His parents were Charles & Ellen (nee Douglass). They married in Sydney in 1881.Charles was a labourer.
Charles was the youngest of 4 children. He had 2 sisters & 1 brother. He did not marry.
Charles enlisted on 5 Jan 1916.
He stated occupation as clerk and address as Goodwin Street, Ryde.
He was very tall and slim being 5ft 11in (180cm) tall; weighed 140lb (64kg); chest 32½-35in (83-89cm). He had no distinguishing marks; a fresh complexion, grey eyes, Light brown hair; and was a Presbyterian.
He named his mother Ellen as his next of kin.
He was assigned Service Number 4729 and attached to 12th Reinforcements for the 19th Battalion which was part of the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.
War Service: Western Front
Charles 12th Reinforcements departed Sydney on HMAT Ceramic on 14 Apr 1916 for Egypt. There they embarked on the RMS Megantic at Alexandria on 29 May and finally disembarked at Plymouth on 7 Jun.
While training in England with the 5th Training Battalion he spent a week in hospital in July with a contusion of the shoulder. Just after he left the hospital he was charged with disorderly conduct but received nothing more than an admonishment. In August he had another spell in hospital with influenza.
Charles then completed training & proceeded to France on 9 Sep and after a spell at the base depot finally joined 19th Battalion on 26 Sep at Ypres in Belgium.
The following day the Battalion moved into the front line trenches for 10 days. They then spent a week training in reserve areas.
While here Charles and 10 of his mates from the 19th Battalion had a photo taken. Charles is the tallest and is 3rd from the left in the back row.
They called themselves “The Syndicate” and their motto was “Get an eye full of it”.
Of the eleven men in the photo, only five made it back home to Australia.
Their unit (and the other Australian units) then started moving south to the Somme arriving at Ribemont west of Albert on 26 Oct.
On 5 Nov they moved into the Reserve trenches and into the front line north of Flers on 9 Nov. On 14 Nov the 19 Battalion was part of the attack on Flers. They gained their objective and held it until relieved on the 16th. They suffered 381 casualties.
The next 4 weeks were spent in rear areas resting, rebuilding & training. On 16 Dec Charles was admitted to hospital for 2 weeks with a fever of unknown origin. He rejoined his unit on 30 Dec in a rear area.
This was the ferocious Somme winter that took a large toll on the troops with the freezing conditions and mud. They returned to the trenches on 5 Jan 1917 for 3 days before being pulled back well behind the lines for a rest.
Charles however was again admitted to hospital on 20 Jan with scabies and he was not discharged until 25 Feb and it was 3 Mar before he rejoined his unit at Flers.
This was after the Germans had initiated their strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. They moved to the front of the advance on 16 Mar spending the next 2 weeks rotating between front line & support before being pulled back to the rear on 28 Mar for refitting and training.
They returned to the trenches at Noreuil on 14 Apr. The Germans attacked the next day & were driven off and counter attacked. The Battalion lost 13 killed and 56 wounded. They stayed in the front line until relieved on the 20th. They had 2 days rest and then spent the rest of the month practicing for a major attack.
They then moved into the front line opposite Bullecourt which had been recently attacked by Brigades of the 2nd Division and had sustained losses above 50%.
On 3 May 1917 the 19th Battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Bullecourt. This was another battle of much bloodshed for the Australian forces but Bullecourt was eventually taken. The Battalion committed 564 troops to the attack & suffered 359 casualties (over 60%).
He was buried in Grevillers British Cemetery, 3 kilometres west of Bapaume, France.
On 23 May SMH Roll of Honour notice stated:
“KENNY. -Died of wounds May 3 1917 Private C. N. (Norman), dear son of Charles and Ellen Kenny, Goodwin-street, Ryde, late of Windsor.
KENNY. -Died of wounds, France, May 3, 1917, Norman, beloved nephew and cousin of Mr. and Mrs. J. Shortland and family.”
On 26 May Cumberland Argus Killed in Action notice stated:
“News has been received that Private Norman Kenny, of Ryde, has been killed in action. Kenny used to work at the Gas Company’s office in pre-war days.”
In Memoriam notices continued on the 3 May anniversary in the following years, ie 1918:
“KENNY.-Died of wounds, May 3, 1917, Private C. N. (Norman), the dearly loved son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Kenny, and beloved brother of Frank, Nell, and Millie, of Goodwin Road, Ryde.
KENNY.-In fond remembrance of Norm. Kenny, died of wounds, France, May 3, 1917. Comrade of the late Jack Armstrong, 20th Batt., and friend of Mr. and Mrs. Minnikin, and Miss Armstrong, Ryde.”
Again in 1919:
“KENNY.-May 3, 1917, Private C. N. (Norman), the dearly loved son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenny, Ryde, and beloved brother of Nell, Frank, and Mill. Sadly missed.
KENNY.-In loving memory of my dear brother, Private C. N. Kenny, killed in France May 3, 1917. Inserted by his loving brother and sister-in-law, nephews, and niece.
KENNY.-In loving memory of Private Norman Kenny, of the 19th Batt., who died of wounds France, May 3, 1917, comrade of the late Pte. J. S Armstrong, 20th Batt. Inserted by his friends, Mellor-street Ryde.”
Again in 1920:
“KENNY. -In loving memory of our dear brother, Private C. N. Kenny, killed in action, May 3 1917. A duty nobly done. Inserted by his loving brother and sister- in-law, nephews, and niece.
KENNY- In memory of Private C. N. (Norman) Kenny, killed in France May 3 1917, the beloved son of Charles and Ellen Kenny, of Ryde, the dear brother of Frank, Nell and Mildred. Sadly missed.”
Again in 1921:
“KENNY. – In memory of our dearly loved son and brother, Private C. N. (Norman) Kenny, who died of wounds in France, May 3 1917.
. . . Sadly missed … .
Inserted by his parents, brother and sisters, Ryde.
KENNY.- In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. C. N. Kenny, killed in action, France, May 3 1917. Too dearly loved to ever be forgotten.
Inserted by his loving brother and sister-in-law, also nephews and niece.
KENNY- In loving memory of Norm. Kenny, died of wounds, May 3 1917. Comrade and friend late Jack Armstrong, A. I. F.”
Again in 1922:
“KENNY. – A tribute to the memory of Private C.N. Norman Kenny, the beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Kenny, and dearly loved brother of Nell, Frank, and Mildred. Sadly missed.
KENNY.-In loving remembrance of my dear brother, C. N Kenny, killed in action in France, May 3, 1917.
Every rising sun may set,
But our dear brother we shall never forget.
Inserted by his loving brother and sister-in-law, Frank and Lucy Kenny, also nephews and niece.”
And finally in 1923:
“KENNY -A tribute to the memory of Private C. N. (Norman), the beloved son of Charles and Ellen Kenny, and loved brother of Nell,Frank, and Mildred. Sadly missed.
KENNY-In loving remembrance of my dear brother, C N Kenny, killed In action, May 3, 1917. Inserted by his losing brother, sister-in-law, nephews and niece, Lucy and Frank Kenny.”
As his next of kin his mother Ellen received a pension of £2 per fortnight. She died in 1940, his father before her in 1934.
Charles also had life insurance policies with Manchester Unity.
In Mar 1918 his mother received his personal effects including razor, purse, 7 coins, compass, pocket book, Testament, steel mirror, belt & clasp knife, metal chain & ring, 2 identity discs, photos, cards, & letters.