A war veteran has finally been able to lay a wreath in memory of the local hero he buried more than 70 years ago on a German battlefield.
Known to all as Harry Kenwright, the 2nd Battalion Irish Guardsman sadly died in April 1945. A special ceremony took place at Padgate War Memorial where fellow “Mick” and friend of Harry, John Welton Bent, now aged 92 laid a poppy wreath in his memory.
Over seventy two years ago GH Kenwright (25) and John Bent (19) were in the Armoured Division of the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards.
On March 30th, 1945 they crossed the Rhine in their respective Sherman tanks for what was going to be the final push to end the war in Europe. Tragically Harry was to be killed three days later and John with some of his comrades had the task of burying him in a nearby field before continuing their journey through the heart of Germany. Harry’s grave has since been moved to the CWGC cemetery at Rheinberg. He is named on the Padgate War Memorial in Warrington.
The memorial service at Padgate was a truly remarkable and deeply personal event for many of the gathered friends, relatives, fellow Irish Guards officers, local school children and civic dignitaries. John not only fought with Harry but buried him in the midst of battle.
The laying of a poppy wreath in honour of his brother in arms at the War Memorial was a touching and poignant moment. Harry was killed in a selfless act of bravery when he returned to his scuttled tank to rescue a fellow crewmember who was “rattling away” from the tank , providing cover. As he reached the Sherman he was shot and killed instantly.
After an introduction from the Mayor of Warrington, MD of Culture Warrington, Emma Hutchinson spoke of the history and heritage of the war memorials within the town.
Harry’s story was then told by Chris Bent, the son of John Bent, using local history records at the Library and with great help from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Chris managed to find Harry’s surviving brother and other members of the Kenwright family and they were represented at the memorial and a letter from Harry’s brother John Kenwright was read to the gathered people.
Oakwood Avenue School Headmaster Gary Cunningham spoke of the ex pupil and explained how Chris had been visiting pupils to teach them of their heroic legacy.
Children from Oakwood Avenue School Choir sang “In the eyes of an angel” and “Amazing Grace” before a reading of Sassoons “At the Cenotaph” and Laurence Binyons “For the Fallen”
After a prayer by Rev’d Neil Shaw, of Christ Church, Padgate John Bent laid a wreath of poppies on the memorial bearing the name of his wartime companion.
Harry Kenwright will be remembered.
Memorial service for Sgt. Harry Kenwright at Padgate War Memorial.
Posted by Warrington worldwide on Saturday, November 4, 2017