(1918 - 1942)
Bruce Kingsbury was born in Armadale in 1918. After working interstate for a while he joined his fathers real estate business in Northcote. Kingsbury lived in Gilbert Road in West Preston. When World War II broke out Kingsbury quickly enlisted. Sent to Palestine, Kingsbury saw action in both Egypt and Syria.
In 1942, Kingsbury’s unit, the 2/14th Battalion was posted to Port Moresby. On 29th August 1942, the 2/14 was involved in heavy fighting on the Kokoda trail. Japanese attacks were successful in pushing back the Australians. With the Battalion Headquarters in danger of being overrun it was vital that a counter attack was made. Kingsbury’s unit had been severely handled by the Japanese so Kingsbury joined another platoon assigned to make the counter attack.
Charging the enemy, firing his machine gun from his hip, Kingsbury inflicted heavy causalities upon the Japanese defenders. Taken by surprise by his attack, the Japanese defenders scattered and the Australians were able to regain a precious 100 yards of territory. But the cost was high. Kingsbury was now about 15 yards in front of his colleagues. A Japanese sniper fired a single shot, killing Kingsbury, before fleeing into the jungle.
In sacrificing his life Kingsbury had saved the headquarters and prevented the Japanese from taking a decisive dominance in the battle for the Kokoda trail. Bruce Kingsbury was originally buried in the Kokoda War Cemetery on 25th January 1943. That Cemetery was decommissioned, and he was reburied at Soputa on 20th January 1946, which was also decommissioned that same year. On 24th November 1946, he was put in his final resting place at Bomana War Cemetery near Port Moresby. He was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for his sacrifice.
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Paull, Raymond. (1989). Retreat from Kokoda: the Australian campaign in New Guinea 1942. Richmond: Mandarin.