Kenneth was son of Rupert and Florence Edney of Watford, Hertfordshire, born in 1922.
He started his parachute training at RAF Ringway, Course 35a 19 October 1942 and was awarded his 'wings' 7 November 1942. This course was for reinforcements for 1 Para Brigade. This course was notable as it had 2 fatalities during the early stages. Which badly effected morale, and contributed to 22 jump refusals.
He was a Signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals, British 6 Airborne Division Signals and attached to S2 Battalion Scouts , HQ, 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, an American airborne unit. He was wounded in action on 30 January 1944 during the Battle of Anzio and reported to have later died of his wounds in hospital at the of 22 following capture by the Germans.
Kenneth Edney hopped a ride from North Africa to Italy to join up with the 509th PIB at Venafro, Italy
The S2 Battalion Scouts comprised of the following Soldiers:
Kenneth Edney (British Paratrooper)
22 Jan 1944 - Landed at Anzio
The S2 Battalion Scouts increased in size to about 15 Soldiers adding:
Several other unknown men
30 Jan 1944 - Dick Fisco states, "I was ordered by the Battalion Commander Col Yarborough to lead a patrol and draw enemy fire on the left front thereby shielding the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion's advance across the Carano Road on the Anzio Beachhead. I asked for volunteers; four were from the regular scouts, two were not." Soldiers known to be on the patrol: Dick Fisco, Danny Brenner, Murph Trahan, Joe Moffo, Kenny Edney, Tom Dressel, Jesse McKnight. Tom and Jesse had not been on patrol before with the Scouts. The purpose of the patrol was to conduct a recon by fire on the left flank to further identify enemy positions as well as draw attention and fire away from the battalion advance across the Carano road. The recon patrol on the right flank toward the graveyard led by Jim Nunn would do the same. Dick Fisco requested and was approved to lead his patrol out to the red barn about 300 yards from their current position. The creek bed would afford some measure of cover and concealment over otherwise open terrain.
Dick Fisco describes the patrol, "We started off in four foot deep dry irrigation ditches, but the depth gradually tapered off to less than one foot. The bottom of the ditch was now lined with green mud. I smeared some on my face for camouflage. It took more than two hours to get close to the red barn on that bright, sunny day, and the ditch hid us only if we were in a prone position. I picked up the scent of moldy uniforms mixed with cigarette smoke and knew we were close. Then I saw an unmanned machine gun at the base of a haystack; it was pointing right down our ditch."
I saw no way to draw fire except by attacking. I assigned Ken Edney to take out the two machine gunners, and I anchored Murph and Iesse at each end with their rifles to cover us. We five Tommy gunners attacked: Ken was on the left; Danny was to the right of Ken and left of me; to my right was Joe Moffo; and to his right was Tom Dressel.
]oe, who was out of my sight, in a hot house behind a row of small bushes, must have run into a hornet's nest. I heard the dying wails of at least a dozen of the enemy through the chattering of his Tommy gun. Joe was a short, burly guy with a powerful build and blue eyes-one splashed with coffee brown. He was one of four fighting Moffos from Bristol, Pennsylvania, and had been Col. Edson Raff's bodyguard in North Africa.
Danny, on my left, was shot through the left bicep and had his Tommy gun blown out of his grip. He passed by me, heading back and holding out his left arm as if to apologize. Joe was backing up on my right and stopped to reload once again from a standing position. He was shot down. I made it back the twenty-five yards to the ditch. Joe raised his head and called in a weak voice, "Save yourselves, boys," and was riddled up off the ground by machine-gun fire. Ken Edney charged back from the haystack where he had killed the gunners. I yelled, "Kenny, no!" as he flew through the air and threw himself on top of Joe. The machine guns rattled again, and both of them were still.
Tom and Jesse had withdrawn, followed by Danny. I was sure that Ken and Joe were both dead. I wanted to go out to them but didn t have the courage to die. Murph, still alive, was lying with his head near my shoes. I called out, "Murph, do you have smoke?" Smoke was always your way in and your way out, but I had dropped my white phosphor grenade.
Murph called back, "yeah." I answered, "Throw it!" [Murph]"I can't!" [Dick]"why?" [Murph]"I'm shot through the fingers." I yelled, "Throw it anyway." I knew that the enemy had only a 6 percent chance of hitting us through smoke. Murph asked, "Where?" "Anywhere!" I answered. The grenade landed close to my feet and burnt my jumpsuit, but that didn't matter. we took off. A gentle breeze was carrying the smoke in our direction, obscuring us from the view of the Germans. we were receiving artillery fire from both sides in addition to small arms fire from the enemy. We made it back to our lines as the melting sun cast a golden glow across the western horizon to our right.
Colonel Yarborough had advanced our battalion across the Carano road, and some of the men had gathered around the tomb of Garibaldi,s son. The tomb was a vertical tunnel about ten feet in diameter with a spiral staircase going down about fifteen feet. Men were huddled on the stairs taking shelter from the shelling. They had heard all the shooting but had no idea what was going on. That was the reason the colonel had wanted us to draw fire. We had shielded the advance of the battalion on the left front, as Jim and his patrol did on the right front. Jim told me they had also run into a skirmish. We had two dead and two wounded.
30 Jan 1944 - Wounded in Action at the age of 22 while assaulting a barn along the Carano Road North of Anzio, Kenny Edney was captured by the Germans while Joe Moffo's body was recovered by the Germans.
Dick Fisco described the location where he last saw Joe Moffo and Kenny Edney, "Their bodies, Kenny's on top of Joe's, were about 50 feet to the right of where the Carano Creek tapered to about one foot deep. This is about 300 yards from where we started behind a house on the Carano Road where the Creek was 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep."
31 Jan 1944 - S2 Periodic Report No. 4 states: I&R patrol drew enemy small arms fire from 1500 yards east of (GRID) at 1152 hours. About 45 enemy in new foxholes and strawstacks at (GRID) fired on I&R patrol with rifles and 3 machine guns at noon. 8 positions were clearly visible from a distance of 150 yards over flat terrain. Patrol attacked straw stacks and position with 5 Thompson SMG and 2 M1 rifle fire. Enemy fired on patrol during withdrawl. 1 machine gun definitely located at base of straw stack. Enemy position covered depth of 75 yards. Enemy casualties (estimated), 13 killed or wounded. Our casualties, 2 MIA and 2 LWA.
31 Jan 1944 - Dick Fisco states, "The very next night of January 31st, Col. Yaraborough sent out a 24 man patrol to bring back the bodies of Kenny and Joe. I had asked them to look at the clearing to the right of the haystack. They found nothing and the enemy had vacated their positions."
This was the first time I had lost anyone on patrol.
31 Jan 1944 - Kenneth Edney arrived at the Italian/German Hospital for POWs in Perugia, Italy. Lt. Col. (Retired) Rocke, (formerly of the Irish Guards) was a civilian POW and assisted at the hospital as a translator. He wrote after the war that Kenneth Edney arrived at midnight with a severe stomach wound.The Italian surgeon had Rocke ask Kenny when he had last eaten and other questions to aid in treatment.
02 Feb 1944 - Lt. Col. (Retired) Rocke reported in a letter that Kenneth Edney died of wounds in Italian/German Hospital in Perugia, Italy
His name is listed on Panel 3 of the Cassino Memorial at the Cassino War Cemetery in Cassino, Italy. There are over 4000 names of Commonwealth Soldiers who were killed in action but have not been found.
His name is mentioned several times in the book "Your Lives will be Beautiful" by Richard Fisco
Created with information kindly donated by M. Anderson.
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