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Keats William Vivian



Studio portrait of Lieutenant (Lt) William Vivian Keats, 52nd Battalion (52 Bn). A clerk from Hobart, Tasmania, he embarked with the 12th Battalion, B Company on 20 October 1914 aboard HMAT Geelong (A2). Keats served as a Lance Corporal at Gallipoli, where he was wounded in his right hand and hospitalised. It was for this injury he received his wound stripe, pictured on his left arm. Following his recovery he was promoted to Corporal and shortly afterwards, to the rank of Sergeant. In 1916 he was transferred to the 52 Bn and appointed to the rank of Lt. On 10 June 1917, whilst waiting for an attack at Messines Ridge, Lt Keats was seriously wounded by an enemy shell. Witness accounts on his service dossier state that he succumbed to his wounds twenty minutes later. Lt Keats is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium.

Mr. and Mrs. Keats, McRobie's Gully have received a letter, dated April 14 from Chaplain Blackwood, with reference to the death of their son, Lieutenant Keats. He says:-

Though it is long after the event, I feel I must drop you a line to express my own personal sympathy with you and yours in the sad loss of your noble son, Lieutenant Keats of our battalion. I should have written earlier, but was away from the battalion at the time on special duty and have not been able to get your address till recently. No doubt long ere this others have told you how nobly he played his part and met his end. Ho went all through that wonderful charge on 7th June at Messines, taking command of his company after the O.C. had been wounded early in the fight. He did brilliant work in organising the captured position and repelling strong counter-attacks. He brought his men out safely on the night of the 10th (Sunday morning). On going into the charge again in the evening of the 10th he was struck down by a shell, I believe.. I think he was buried on the battlefield at any rate, you must not think of him as there at all, for he is with the Master in whom he laid down his young life. ... It was a great grief to me on rejoining the battalion to find him gone. His men were loud in their praises. "He'll do us." was often said. He was a strict disciplinarian but was beloved by his men as possessing such splendid courage and leadership in the fighting line. They felt they could trust him, and would follow him anywhere.

The Mercury 10th June 1918















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