcott, then Codford, next at the Fovant, Wiltshire. He returned to Codford just before Christmas 1918.
The camps at Codford and Fovant were staging posts for soldiers from many parts of Britain and Australia who were destined to serve on the Western Front in France and Belgium. After the war, the camps were used as demobilisation centres.
High on green hillsides overlooking the village of Fovant a dozen giant logos – some more than 50 metres across – can be seen carved into the chalk. They are believed to have been carved by soldiers stationed there during World War One. Originally, there were many more badges, but nobody is quite sure how many have since faded away beneath the grass. Today, twelve remain, of which eight have been “adopted” for preservation by the Fovant Badges Society. One is a map of Australia and another the AIF badge.
At Codford there is a large AIF badge carved into the grass on ‘Misery Hill’ still visible today.
In January 1919 Jack had 12 days leave and took the opportunity to visit “relations up in Lincolnshire” (see note below) and spent “most of my time in London exploring all the old buildings”. He probably visited the historic sites of Wiltshire including Stonehenge.
Jack’s last posting was probably at Tidworth, Wiltshire, where on 1 March 1919 he was promoted to Temporary Corporal and then on 1 May 1919 to ER Corporal. On 23 September he boarded the Ascanius to return home, arriving in Melbourne on 4 November, and Riverstone on Monday,10 November. Jack was discharged on 3 December 1919 in Sydney. He was the last soldier from Riverstone to return home, having served for one day short of three years over two periods of service.
For his army service Jack received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.
We have included below details about Jack from his official army records, some general information about the 17th and 34th Regiments and many newspaper extracts revealing more about Jack’s role in World War I.
After the war Jack probably returned to working as a clerk at the Meat Works. These Works were established in 1878 on 2,300 acres (930 hectares). A beef-house was erected, where the killing took place at night, due to the lack of refrigeration facilities. In 1879 a mutton house was completed, where 30 butchers were employed. An average of 2,000 sheep and 100 bullocks were processed daily, according to a newspaper report in 1893. The works were acquired by W. Angliss in 1919 and the operation was expanded with the construction of freezers, a cannery and a large area to treat sheepskins. Dairies were developed and a margarine department introduced. In 1934 the Vestey group of companies took over the works. During World War II frozen and canned meats and dehydrated eggs were produced for the use of servicemen overseas. The Meatworks closed in 1992.
In 1924 Jack applied for Letters Patent for an invention called “Improved match box and ticket keeper”. It took several exchanges of letters between Jack and the Patent Office in Melbourne, before his application was in the required form. Jack’s invention was a metal container that fitted around a matchbox, which could also hold train tickets, while still having easy access to the matches. It seems that processing Jack’s application took several years, including advertising in the Commonwealth Gazette, as the Letters Patent certificate was not issued until 23 October 1931. It is not known if Jack proceeded to have his invention manufactured.
In the 1936 Electoral Roll he is listed as a clerk.
It would seem that Jack ceased work due to health problems. He probably received a repatriation benefit for in October 1944 the army had referred Jack’s service documents to the Repatriation Commission. It would seem he spent some time in the Arncliffe Hospital and was then admitted to the Graythwaite Home at North Sydney.
Jack died on 19 January 1946 at the Royal North Shore Hospital, aged 50 years. His occupation was given as clerk, invalid pensioner, and he was late of Graythwaite Red Cross Home, at North Sydney. Jack was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium on 21 January, with the service performed by the Rev R H Simmons of the Church of England. The informant was the undertaker.
Not long after Jack died E E Larcombe, the Kenny family’s friend, wrote from St John’s Park, a Sydney suburb, the following letter on 23 January 1946 to Bert Kenny in Bowen.
Dear Mr Kenny
Would you kindly convey my deepest sympathy to Mrs Sellers and please accept the same for yourself & family for the loss of your dear brother Jack. I feel the loss also of a dear friend who always had a cheery word to say whenever I went to see him. I was glad he had been moved to the North Shore Hospital as that is where he wanted to go for special treatment as they seemed to do him so much good before.
At the last however it came as a great shock to me that he had passed away for I did not know he had taken a change for the worse and knew just in time to attend the funeral.
The Casket was covered with a large Union Jack denoting that he was a soldier. His friends Mrs Ridley, Mrs Anstey, the Matron from Arncliffe Hospital, Mr Hobbs. a soldier friend from Graythwaite who brought a wreath and his friend from Riverstone were there also.
The funeral went to the Northern Suburbs Crematorium near Lane Cove River which has natural beauty surroundings.
I feel I have lost a very dear friend but I all feel it is all for the best, as I could not wish his back to suffer as he did. With kind remembrance to self & family.
Yours very sincerely
E E Larcombe
Official Army Records held by the Australian War Memorial
Jack Arthur Charles Kenny
First period of service
Regiment Number 1222
Address Marsden Park, Riverstone, NSW
Marital Status Single
Religion Roman Catholic
Next of Kin Rose M Kenny, Marsden Park, Riverstone, NSW
Previous service 6 months Citizen Forces
Age at embarkation 19 years 9 months
Enlistment Date 1 March 1915 at Liverpool NSW
Rank on Enlistment Private
Unit name D Company, 17th Battalion
Embarkation details Embarked at Sydney 12 May 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll Private
Unit from Nominal Roll 17th Battalion
Service Proceeded to Gallipoli 16 August 1915
Dysentery on 28 August 1915
Admitted to hospital Via ship ‘Maheno’ 30 September 1915
Fate Returned to Australia on 3 January 1916 per Ulysses
Discharged Unfit for service, Sydney 7 July 1916
Granted a pension of 15 shillings per fortnight from 8 July 1916
Physical details on first enlistment
Height 6 foot 1 inches
Weight 136 pounds
Chest measurement 31-33.5 inches
Distinctive marks Nil
Second period of service
Regiment Number 54455
Address Riverstone NSW
Marital Status Single
Religion Roman Catholic
Next of Kin Father, H Kenny, The Vineyard, Riverstone, NSW
Age on enlistment 22 years 11 months
Enlistment Date 3 May 1918 at Sydney, NSW
Rank on Enlistment Private
Unit name NSW Reinforcement 7
Embarkation details Unit embarked at Sydney per SS ‘Feldmarschall’ 19 June 1918 arrived London 26 August 1918
Rank from Nominal Roll Private
Unit from Nominal Roll 34th Battalion
Service London, Hurdcott, Fovant, Kilworth, all in England
Rank Promoted to Lance Corporal 1 March 1919
Promoted ER/Corporal 1 May 1919
Fate Returned to Australia on 23 September 1919 per Ascanius
Discharged Sydney 3 December 1919
Physical details on second enlistment
Height 6 foot 3 inches
Weight 146 pounds
Chest measurement 33-36 inches
Distinctive marks Scar on left foot
Jack 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
The following is a general outline of the role of the Battalion in World War One and has been taken from the Australian War Memorial web site.
The 17th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. It left Australia in early May, trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, and on 20 August landed at ANZAC Cove.
At Gallipoli the Battalion participated in the last action of the August Offensive – the attack on Hill 60 – before settling into defensive routine in the trenches. For a short period part of the 17th garrisoned Pope’s Hill, but for most of its time on the peninsular the Battalion was responsible for the defence of Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the entire ANZAC front. The Battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915.
After further training in Egypt, the 17th Battalion proceeded to France. Landing there on 22 March 1916, it took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 25 July and 5 August. The Battalion returned to the Pozières trenches for a second time, although in a reserve role, between 18 and 28 August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 17th Battalion was spared from having to mount an attack across the quagmire the Somme battlefield had become, but did have to continue manning the front through a very bleak winter.
In 1917 the 17th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter-stroke by a German force, almost four times as strong, at Lagincourt. The battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3–4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20–22 September) and Poelcappelle (9–10 October) in Belgium.
After another winter of trench duty, 17th Battalion helped to thwart the German Spring Offensive of 1918. With this last desperate offensive defeated, the Allied armies turned to the offensive and the 17th participated in the battles that pushed the German Army ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion’s last battle. It was training out of the line when the armistice was declared in November 1918, and was disbanded in April 1919.
The following is a general outline of the role of the Battalion in World War One and has been taken from the Australian War Memorial web site.
The 34th Battalion was formed in January 1916 at a camp established at the Maitland showground in New South Wales. It was planned that the bulk of the battalion’s recruits would be drawn from the Maitland area and thus it was dubbed “Maitland’s Own”. The first recruits for the 34th, however, hailed from the far north-west of the state and arrived at Maitland after joining a recruiting march that began at Walgett. These men were known as the “Wallabies”.
The 34th became part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. It left Sydney, bound for the United Kingdom in May 1916. Arriving there in late June, the battalion spent the next five months training. It crossed to France on 22 November, and moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on 27 November, just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916–17.
The 34th Battalion had to wait until the emphasis of British and Dominion operations switched to the Ypres Sector of Belgium in mid-1917 to take part in its first major battle; this was the battle of Messines, launched on 7 June. After several stints in the trenches, and a period of rest and training, the battalion entered battle again on 12 October around Passchendaele. The battlefield, though, had been deluged with rain, and thick mud tugged at the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, and over 50 per cent casualties for the 34th.
For the next five months the 34th alternated been periods of rest, training, labouring, and service in the line. When the German Army launched its last great offensive in the spring of 1918, the battalion was part of the force deployed to defend the approach to Amiens around Villers-Bretonneux. It took part in a counter-attack at Hangard Wood on 30 March, and helped to defeat a major drive on Villers- Bretonneux on 4 April.
Later in 1918, the 34th also played a role in the Allies’ own offensive. It fought at the battle of Amiens on 8 August, during the rapid advance that followed, and in the battle of St Quentin Canal – the operation that breached the Hindenburg Line at the end of September, thus sealing Germany’s defeat. The 34th Battalion disbanded in May 1919.
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
21 May 1915 – A J Kenny, who has been accepted for the front, was entertained by the members of the Riverstone G.U.O.O.F. and was made the recipient of a handsome present at the meeting of the Lodge.
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 – Mrs Kenny, of Vineyard, received a cable from her son, Pte Jack Kenny, who is attached to the 19th Battalion at the Dardanelles, stating he had been wounded and that a letter would follow. Mrs Kenny was somewhat relieved when she knew her youngest son, though wounded, was able to write. She has heard nothing of him for some time and knowing that his battalion has been in one of the recent engagements, is naturally very anxious about him.
28 January 1916 – Mrs Kenny, of Riverstone, has had a cable from her son, Private Jack Kenny, that he is being invalided home, and is expected to arrive during the first week in February, in the troopship Ulysses. He has had a very severe illness since leaving Gallipoli. Trooper Bert Kenny, another son, has also been very ill after convalescing from his wound, and has returned to hospital.
11 February 1916 – Private Jack Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs Kenny, of Marsden Park, who was wounded at Gallipoli some time ago, arrived at Riverstone and had a great reception.
Pages 59 – 60
11 February 1916 – A welcome home was accorded Trooper Jack Kenny on arrival of the Riverstone train. There was a large gathering to honor the returned hero, and when he was escorted to W Mason’s sociable, which had been decorated with flags, ringing cheers were given him. The school children, under Mr Anstey, sang ‘Australia Will be There’, after which Trooper Kenny and his parents were driven to their home at Marsden Park.
3 March 1916 – At our request, Private J.A.C. (Jack) Kenny, youngest son of Mr and Mrs H. Kenny of Marsden Park, has put to paper for the “Windsor and Richmond Gazette” newspaper an account of his experiences during the nine months that he was away. He was sent away from Anzac owing to illness a couple of months before the evacuation, and after being in hospital near Cairo for some weeks, was sent home to recuperate. Jack says he is feeling wonderfully improved, and will be ready and willing to return to the front as soon as the medical officers will let him go. His letter is chatty and entertaining, and we are sure it will be read with interest by all who are watching the doings of our boys at the front : We left Sydney early in May of last year, making a straight run to Colombo, where we had a route march, and were much impressed by the wealthy and prosperous appearance of this port. We arrived at Port Suez about the middle of June. We disembarked there, and were taken by rail to Heliopolis, which is one of the suburbs of Cairo. After a couple of months hard training there, we left on the 15th August for Alexandria, sailing the following day for Gallipoli. It was only on the day previous that the British troopship “Royal Prince Edward”, was torpedoed a few hundred miles out from Alexandria, and we saw the hospital ship with some of the survivors arrive in port. Every precaution was taken to ensure a safe voyage. We had a strong escort, but I think all were pleased when we reached Lemnos Island on the 18th August. We had been sleeping in life belts on deck beside our respective lifeboats. We transhipped into smaller transports on the 19th, and at midnight were anchored off Anzac. During the short run from Lemnos to Anzac we were issued with the regulation [iron] ration (48 hours supply] ammunition and water. I think our full equipment weighed nearly 100 pounds. Landing the troops took time, and it was after daylight when my turn came to get into one of the small boats which ran us into the shore. We were noticed by the Turks, with the result that one of their batteries, of which the well known gun “Beachy Bill” was a member, sent a few shrapnel shells over, but, except to add to the nervousness, which we already felt, and wounding a few men, they did practically no damage. It did not take us long to scramble ashore, and once our feet were on firm ground we felt more confident. Few of us will ever forget how weird everything seemed as we neared Anzac. The great flashes of the fleet’s guns and the terrible explosion on the side of Achi Baba and Gaba Tepe as we passed, and the tremendous amount of rifle fire and the popping of the grenades sounded very weird and horrible. When ashore, as soon as we were allowed to rest, we went sightseeing through the different parts of the firing-line above the beach at Anzac. I think all were very disappointed at not being able to see the enemy, though at times we were only 50 yards from their trenches. I saw a good many of their dead lying on the “No man’s land” in front of the trenches occupied by the 8th Light Horse, the result of an attack made a week before. During our first fortnight in Gallipoli we supported and relieved units at various points of the line to the east of Suvla Bay. It was pleasing to realise that our arrival enabled those of the first division to get a much needed rest from the firing-line. It was in the early morning of the 23rd August at about 2 o’clock, that I received a slight wound in the left foot from a spent bullet. After a day’s rest I was able to go about my duties again. At the beginning of September we took over Quinn’s Post from the Queenslanders. Here we were fairly comfortable under Major C R A Pye, of Windsor, who was much liked by everyone. The trenches on Quinn’s Post were very close, the widest part being 20 yards, and for a good part not more than 27 feet separated us from the Turks. Needless to say one hardly dared to show even a finger above the parapet, or he would lose it. All firing was done through an aperture in armour plates. and one could only fire at the loopholes opposite in the hope of catching a Turk looking out, and we never knew whether we hit anyone or not. Where trenches were so close hand grenades are largely used by both sides, and as one never knows where the grenades are gong to land, we had to be continually on the alert., as there is not much time to get out of the way when one does succeed in getting into our trench. It is customary in such cases, if time permits, to throw a blanket or coat over the grenade, and lay flat on the ground, trusting to luck, but the explosion causes a great rush of air into the lungs of those around, frequently bringing on haemorrhage of the lungs. While in Gallipoli I saw several charges, though I took part in none. I was much surprised at the work of the fleet. The accurate marksmanship of the gunners is wonderful, almost unnatural. On several occasions there were bombardments of the Turkish positions in front of us, and during these bouts the noise is tremendous. The vibrations of the earth greatly resemble a violent earth tremor. Throughout the latter part of September the fleet and shore batteries kept up an incessant bombardment of Achi Baba. To us, as spectators, it seemed marvellous that the very hill itself did not crumble away – yet the Turkish guns replied as gaily as ever. At night the whole of the slopes of this hill were lit up with bursting shells, which were of different calibre, up to the 15 inch shell. Aeroplanes were largely used by both sides. On one occasion a Taube dropped a bomb rather close to us, but it burst without doing any damage or injuring anyone. Some of the aeroplanes are fitted with machine guns. It sounds peculiar to hear these rattling among the clouds. In modern warfare danger not only lies on all sides, but above and below. In many places the trenches were being undermined the whole time, and one never knows at what moment the whole trench formation, with men and everything else, will go upwards in pieces. While in Gallipoli I saw Sgt. Eric Pye of the A.M.C., and Privates Walker and Bell, all of Windsor. They were in fairly good health at the time of my leaving (Oct. 2nd) but a good deal battle-worn. Owing to illness, I was obliged to leave Anzac on 2nd October and did not return before the evacuation. Trooper Frank White and my brother Bert, landed a few hours before I left, and though they were resting only a few hundred yards from the field hospital, I did not know they were on the Peninsula. Trooper White was observing through a periscope a few days later, when a bullet struck the upper mirror, and he was wounded in the left shoulder and wrist by flying fragments of glass, but he did not leave for some weeks, when he had a very severe attack of influenza. My brother was struck in the nose by a bullet about the 16th of October, and was sent to the hospital at Malta two days later. He was hit on the chin by flying splinters of a bullet, but this was not a serious wound. He was fortunate in getting off so lightly. Trooper White, who was with me in the hospital at – – – – – – near Cairo, a few weeks before Christmas, wished to be remembered to his old friends, and looks forward to the day when he is free to return. Though the evacuation came as a surprise to all, we were more or less pleased that Gallipoli was a thing of the past. We could have crossed the Peninsula, no doubt, but it would not have been worth the sacrifice of lives that such an operation would have entailed. But there is one thing certain – the Turks could not have driven us into the sea by force, as they often boasted they would do. The whole campaign in Gallipoli seems to have been a case of the irresistible having met the immovable. It was no use sitting behind a brick wall and barking at the enemy. It is only a matter of time, money and men, until we are able to crush Germany. But we need thousands of men yet – in fact, I think it will run into millions, but England and the colonies will get the men and the money too! The work of the Red Cross Society is wonderful, and the benefit which every man is able to derive from this society in the hospitals in Egypt reflects the greatest credit on those who administer it, and those who support it. My return voyage on the “Ulysses” in charge of Lieut. Col. J.J. Paine, of Windsor, was most enjoyable. The sea was very calm, and we were well treated on the boat and at ports of call.
24 March 1916
Five returned soldiers were given an enthusiastic welcome in Windsor on Saturday night. The procession which formed up at the railway station after the arrival of the 7:15 pm train, and marched along George Street, must have been half a mile long, and from a spectacular standpoint was the finest thing Windsor has seen for a long time. The torches added effect to the scene, and viewed from the hill at the “Gazette” office, the spectacle was an inspiring one. On the arrival of the train the Windsor Municipal Band played “Home Sweet Home”. An immense crowd had assembled, and it was feared that the set order of things would go by the board, and the procession would be a higgeldy-piggeldy affair. But it was not so. Everybody seemed to drop into their right places without any confusion, and the procession formed up and moved off without a hitch. The Hon. Secretary, Bruce Ward, had arranged the order of affairs, and A.H. Wilcher, mounted on a grey charger, acted as marshal. R B Walker gave very valuable help in putting the different bodies into their places. Mr Wilcher and Mr Walker did the thing like clock-work, and the procession moved off smoothly and with precision to the martial strains of the band. The Lancers, mounted and wearing their red-faced uniforms and plumes, followed the band. Then came the returned soldiers in Messrs. Ward’s and Pye’s cars, and behind them were the Senior Cadets, infantry unit, the Rifle Club members, two decorated lorries containing the members of the Red Cross
Society in nurse’s uniform, next came Mr Anschau’s car, with the relatives of the returned soldiers (Mrs Fullerton, Mr Pye and Mrs Amos Turnbull) the members of the Manchester Unity, IOOF with a “Welcome Home” banner, the members of the GUOOF with their beautiful banner, a number of motorcars, other vehicles and the general public. The lorries were kindly lent by Messrs Dunn Bros and Fred Pye. The former was decorated by the Misses Pickup and Miss Scholer, and the latter by the Misses Nevile and other members of the Red Cross. The torches were made by Messrs Rol Stubbs and H. Buckton, while Fred Stubbs made the “Welcome Home” banner. At the halting place opposite the School of Arts there was a crowd of upwards of 2,000 people, among them many visitors from Riverstone, Wilberforce, Pitt Town, Richmond and other places. The returned soldiers were Major (Dr) Fullerton, returned through illness, Major (Dr) Cecil Pye (illness), Private Cecil Turnbull, (wounded in the right hand), Private Jack Kenny (wounded), and Private Thomas Jenkins (illness). The returned soldiers mounted Fred Pye’s lorry, drawn up in front of the School of Arts. Others on the “stage” were the Mayor (Ald R H. Judd), Lieut Colonel J.J. Paine, Captain C J E. Forssberg and Rev Jas. Steele. On behalf of the citizens, the mayor then offered a hearty welcome to the returned soldiers. They all ought to be proud of the large gathering that had assembled to do honor to the brave men who had gone to fight the enemy, at the risk of sacrificing their lives, and to endure hardships greater than anyone present could imagine – all for the benefit and safety of those who remained at home. He had the assurance of two of the men that they intended going back to the front as soon as they were fit. (Cheers) For atrocities and degradation this war stood out against any war known in the history of the world, but he was hopeful from the news that was coming through now, that it would come to an end inside 12 months. He hoped that the example of the officers and men on that platform would stimulate recruiting and that the Windsor district would send many more soldiers to fight for their homes and their Empire. (Cheers). Lieut – Colonel Paine, (who recently returned from Egypt having gone in command of nearly 3000 troops and returned in command of a hospital ship) was called upon to welcome the soldiers. On behalf of the soldiery portion of the community, with which he had been connected for 25 years, he joined heartily in extending the hand of welcome to his comrades who had come back from the front. The district ought to be proud of them. By their appearances that night some people might think they ought to be back at the front. But if they could only see the men as they came out of the trenches, they would realise what it meant and what the soldiers had to suffer. While extending a hearty welcome home to the comrades who had done good work at the war, it was right that they should honor the memory of those brave men from this district who had given their lives for their country, and extend their sympathy to the relatives who had been bereaved. They should be proud of the men who had laid down their lives, and their memories should be honored always. (Cheers) Regarding the probable duration of the war, some people would differ from the opinion expressed by the mayor that it would be over in 12 months. There was no doubt that the Allies were up against a tough proposition, and the war was not won yet. Therefore, the example set by his comrades on the platform should stimulate the young men of the district who had not already enlisted to do their duty. Those returned soldiers had set a splendid example, and he hoped that everyone of them would be able to get back to the front as soon as possible, for every able-bodied man was needed. He hoped that while here they would have a happy re-union with their loved ones, and in the best of health and strength return and continue the part that they had been so nobly doing. (Cheers). Captain Forssberg on behalf of the Windsor Rifle Club, and as one who had taken an active part in seeing that the club did it’s little bit towards giving a fitting send-off to the men who had gone to the front, said he was there to congratulate the soldiers on their achievements and on their safe return. It would be a pleasure to him, and to everyone in that vast assembly, if they were back for good. (Cheers) He did not think the war would be over in 12 months – if it was it would be a great victory for the Allies. (Cheers) Some people were taking the war too lightly, and they required reminding again and again that it was a very serious matter. The tactics resorted to by Germany was one of the most repulsive features of the war. Turkey and Bulgaria ought to have been on our side – on the side of right – but German influence got to work and the palms of the heads of State were greased with German money. The people of Turkey and Bulgaria were with the Allies, but the heads of the people were bought over. He deprecated the fact that the seriousness of the war was not realised by very many people in this district. The Rifle Club tried hard to push recruiting along, yet after all their efforts they could not get 20 men to turn up to drill – and their fellow men were laying down their lives in thousands for those who were shirking. (Cheers) On the lorry that night were men who had followed in the footsteps of their forefathers. They had suffered, but they had the proud satisfaction of having done their duty. He mentioned the bravery of young Wood, son of James Wood, and nephew of G D Wood of Windsor, and said everybody ought to be proud of that young man’s deeds. He hoped that the returned soldiers who were wounded or ill would soon be well, and said that they all ought to feel proud of them. (Cheers) Rev Jas Steele said that as the only clergyman present, he extended a hearty welcome to the returned soldiers on behalf of the churches. That afternoon, on the Presbyterian tennis court they had farewelled three soldiers who were going to take the place of some of those they were welcoming that night. (Cheers) On behalf of the local churches he welcomed them home and would say “We are glad you have done your duty”. Major Fullerton spoke at some length. He said he was delighted to see them all again, for he had spent some happy years in Windsor. He referred to the awful losses of the war, and said Australians did not seem to realise that there was a great war on, for they appeared to be enjoying life the same as ever. If they could only realise the results of the Zeppelin raids over England, the atrocious submarine tragedies and the misery brought about by the war, the people of Australia would realise that every man that could use a gun should get into khaki and do his bit. (Cheers) He pointed out the need there was at the front for every man capable of bearing arms. Australians so far has not had a fair deal. They were put on Gallipoli and were unable to do but little – and yet that little might count for a lot in the end. (Cheers) The people here should wake up to the fact that if England and the Allies lost this war, Australia was lost. Just imagine this country Germanised and trodden down like Belgium. Germany was a ferocious and an avaricious nation, and he believed there were worse thing to happen than had happened yet. Germany had a knowledge of warfare unequalled by any other people in the world. England had never before tackled a foe in such a state of preparedness or with such splendid fighting weapons. “And so” said Major Fullerton, “I warn you young chaps that it is better for you to go and save your country than let it be lost”. Unfortunately he was not in his first youth, and suffered rather severely. He would not advise chaps of his age to go, as they cracked up so readily. Their greatest enemy was their teeth, and unless a man who was up in years could chew hard biscuits, he was better at home. But vigourous young chaps who could chew hard biscuits should go. He praised the bravery and fine marksmanship of the Turks who had been supplied with wonderful weapons and abundant ammunition by the Germans, and they gave the Australians a hot a time as they wanted. He also paid tribute to the Australian soldiers. Just now they were holding Egypt, and everybody knew how important that was. He referred sympathetically to the boys left behind on Gallipoli and hoped that that bit of sacred earth would be taken from the Turks, and that before long the British would take Constantinople. (Cheers) Major Cecil Pye, as a Windsor native, had a great reception. He returned thanks for the splendid welcome back. It was very nice to feel that one was remembered. He had only been sent home to be returned to the front with a new unit, and would be going back shortly. (Cheers). Private Jack Kenny (Riverstone) also had a great reception. He thanked the people of Windsor for their kind welcome and the complimentary remarks concerning his comrades and himself. He hoped it would not be long before he was able to go back to the front. He left his brother over there. (Cheers). Private Cecil Turnbull (Wilberforce) was also loudly cheered, and briefly returned thanks. Rev Jas Steele, holding up Private Turnbull’s wounded hand said, “This man has been wounded – he deserves a good cheer”. Rousing cheers were given. Private Thomas Jenkins (Lower Portland) said he would rather be fighting than speaking, and thanked the people for their grand welcome. He was loudly cheered. The crowd sang “For they are jolly good fellows”.
5 May 1916 – There was a large attendance at the Oddfellows’ Hall, Riverstone, last week when 6 soldiers, Ptes J Conway, J Wiggins, C Voysey, Eric Robbins, John Jones, and Gnr Witts were accorded a hearty send off, and Pte Jack Kenny was given a cordial welcome home, after doing his bit at Gallipoli. Five of the departing boys received a wristlet watch each, while the sixth, Pte Robbins, was given a shaving outfit, and Pte Kenny a gold medal to commemorate his services to the Empire. H A Kirwan occupied the chair, and the presentations were made by Armoury Staff Sergeant F A Hayward.
19 May 1916 – The send-off to Ptes C Voysey, J Conway, J Wiggins, J Jones, E Robbins, and Gnr W Witts, and welcome home to Pte Jack Kenny a returned soldier was a great success in the Oddfellows’ Hall Riverstone, on the 22nd ultimo. H Kirwan presided and Armourer Staff Sgt F A Hayward made the presentations. Ptes Voysey, Conway, Wiggins, Jones and Gnr Witts were presented with wristlet watches, while Pte Robbins received a shaving outfit, and Pte Kenny a gold medal. A good programme of dancing and musical items was gone through. Items were rendered by E Griffin, Miss J Freeman, Miss L Seaborne, S Pettit. Amongst those who appeared in character were : Miss D Turnbull “Peace”, Master T Crisp “Jack Tar”, Miss H Stanford “Britannia”, Miss L Bray “France and England”, Miss Voysey “France”, Miss A Allen “Australia”, S Pettit “Middy”, Miss D Lane “Belgium”, Miss R Lane “Serbia”, Miss C Lane “Ireland”, Miss N Edwards “Japan”, Miss S Hodgson “Australia”, Miss Betts “Flags of all Nations”, Miss G Hansell “Russia”, Miss S Lovatt “Italy”. Nurses : Misses J and D Davis, A Hodgson. Red Cross : Miss D and G Wallace, E Davis, F Everingham,. Good refreshments provided by the ladies were served round shortly before midnight. Everyone expressed satisfaction at the success of the entertainment which was organised by Mrs J Symons (whose husband is at the front). Mrs Crisp was hon secretary, assisted by Miss A Hodgson while Alf Stockwell acted as hon treasurer. The services of Miss Jessie Morris at the piano was appreciated. It was one of the most successful sends-off yet held here. Jack Jones responded on behalf of those leaving for the front.
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.
19 April 1918 – Jack Kenny who is employed in the office at the Riverstone Meat Co, has re-enlisted, and will go into camp next Monday. He has already done his share of fighting on the other side and is going to have another go.
31 May 1918 – Pte J A C Kenny, who recently re-enlisted is now in the Liverpool quarantine camp. He became a contact with a case of diphtheria.
21 June 1918 – Pte Jack Kenny, a member of Carmichael’s Thousand, who sailed on Wednesday, paid a visit to Riverstone on Tuesday evening, when he was entertained by members of the Men’s Club. Pte Kenny was a popular member of the club and was presented with a pocket wallet and fountain pen. He came up in the evening train but was obliged to return the same night. The members of the club accompanied him to the station and gave him a great send-off.
5 July 1918 – In the matter of a recent valedictory tendered to Jack Kenny, on the eve of his embarkation for active service, we wish to correct an error that inadvertently appeared in the ‘Windsor and Richmond Gazette’ newspaper, which read that the presentation as made to the departing soldier was on behalf of the Men’s Club. We have since been advised that it was the Riverstone Literary and Social Club that originated the function whereat Messrs Ludeke (in the chair), Cruikshank, Shaw and Bambridge, on behalf of their institution, bade Mr Kenny Godspeed and a safe return. J P Quinn was deputed to make the presentation – a gold mounted fountain pen, a large combination pocket knife, a soldier’s wallet, and 2 parcels of tobacco. Mr Kenny referred to the pleasant associations as he would remember of the Club, and the gathering terminated. Whilst waiting for the train he was busily engaged in bidding farewell to the members assembled, who later accompanied him to the railway station. On the platform Mesdames Wallace and Crisp were found waiting to make another presentation (a watch) on behalf of the local soldiers’ farewell and welcome home committee. Hardly had he recovered from the surprise of this additional token of esteem when the train steamed in. Showers of farewells and good wishes fell upon him and as the outgoing train gathered speed he heard the cheers which echoed in the adjoining highlands. Thus Riverstone bade farewell to one of her lads, who having re-enlisted in Carmichael’s Thousand goes forth for the second time to fight our foes.
20 September 1918 – Ptes Jack Kenny, Clarke and Blacket, have arrived in England. These 3 Riverstone lads made the voyage on the same boat.
7 March 1919 – Mrs Crisp of Riverstone, has received a letter from Pte Jack Kenny, son of Mr and Mrs H Kenny of “The Pines” Riverstone, who after having served at Gallipoli came home wounded, re-enlisted and went to England, but did not get over to France. Pte Kenny makes out a terrible indictment against the Germans for their cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners of war. The letter is dated at Codford, Salisbury Plains, December 22nd, 1918. ….. Dear Mrs Crisp, I received a postcard from you a few days ago. Many thanks for same and your good wishes. I am going 12 days leave from 10th January. I intended going over to Ireland to see the Lakes of Killarney and to get some idea of the strength of Sinn Feinism and Carson, but I have dug up some relations up in Lincolnshire, so will have to stay in England. I will spend most of my time in London exploring all the old buildings. You will be surprised to hear that I have seen Lieut Hayward every day for the past three months without knowing him, until a few days ago, when Fred Seabourne spotted him and told him I was in his camp. He came after me and we had a yarn. Hayward is our regimental quarter-master, so I will see a good deal of him. He has left on a months holiday. I wish we had recognised each other before. I was very sorry to hear of Mr Harding losing one of his boys. Just before I left they got word one had been gassed. I was also sorry to hear of Mrs Daley’s death. We have shifted from Fovant to Codford (where we were when we first landed here). I am glad to be out of Fovant. This is a much better place. I was left behind at Fovant with a few others for a week, waiting for the Tommies to take over. While there I had some very interesting yarns with the men, as they are mostly repatriated prisoners of war awaiting discharge. I have read much of the cruelties to these men, but things were even worse than the papers made out, and you will know what was published from time to time. Soldiering has made me pretty callous, but to hear what these men have been through makes one come near to crying. I wish I could deal with the Germans in Australia. There are men in Fovant now who can show you the scars of hundreds of whiplashes, bayonet jabs and burns, men with an eye knocked out and ears cut off. Even hands and fingers chopped off, men dosed with tuberculosis and other germs, and the most pitiful of all the wrecks who passed through long period of starvation. One man who was badly wounded when captured was taken to hospital where he lay on a filthy bed for three months without a change of clothes or a shave, and was seldom given a wash. His wounds were operated on without chloroform. He has recovered to a extent but is a wreck, and it is awful to look at him, though you can see he has been a fine big man at one time, he is only 23 years old but looks 50. I expect you will be having plenty of Riverstone boys home now. The Aussies are leaving in thousands. Over 20,000 sail shortly. I dont know when our turn will come but I hope it is soon. I saw snow falling last week. It was pretty, but too cold for my liking. I dont know when we will go over to France, or if we will ever get there now, but I dont care much. I only want to get home, and get there “at the double”. I am fed up with this peace time soldiering. Fred Seabourne and Mr Setchell are well, and wish to be remembered to you. We will all spend Christmas here in Codford, but I guess the next will be in our homes. Trusting all are well. Yours sincerely, J.A.C. Kenny.
24 October 1919 – Mr and Mrs H Kenny, of “The Pines” Riverstone, have received word that their son, Cpl Jack Kenny, is due in Melbourne on November 4 by the troopship ‘Ascanius’.
31 October 1919 – Pte Jack Kenny is expected home on November 10 and Pte Herb Freeman on November 13. This will close the list of Riverstone boys to return with the exception of Pte William Edwards.
7 November 1919 – Pte Herb Freeman, son of George Freeman of Riverstone, arrived at Melbourne on Tuesday and is expected home this weekend. Pte Jack Kenny is expected home on Monday. Both lads have been several years at the war and they are the last of the Riverstone batch to return.
The following two extracts are from newspaper clippings handed down within the Kenny family.
A Soldier’s Letter
Private Jack Kenny writing from hospital in Egypt under date August 6th (1915) to Miss Syb. Hickling, of Morpeth, says: This is the first opportunity I have had to write since we went to Gallipoli. After six weeks in the trenches I had to give in to the common complaint of dysentery and vomiting. I left the firing line on Quinn’s Post last Thursday per stretcher and thanks to the excellent treatment on boat and train and hospital I am improving wonderfully and will soon be ready for the next round. I have to thank you all for your kindness and prayers for my welfare. The papers were most acceptable and whiled away many an hour which otherwise would have been spent in loneliness. I was carried away so quickly from the trenches that I lost razors, watch and warm clothes, and curios I had collected. I am grateful for your kind offer to send me requirements but as few parcels ever turn up in the trenches I should not care to gratify those who are so mean as to rob a person in the trenches. My six weeks in Gallipoli were most enjoyable; I found all the excitement I had reckoned for, in fact on one or two occasions my expectations were more than exceeded. It is a glorious life, but saddening. Most of my mates have gone and it was awful to see such good men being carried out a mass of blood-soaked bandages, sometimes dead before they got out of the trenches. No matter how badly smashed up they might be it was very seldom that one heard a groan, and they generally managed a smile when you said good bye. Wallace Ridley was wounded in a charge. We did not strike a charge but I saw the 19th Battalion – Ghurkas and New Zealanders – charge 300 yards on our left. I was sniping at the time and had a most enjoyable Sunday afternoon when our chaps drove the Turks out of the trenches. I was rather horrified at the work of the Ghurkas, but yet one could not help admire the way they sailed straight in, pushed the Turkish bayonet aside with one hand and give a great swish with that awful knife. You can imagine the result but their utter contempt for the Turkish bayonet was rather amusing. We lost a great number of men that afternoon but nothing to what the Turks lost. I was glad when darkness came and covered up the awful looking dark forms dotted everywhere. By morning all the wounded had been removed. Probably Wallace Ridley had to lay for hours waiting for darkness and the stretcher bearers. We were ordered to charge but the order was cancelled at the last minute and only one company went into it while we gave covering fire. I laughed at our Colonel after he had told us what was to happen, he said “I want you to whop it out and whop it in,” meaning the bayonet. I was not sorry when the order was cancelled, the company had to retire and lost over 80 men. We were taken round on to Quinn’s about five weeks ago. The trenches range from 10 to 20 yds apart and most of the work is done with those awful hand grenades, but at times, especially at night, the rifle and machine gun fire is awful. One night in a five-minute rally we fired 8000 rounds from 50 yards of trench (machine guns and rifle) and our men threw 130 bombs. When you take into consideration that the Turks fire three shots to our one you can imagine the din. In front of our trench are 58 dead who have been there for months. They cannot have an armistice for the positions are so close that we would see theirs and they would see ours. Quinn’s is hell on earth. The bombs are very sudden. You have to fall flat on the ground and if possible throw a blanket or coat over it. If you escape fragments probably the concussion will cause your lungs to bleed for hours. I saw three men blown to pieces. It is such sights as this that make you feel miserable. I suppose there are young men in hundreds around Sydney who should come and help, and it is good for them that they are not near enough to see such strong men snatched away or their conscience would haunt them. I have remarked as the stretcher-bearers passed by that the Union Jack is a grand old flag but it is taking an awful lot of blood to keep it flying. I………….
Tuesday 25 March 1919, probably in a Dubbo newspaper
Pte. Jack Kenny, a nephew of Mrs W. White, of Dubbo, writing to a friend, gives a rather thrilling account of German cruelties to prisoners of war. Pte. Kenny went through the Gallipoli campaign, and returned home wounded. He re-enlisted, and was on Salisbury Plains on Armistice Day. He writes: “There are men in France today who can show the scars of hundreds of whip lashes, bayonet jabs and burns; men with eyes knocked out and ears cut off, and even hands cut off; there are men who were dosed with tuberculosis and other germs; but most pitiful of all are the wrecks who passed through long periods of starvation.”
Note – Research has not established who were the “relations up in Lincolnshire” in 1919. However it is likely that they were Blackburne relations. In the 1881 Census of England and Wales, Lincolnshire had the second highest number of people named Blackburne. Blackburne great grandchildren of Eyre Evans Kenny lived in Melbourne at the time Herbert and Rose Kenny were living at Berwick in the 1880s and other Kenny descendants were living in Melbourne, see the Chapter 5.