Kenneth John Burd
1912 - 2004
Kenneth, in a picture taken shortly after earning his commission, in 1939
Kenneth was born into a military family in Hounslow on June 23rd 1912. His father, SQMS Arthur Valentine (Val) was serving there in the Commissariat and Train department of the Army Service Corps. He went to school in Maidstone and fascinated by the internal combustion engine entered an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic at a local garage. He often told tales of racing to automobile accidents in the rudimentary recovery truck.

Taking both his love for all things mechanical and his military heritage seriously he enlisted in the British Army, in the Royal Tank Corps, in 1932. He quickly advanced to the position of Sgt. Instructor in the Driving and Maintenance school at the Depot of the Royal Tank Corps in Bovington. In 1939 two things happened which would influence the rest of his life, being awarded a commission in the newly named Royal Tank Regimen, thus he would always identify himself as a "tankie".

In 1940 he joined the 7th RTR, in the Western Desert as part of the Army fighting the Italians. He served as the Maintenance Officer responsible for the good running of the tanks. This was a challenge between badly designed equipment and desert sand. But they prevailed, for a history of the campaign click here. After surviving the siege of Tobruk he was captured by the Italians when the garrison of Tobruk was taken a second time on the 20th of June 1942, this time by the Germans.

He then spent the rest of the war as a Prisoner of War (POW). First in Italy and when the Italians surrendered he was transferred to Germany. After a period in a German Military Hospital he landed in Oflaf 79, to wait out the war.
British prisoners at the moment of liberation by men of the 9th US Army on the 12th April 1945. Copyright Imperial War Museum (IWM BU 5985)

Liberated by the Americans on the 12th of April 1945 (for a larger picture click on the picture) he came back to serve in the Army until the end of the war in Italy and Palestine.

His short service commission was extended again and he served as an Instructor at the Gunnery Schools in Lulworth Cove and Warcop as well as serving at Catterick. In 1952 he served in the Canal Zone Garrison and returned home to Bulford to serve as Brigade Major. He was transferred to the Army Reserve in 1955 and relinquished his commission on 23rd June 1957.

Retiring to the Romsey/Southampton area he was a successful small business man and genial taxi driver. In his spare time he devoted much of it to the affairs of the Romsey Rifle Club, serving in all executive offices for for nearly fifty years.


  • Sgt Kenneth Burd's Certificate of Service (the Red book) here