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

On 7 September 1863 near Cameron Town, New Zealandmarker, 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 command.

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.

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 Kaiapoimarker, Ashburtonmarker, Invercargillmarker, Goremarker, Greatford, Halcombe and early 1880s Palmerston Northmarker. 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 Museummarker. The archives also contain his gun and uniform.

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