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Bruce Kingsbury

 

Bruce Kingsbury
Bruce Kingsbury, the first Australian awardee of the Victoria Cross in the South Pacific, was born on January 8, 1918 in Preston, Melbourne. He was the second son of a real estate agent Philip Blencowe Kingsbury and Florence Annie. He grew up in the suburb of Prahran where, as a young boy, took a job as a farm caretaker.

Education

Bruce Kingsbury attended Windsor State School and went to Melbourne Technical College through scholarship. When he finished school, he worked for his father’s real estate business.

Soldier Career

It was May 29, 1940 when Kingsbury and his life-long friend Avery decided to enlist in Australian Imperial Force when the war in Europe was escalating. Both went on basic training at Puckapunyal, such as mock battle training, drill instruction, and riffle drill. Before the battalion went overseas, Kingsbury proposed to his girlfriend Leila Bradbury and gave her a wrist watch as a engagement gift. The couple got married in Melbourne.
The 7th Division where Kingsbury and Avery belonged routed to Middle East where the troop participated in the invasion of Syria on June 1941. While in Lebanon, the unit was assaulted, but it was a failed attack. The troop returned to Australia in 1942 to be assigned in Papua to halt the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.

Death

It was during the assignment for the Kokoda Track where Kingsbury was killed by a sniper on August 29, 1942. His body was buried in Bomana war cemetery in Port Moresby.

Award

Kingsbury was awarded the Victoria Cross because of the courage and determination he showed during the Kokoda Track mission. Kingsbury was the first Australian awardee of the Victoria Cross in the South Pacific and the first person to be given such an award in the Australian Territory.

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