BSM John Kennelly remained with 194 SB until he was repatriated to the UK on 13 May 1919(1), after the Armistice.
On his return to the UK, BSM John Kennelly was posted on 14 May 1919 to 1 Depot, and subsequently to ‘A’ Battery 19 Fire Command from 12 November 1919 until 1 September 1920(1) - where he carried out the duties of a 3rd Class Master Gunner without extra pay (25) - then he was posted to ‘A’ Coastal Battery RGA at Gullane when it was formed on 1 September 1920, and finally to RGA HQ & DE Forth Fire Command RGA, Leith Fort(29) where he completed his 21 years’ service and retired from military service on 1 December 1922(2, 2a).
Prior to BSM John Kennelly’s retirement, in August 1920, Army Numbers of serving troops were changed(26). BSM John Kennelly, formerly number 9541/RGA became 1400989 and this is the number shown on his ‘Discharge Certificate’(2) and ‘Character Certificate’(2a).
During BSM John Kennelly’s posting to ‘A’ Battery 19 Fire Command, he performed the duties of loading and firing the One O’Clock Gun, then a 32-pound breech-loader from the Half Moon Battery in Edinburgh Castle(25). This was used as a time-signal for ships in Leith harbour and out in the Firth of Forth(27) but note that the modern ceremony (which the link in the References page takes one to is a completely different gun and it is fired from a different battery to the originals when BSM John Kennelly carried out those duties.
In total, my Grandfather, BSM John Kennelly DCM, MSM was recommended for awards on five occasions, namely MC, DCM, MSM (Twice) and the French Médaille d’Honneur(28). He was also Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Oak Leaf emblem(23a) to adorn his medal group.
Subsequent to his retirement from the Army, John Kennelly became a Chief Clerk in the Ministry of Defence in Edinburgh. He died on 8 August 1973 in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh. His Death Certificate(30)states that his Date of Birth was ‘4 February 1882’ and that he was ‘Age 91 years’ when he died, but it was my Father, George Charles Kennelly, who provided the Registrar with this information. However, as explained in detail on the ‘Pre-WWI’ page, if anyone at all knew the precise details of his birth it was John Kennelly himself, so Euphemia told my Father to use the earlier of the two dates in February that she thought it might have been. As for John’s alleged year of birth, that was simply copied from his Discharge Certificate(2a). After all, those details had been sufficient for the Department of Social Security, as it then was, to pay John’s National Insurance Retirement Pension, i.e. his ‘State Pension’, for nearly 30 years up to the time of his death.
John Kennelly was survived by Euphemia. Both had become infirm and unable to cope for themselves. For the last few years of their respective lives, John and Euphemia were cared for exclusively by my Father and Mother, George and Eliza Kennelly, until they had to go into hospital to end their final days. Subsequently, George paid at his own expense for the funerals of John and Euphemia, and he was accompanied to them only by Eliza and me.
Finally, and out of respect for what one of the many unsung heroes who served the guns did, in this case my Grandfather, John Kennelly, I append a photograph of his medal group. From left to right these comprise: Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-18 War Medal, 1914-1918 Victory Medal with Mentioned in Dispatches Oak Leaf emblem on the ribbon, Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. For details of the inscriptions on the rims of these medals, see HERE.