William Henry Kibby

William Henry Kibby

Birth
Winlaton, Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England
Death 31 Oct 1942 (aged 39)
El Alamein, Maṭrūḥ, Egypt
Burial
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El Alamein, Maṭrūḥ, Egypt
Plot XVI. A. 18.
Memorial ID 7726850 · View Source
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World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously on January 28, 1943 for his actions as a sergeant in the 2/48th Infantry Battalion (South Australia) of the Australian Army on October 23 and October 30-31, 1942 at the Second Battle of El Alamein, Egypt during World War II. Nicknamed "Bill" he was born in Winlaton, County Durham, England and in 1914 he emigrated with his family to Adelaide, South Australia where he attended Mitcham Public School and afterwards he was employed at a plasterworks in Edwardstown, near Adelaide. In 1936 he joined the Australian Militia and was assigned to the 48th Field Battery. After the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, he joined the Australian Imperial Force and was sent to North Africa where he saw action at the First and Second Battles of El Alamein. It was during the Second Battle of El Alamein that he was killed at the age of 39. He was initially buried in a mass grave by the German Army but when his unit retook the position, they searched and located the gravesite and reburied the dead in single graves. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "During the initial attack at Miteiriya Ridge on 23rd October, 1942, the Commander of No. 17 Platoon, to which Sergeant Kibby belonged, was killed. No sooner had Sergeant Kibby assumed command than his platoon was ordered to attack strong enemy positions holding up the advance of his company. Sergeant Kibby immediately realised the necessity for quick decisive action, and without thought for his personal safety he dashed forward towards the enemy post firing his Tommygun. This rapid and courageous individual action resulted in the complete silencing of the enemy fire, by the killing of three of the enemy, and the capture of twelve others. With these posts silenced, his Company was then able to continue the advance.On the night of 30th-31st October, when the battalion attacked "ring contour" 25, behind the enemy lines, it was necessary for No. 17 Platoon to move through the most withering enemy machine-gun fire in order to reach its objective. These conditions did not deter Sergeant Kibby from pressing forward right to the objective, despite his platoon being mown down by machine-gun fire from point blank range. One pocket of resistance still remained and Sergeant Kibby went forward alone, throwing grenades to destroy the enemy now only a few yards distant. Just as success appeared certain he was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. Such outstanding courage, tenacity of purpose and devotion to duty was entirely responsible for the successful capture of the Company's objective. His work was an inspiration to all and he left behind him an example and memory of a soldier who fearlessly and unselfishly fought to the end to carry out his duty." In January 1944 his remains were re-interred in the El Alamein War Cemetery. His Victoria Cross is on display at the Australian War Museum in Canberra, Australia.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Aug 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7726850
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Henry Kibby (15 Apr 1903–31 Oct 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7726850, citing El Alamein War Cemetery, El Alamein, Maṭrūḥ, Egypt ; Maintained by Find A Grave .