1912 - 2004
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.
Kenneth, in a picture taken shortly after earning
his commission, in 1939
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
|British prisoners at the moment of liberation by men of the 9th
US Army on the 12th April 1945. Copyright Imperial War Museum (IWM
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