Donaghadee Memorial to Lt WD Kenny VC  to be protected against irresponsible dog owners

Donaghadee Memorial to Lt WD Kenny VC to be protected against irresponsible dog owners

The relatives of Indian Army hero Lt WD Kenny VC have thanked those behind a scheme to protect a memorial to his achieving the Victoria Cross being “disrespected” by dog owners in Donaghadee.

The inscribed stone commemorating Lieutenant W D Kenny VC is one of a number of similar VC momuments sited at locations throughout the UK.

But soon after it was placed on Donaghadee promenade two years ago “irresponsible dog owners disrespected the
Kenny VC memorial by allowing their pets to use it as a public toilet,” said Alliance councillor Gavin Walker.

Mr Walker was approached by concerned residents and asked to find a solution that would be acceptable to the Kenny family.  Anne Mayne, nee Kenny, is the eldest niece of Lt Kenny, and she and her husband Denis live in Bangor.

Councillor Walker said: “I discussed this issue with Council Officers and they have worked with the family and Council to secure agreement and planning permission.

“Council officers have now confirmed that the solution – to create a stone plinth and place the memorial on top – should be in place within the next 4-6 weeks.

“We are all hoping this will stop the memorial being desecrated, as this personally made me very angry.

“For a dog owner to allow their pet to urinate against a memorial to a man who gave his life serving his country is disgusting both for him, his surviving family and our community which has chosen to remember his sacrifice” he added.

Anne Mayne said: “My family and I were deeply touched by the construction of the memorial and garden in memory of William Kenny. We enjoy walking there when we visit Donaghadee.

“My family would like to thank the caring people of the town and in particular Gavin Walker for their consideration in arranging to have the monument raised on a plinth.

“Since my grandmother first laid the wreath in 1926 it has been laid in remembrance, not of Uncle Willie alone, but of all the young men who have given their lives in the hope of future freedom.

“Our granddaughters, representing the fifth generation, continue the family tradition by laying the wreath on Remembrance Sundays” she added. 

About Lt WD Kenny VC

Kenny was a Constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary and for a time was stationed in Donaghadee.  He was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1918 and was killed in action in 2 January 1920, for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

William David Kenny (1899-1920) was born on 1st February 1899 in Saintfield, County Down, Ireland and he was the eldest child of John Joseph and Miriam Martha Kenny (nee Newton) who were married on 11th November 1896 in St Nicholas’s Parish Church of Ireland Church Carrickfergus.  John Joseph Kenny from Saintfield was a son of William Kenny, a farmer.  Miriam Martha Newton. A domestic servant from Green Street, Carrickfergus was a daughter of George Frederick Newton, a sea-captain. William was the oldest of three children with a sister Georgina Maria (born 1900) and brother Gerald Henry (born 1902).

John Joseph Kenny was a Constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary and for a time he was stationed in Donaghadee.  Before that the family lived in the townland of Glenloughan, Scarva, Co Down and in Library Lane, Banbridge.

William David Kenny was commissioned into the Indian Army as a Second Lieutenant on 31st August 1918 and he was posted to the 4th Battalion 39th Garhwal Rifles. A year later he was promoted Lieutenant and was killed in action on 2nd January 1920 during the Waziristan campaign. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 2nd January 1920 at Kot Kai, India, for over four hours, Lieutenant Kenny 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 operation 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.

His VC was gazetted on 9th September 1920, and his parents were invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 2nd November 1920. On 6th May 1998, his VC, British War Medal 1914-20, and India General Service Medal 1908-35 with three clasps for Afghanistan 1919, Mahsud 1919-20 and Waziristan 1919-21 were sold at auction at Spinks, London for a hammer price of £52,000. They were purchased by Michael Ashcroft and are displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London.