261, Colour Sergeant, 65th Regiment, York & Lancaster Regiment
On 7 September 1863 near Camerontown, New Zealand, after both his officers had been shot, Colour-Sergeant McKENNA, with a small force, heavily outnumbered by the enemy, charged through their position with the loss of one man killed and one missing. The Colour Sergeant's coolness and intrepidity amply justified the confidence placed in him by the soldiers brought so suddenly under his comman Born 15 February 1827, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England Died 8 January 1908, Palmerston North, New Zealand Buried at Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North, New Zealand He served as a Colour Sergeant, in the 65th Regiment, York & Lancaster Regiment
CAMP, TE AWAMUTU.
PRESENTATION OF THE VICTORIA CROSS TO ENSIGN McKENNA.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
18 June 1864.
The troops in camp paraded at 2.30 to-day to ¦witness the presentation of the Victoria Cross to Ensign McKENNA, and of medals for meritorious conduct to Sergeants BRACEGIRDLE and MEARA, Lance-Corporal BULFORD, and Private THOMAS, of the 65th Regiment. The troops were drawn up in an open square, and after a short delay General Sir Duncan A. CAMERON and staff walked into the centre of the square, and Ensign McKENNA was called to the front. Colonel CAREY, C.B., Deputy Adjutant General, then read the letter from Earl De GREY and RIPON, in reference to the bestowal of the decorations ; after which General Sir Duncan A. CAMERON spoke as follows : —
"Ensign McKENNA, in obedience to her Majesty's instructions, it becomes my pleasing duty to present you with the Victoria Cross; and although I could have wished to have carried out those instructions in a still more public and formal manner, yet, it is satisfactory to see that the presentation takes place in the presence of your own regiment. Your coolness, presence of mind, and personal daring in the engagement at Camerontown, fully justified the confidence placed in you by the small party so suddenly thrown under your command, and are too well known and appreciated by the whole of the force, to need many comments from me. Enough for me to say that the honorable elevation of the Victoria Cross was never conferred on a braver or more deserving officer than you."
The General then stepped forward and attached the ribbon and cross to Ensign McKENNA's left breast, and said, "I trust you will be long spared to wear it with honour to yourself and country." The General shook hands warmly with Mr McKENNA, after which the latter retired to his place in line with his brother officers. Three vociferous, hearty cheers were given for Ensign McKENNA.
The following men were called to the front .
Sergeants Bracegirdle and Meara, Lance-Corporal BULFORD, and Private THOMAS, all of the 65th Regiment. Colonel CAREY, C.B., Deputy-Adjutant-General, then read a letter from W. F. FORSTER, Under-secretary of State for War, and at its conclusion, General Sir Duncan A. CAMERON said: "It must be a matter of deep regret to us all that Corporal RYAN, who was to have received the Victoria Cross, should have met with such an untimely death; but be it remembered that he died as nobly as he had lived, for he was drowned in endeavouring to rescue a comrade from the fate which unfortunately befel himself. Sergeants BRACEGIRDLE and MEARA, Corporal BULFORD, and Private THOMAS, your devotion to your officers in the engagement at Camerontown reflects the highest credit upon yourselves and the regiment to which you belong. When men are led by such chivalrous officers as Swift BUTLER, and McKENNA, and when such officers are followed by such brave and devoted soldiers as you, they cannot fail to conduct themselves with honour and to earn the gratitude of their country. It is very gratifying to me to notice the cordial feeling existing between the officers and men of the 65th Regiment, and I trust that it will continue." The General then stepped forward and presented each of the men with the medal for "meritorious conduct in the field."
The men retired to their respective places, and the ceremony ended.
The troops then marched to their private parades.
There are still two others to be presented with the medals for meritorious conduct, namely, Sergeant SCULLY, who has been discharged from the service, and Private TALBOT, who is sick in hospital.
[(c) Daily Southern Cross, 22 June 1864]