Gallantry on the Somme: R. Kennedy DCM MM & Two Bars

Resting place of Robert Kennedy, Sancourt British Cemetery. The inscription reads, “ONE OF OUR FALLEN HEROES. ONE OF BRITAIN’S BEST”.

Robert Kennedy D.C.M., M.M. and Two Bars
16th Battalion C.E.F., Trenches Mouquet Farm near Pozières September 3 – 7, 1916

The 16th Battalion C.E.F. began their journey to the Somme on August 27, 1916 when they marched from Eperlecques to St. Omer. From here they boarded a train which brought them onto the Somme the following day. After a few days marching they arrived at Tara Hill on September 2, 1916 and next moved to Mouquet Farm, nicknamed “Mucky Farm” and as “Moo Cow Farm” by the Australians.

Kennedy was originally a Cameron Highlander having joined the 43rd Battalion C.E.F. in Winnipeg. He was wounded twice. The first time on September 7, 1916 when he suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand and on October 8, 1916 (the Regina Trench Action) when he was hit by gunshot to the left arm and left leg.

On October 1, 1918 Kennedy was killed. It was on this same day that that his actions, during the attack on Cuvillers, France, led to the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Kennedy is buried at Sancourt British Cemetery, Nord, France.

Citation for the Award of the Military Medal to Robert Kennedy

Announced in the London Gazette: December 9, 1916

“This N.C.O. had charge of the rationing during period Sept; 3rd – 7th. Although there was continuous shell fire day and night, the men were always supplied with rations and water. Much of the carrying had to be done overland as the trenches had been blown in. He has always displayed the finest conduct in the trenches.”

No citations have currently been traced for Kennedy’s first and second bars to the Military Medal, representing three awards of this medal for “Bravery in the Field”.

Did you know?
Robert Kennedy is one of five soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal and Two Bars. The others are:

Legendary northern British Columbian woodsmen John Ogilvie “Skook” Davidson (29th Battalion), Albert Kilby Hibbert (4th Canadian Divisional Signal Company, Canadian Engineers), George Johnston Oliver (1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company, Canadian Engineers) and Edward Slattery (3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion). Of these soldiers Davidson, Kennedy and Oliver were Scottish born. Slattery was killed August 30, 1918 and is buried at Valley Cemetery, Vis-en-Artois, Pas de Calais, France.

A picture of Robert Kennedy has not been traced.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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