Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Honored Allies Wednesday: William H. Kibby (Australia)

"During the initial attack at Miteiriya Ridge on the 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 realized the necessity for quick decisive action, and without thought for his personal safety he dashed forward towards the enemy posts firing his Tommy-gun.  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.  After the capture of TRIG 29 on 26 October, intense enemy artillery concentrations were directed on the battalion area, which were invariably followed with counter-attacks by tanks and infantry.   Throughout the attack that culminated in the capture of TRIG 29 and the re-organization period which followed, Sergeant Kibby moved from section to section personally directing their fire and cheering the men, despite the fact that the Platoon throughout was suffering heavy casualties.  Several times, while under intense machine‑gun fire, he went out and mended the platoon line communications, thus allowing mortar concentrations to be directed effectively against the attacks on his Company's front.  His whole demeanor during this difficult phase in the operations was an inspiration to his Platoon.  On the night of 30–31 October when the Battalion attacked "ring contour" 25 behind the enemy lines, it was necessary for No. 17 Platoon to move through withering fire in order to reach its objective.   These conditions did not deter Sergeant Kibby from pressing forward right to the objective, despite his platoon's being mowed 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 gunfire.  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 an example and the memory of a soldier who fearlessly and unselfishly fought to the end to carry out his duty."

From Sgt. Kibby's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on 26 January 1943.

May you be at peace, 

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