b. 16/08/1862 Liverpool. d. 30/08/1915 Suvla Bay, Turkey.
Paul Aloysius Kenna (1862-1915) was born on 16th August 1862 at Oakfield House, 22 Richmond Terrace, Everton, Liverpool. He was the son of a wealthy stockbroker, Thomas Kenna, who was descended from a family of minor gentry from County Meath. Kenna was educated at Stonyhurst College and St. Francis Xavier College in Liverpool - he is honoured in a memorial which can be seen in the main hall of the current college site in Beaconsfield Road, Liverpool.
He then went on to be educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and received his first commission with the 2nd West India Regiment, serving with the unit for two years in the West Indies and West Africa. In 1889 he was transferred to the 21st Hussars, and he served with the regiment in the Egyptian Campaign of 1898, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Omdurman (London Gazette, 15th November 1898).
On 2nd September 1898, at the Battle of Omdurman, Sudan, when a major of the 21st Lancers was in danger, as his horse had been shot in the charge, Captain Kenna took the major up on his own horse, to a place of safety. After the charge Captain Kenna returned to help Lieutenant De Montmorency who was trying to recover the body of an officer (Lieutenant R.G. Grenfell) who had been killed.
Kenna received his medal from Queen Victoria at Osborne House, Isle of Wight on 6th January 1899. Kenna was then soon back into action in the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. He was firstly Assistant Provost-Marshal on General French’s Staff. He was appointed Brigade Major in 1900, and later, in 1901, was given command of a column. He took part in the relief of Kimberley, in Orange Free State, from February to May 1900, including operations at Paardeburg, Poplar Grove, Dreifontein, Karee Siding, Vet River, and Zand River. He later then served in the Transvaal. He was mentioned in despatches twice. He received the Brevet of Major, Queen’s South Africa Medal with six clasps, and King’s Medal with two clasps. He was also awarded the DSO (23rd August 1902).
He was promoted to substantive Major in September 1902, and two months later, he was selected for special service with the Somaliland Relief Force. He commanded the Mounted Troops throughout the operations in Somaliland, and took part in the action at Jidballi, receiving mentions in despatches three times.
He was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, and he received the Medal with two clasps. On conclusion of the campaign, he returned to duty with his regiment in England. He was appointed Brigade Major to the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot in 1905, and held that appointment until giving command of the 21st Lancers in September 1906. He was then appointed Aide de Camp to the King, a position he held until 1915.
In 1911, he was appointed to command the Notts and Derbys Mounted Brigade. He competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics for Great Britain as a horse rider. He did not finish the Individual eventing (Military) competition, also the British team did not finish the team event. In the individual jumping event he finished 27th. In 1914, he was promoted to Brigadier General. In the spring of 1915, he took the Brigade to Egypt and later to Gallipoli. On 30th August 1915, he was hit by a Turkish sniper’s bullet whilst inspecting the frontline trenches, and died of his wounds. He was buried in the Lala Baba (CWGC) Cemetery, Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey. He left a widow, Angela Mary (his second wife), and two daughters. His medals are held by the Queen’s Royal Lancers Museum, Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL LANCERS MUSEUM, THORESBY, NOTTS.
BURIAL PLACE: LALA BABA CEMETERY, GALLIPOLI, TURKEY.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT II, ROW A, GRAVE 1.
Thoresby Park - picture courtesy of Paul Reed
St Andrew's Church, North Kilworth
North Kilworth War Memorial
Liverpool VC Memorial
War Illustrated, 25th September 1915