THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO LIEUTENANT WILLIAM DAVID KENNY, 39TH GARWHAL RIFLES, INDIAN ARMY, HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON.
6 May 1998


( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Lieutenant William David Kenny,
4th Bn, 39th Garwhal Rifles, Indian Army

  • Victoria Cross
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • India General Service Medal ( 1908-35 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Afghanistan NWF 1919" - "Mahsud 1919-20" - "Waziristan 1919-21"

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Lieutenant William Kenny, 4th Bn, 39th Garwhal Rifles, Indian Army, have been sold at auction by Spink of London. The sale hammer price realised £52,000. The VC was purchased by the Michael Ashcroft Trust the holding institution for the Lord Ashcroft VC Collection and is displayed in the Imperial War Museum's Lord Ashcroft Gallery.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 9 September 1920 ], Kot Kai, Waziristan, North West Frontier, 2 January 1920, Lieutenant William David Kenny, 4th Bn, 39th Garwhal Rifles, Indian Army.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Kot Kai ( Waziristan ) on the 2nd January 1920, when in command of a company holding an advanced covering position, which was repeatedly attacked by the Mahsuds in greatly superior numbers.

For over four hours this officer maintained his position, repulsing three determined attacks, being foremost in the hand-to-hand fighting which took place, and repeatedly engaging the enemy with bomb and bayonet. His gallant leadership undoubtedly saved the situation and kept intact the right flank, on which depended the success of the operations and the safety of the troops in rear.

In the subsequent withdrawal, recognising that a diversion was necessary to enable the withdrawal of the company, which was impeded by their wounded, with a handful of his men he turned back and counter-attacked the pursuing enemy, and, with the rest of his party, was killed fighting to the last.

This very gallant act of self-sacrifice not only enabled the wounded to be withdrawn, but also averted a situation which must have resulted in considerable loss of life.

William Kenny's parents were invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 2nd November 1920.


William Kenny was killed during his Victoria Cross action on the 2nd January 1920 and was buried in the Jandola Cemetery, North West Frontier, Pakistan.

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Iain Stewart, 6 May 1998