Bruce Kingsbury was an Australian soldier during the Second World War who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was recognized for his heroic actions during the Battle of Isurava, a pivotal engagement in the New Guinea campaign.
Kingsbury and his platoon were holding a key position on the Kokoda Track when they came under heavy attack from the Japanese. The Japanese broke through their right flank, threatening battalion headquarters. Kingsbury, one of only a few survivors in his platoon, picked up a Bren gun and ran toward the attacking Japanese with devastating effect, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Pvt. Alan Avery, who fought alongside Kingsbury, described it this way: “He came forward with this Bren and he just mowed them down. He was an inspiration to everybody else around him. There were clumps of Japanese here and there and he just mowed them down.”
Kingsbury’s actions were a turning point in the battle. The Japanese had the momentum, and were threatening to overrun the battalion’s headquarters. However, Kingsbury’s attack inflicted damage to the Japanese force, demoralizing them and temporarily halting their advance. This allowed the Australian troops to stabilize their positions, eventually regaining control and defending the headquarters. Despite his heroism, Kingsbury was killed by a sniper during the battle.
Bruce Kingsbury’s actions during the Battle of Isurava stand as a testament to the courage and resilience of the Australian soldiers who fought during the Second World War. His legacy lives on as an enduring symbol of the sacrifices made by those who served their country with honor and distinction. The memory of his heroic actions and their impact on the outcome of the Battle of Isurava continue to be honored through various monuments and memorials across Australia.