SGT William Kibby, VC

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SGT William Kibby, VC

23-31 OCT 1942: World War II and SX7089 Sergeant William Henry Kibby, 2/48th Battalion, originally from Durham in the United Kingdom, earns the Victoria Cross at the battle of El Alamein, Egypt. William Kibby arrived in Australia from Britain with his parents in 1914. He was a 37-year-old family man when he enlisted in 1940.

He embarked with the 2/48th Battalion from Adelaide, bound for the Middle East. Following an accident which resulted in a leg injury, he rejoined his battalion before the battle of El Alamein.

Kibby was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions over several days.

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.

Taking over after his platoon commander was killed, he was ordered to attack strong enemy positions. He personally assaulted an enemy post, firing his Thompson sub-machine gun, killing three of the enemy and capturing 12 others.

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.

On other occasions he showed great leadership, directing fire and encouraging his men. He was killed by machine-gun fire on the night of 30-31 October; his work was said to have been “an inspiration to all”.

A quiet and sincere man, Kibby often told friends that all he wanted was to return to his wife and two daughters and his garden in Glenelg, Adelaide. More; http://ow.ly/tO1q305qDM9

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