b. 08/01/1918 Melbourne. d. 29/08/1942 Isurava, Papua New Guinea.
Born in Preston, Melbourne on 8 January 1918, Kingsbury was the second son of Philip Blencowe Kingsbury, an estate agent, and his wife Florence Annie, née Steel. Growing up in the suburb of Prahran, Kingsbury befriended Allen Avery when he was five years old. The two often raced billycarts down the hilly streets, and would remain lifelong friends. Kingsbury attended Windsor State School as a child, and his results were good enough to earn a scholarship at Melbourne Technical College. Avery began an agricultural course in Longerenong. Although qualified as a printer, Kingsbury began working at his father's real estate business, a job which he disliked.
Unhappy in the estate agency, Kingsbury took up the position of caretaker on a farm at Boundary Bend, not far from where Avery was working. After three months, the pair decided that they would go on an adventure – walking through western Victoria and New South Wales. In February 1936, Kingsbury and Avery left their jobs and began travelling north, working on various farms and estates. The pair eventually arrived in Sydney several months later, and returned to Melbourne on the first train back. Kingsbury resumed working as a real estate agent, while Avery worked as a nurseryman.They spent their free time at dances and parties. During this time, Kingsbury met and became close to Leila Bradbury. As the war in Europe escalated, Kingsbury and Avery made up their minds to enlist. Despite his parents' disapproval, Kingsbury signed up to the Australian Imperial Force on 29 May 1940.
The two combined battalions began digging in around Isurava. A headquarters had been set up at the top of the hill, which was vital to the defence of the position. While the Australians dug themselves in, the Japanese, led by Japanese Major General Tomitar Horii, prepared to attack. On 28 August, the Japanese launched their offensive. The Australians were outnumbered by as many as six to one, yet resisted in the face of heavy machine-gun fire and hand-to-hand combat. On 29 August, the Japanese broke through the right flank, pushing the Australians back with heavy fire, threatening to cut off their headquarters. The Australians began to prepare a counter-offensive, and men volunteered to join an attack party. Kingsbury, one of the few survivors of his platoon, ran down the Track with the group. Using a Bren Gun he had taken from wounded Corporal Lindsay Bear, Kingsbury, alongside Avery and the rest of the group, engaged the nearby Japanese. The fire was so heavy that the undergrowth was completely destroyed within five minutes. It was then that Kingsbury, firing from his hip, charged straight at the Japanese. His actions demoralised the Japanese, killing as many as 30 soldiers, while forcing the remainder to find cover. The rest of the Australian group, inspired by Kingsbury's actions, forced the Japanese further back into the jungle. Kingsbury was then seen to fall to the ground, shot by a Japanese sniper.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA.
BURIAL PLACE: BOMANA CEMETERY, PORT MORESBY, PAPUA N GUINEA.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT C-6, ROW E, GRAVE 1
Picture provided by Jason Daniels
Anzac Park, Townsville, Queensland
Memorials to Valour Website
Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea