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Edward McKenna: Wikis


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Ensign Edward McKenna VC (15 February 1827 -8 June 1908) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


He was 36 years old, and a colour-sergeant in the 65th Regiment of Foot (later the 1st Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment), British Army during the Invasion of Waikato (one of the campaigns in the New Zealand Wars), when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

For gallant conduct at the engagement near Cameron-town, New Zealand, on the 7th. of September, 1863, after both his Officers, Captain Swift and Lieutenant Butler, had been shot, in charging through the position of an enemy heavily outnumbering him, and drawing off his small force, consisting of two Serjeants, one bugler, and thirty-five men, through a broken and rugged country, with the loss of but one man killed, and another missing. Lieutenant-General Cameron, C.B., Commanding Her Majesty's Forces in that colony, reports that, in Colour-Serjeant MacKenna, the detachment found a Commander whose coolness, intrepidity, and judgment, justified the confidence placed in him by the soldiers brought so suddenly under his command.[1]

For this deed he also received the rank of Ensign. Grave/memorial at Buried at Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Presbyterian Block II. Plot 65. His headstone reads: Edward McKenna, V.C. late ensign, 65th Reg, also N.Z.R., died 8 June 1908 aged 79; also Elizabeth Gordon, wife of the above. R.I.P.

In October 1865 his regiment was recalled to England, but Edward had grown attached to the colony, he sold his commission and remained. He joined the New Zealand Railways as a clerk and soon rose to be Station Master at Kaiapoi, Ashburton, Invercargill, Gore, Greatford, Halcombe and early 1880s Palmerston North. He eventually retired to Palmerston North where he later died.

Edward McKenna and Elizabeth Gordon had 13 children between them and today there would exist a large number of relatives throughout New Zealand.

The medal

His Medal is displayed in the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The archives also contain his gun and uniform.


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 22809, p. 261, 19 January 1864. Retrieved on 23 December 2009.


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