Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

Private William Kenealy (1886-1915) VC

Private William Kenealy


William Kenealy of Ashton-in-Makerfield was honoured for his actions at W Beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

On the morning of 25 April, after relentlessly delivering messages under heavy enemy gunfire, William and others cut a way through barbed wire to gain the cliffs. He remarkably survived the action and the cliffs were taken. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. Six of his regiment (the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers) were awarded the Victoria Cross. They became known as the ‘Six VCs Before Breakfast’.

William was killed in the Battle for Gully Ravine in Gallipoli on 29 June 1915. The family had already lost his brother Francis who died at Ypres 8 months earlier.