Edward McKenna

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For the Democratic member of the Michigan Senate, see Edward B. McKenna.
Edward McKenna
Born 15 February 1827
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Died 8 June 1908
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Buried at Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Ensign
Unit 65th Regiment of Foot
Battles/wars Invasion of Waikato
Awards Victoria Cross

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.


McKenna 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 was also commissioned with the rank of ensign. 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 in the early 1880s Palmerston North. He eventually retired to Palmerston North where he later died. He is buried at Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North in 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.

The medal[edit]

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


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