Leonard Maurice KEYSOR VC

KEYSOR, Leonard Maurice

Service Number: 958
Enlisted: 18 August 1914, Randwick, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 42nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Maida Vale, England, 3 November 1885
Home Town: Darling Point, Woollahra, New South Wales
Schooling: Townley Castle College, Ramsgate. England
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Cancer, London, England, 12 October 1951, aged 65 years
Cemetery: Golders Green Crematorium
Tree Plaque: Mandurah Memorial Pine Trees
Memorials: Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, North Brother War Memorial, Tuncurry Battle of Lone Pine Victoria Cross Recipients Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Randwick, New South Wales
18 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 958, 1st Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '7' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Afric embarkation_ship_number: A19 public_note: ''
18 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 958, 1st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Sydney
28 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 42nd Infantry Battalion
12 Dec 1918: Discharged AIF WW1

Help us honour Leonard Maurice Keysor's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Keysor, Leonard Maurice (1885–1951)
by Dudley McCarthy

Leonard Maurice Keysor, soldier and businessman, was born on 3 November 1885 at Maida Vale, London, son of Benjamin Keysor, a Jewish clock importer. The name was sometimes spelt Keyzor. After education at Townley Castle, Ramsgate, Keysor spent ten years in Canada. He migrated to Sydney, where he found employment as a clerk, about three months before the outbreak of World War I. On 18 August 1914 he enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, and embarked for Egypt on 18 October. Keysor landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and was promoted lance corporal on 20 June. His deeds during the second (and last) great effort to take the peninsula are among the most spectacular individual feats of the war.

At 5.30 p.m. on 6 August the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade launched a diversionary attack at Lone Pine and by nightfall had seized the Turkish trenches; but bitter fighting with bayonets and bombs continued for three days and nights as the Turks retaliated. Keysor, a master of bomb-throwing, scorned danger. As Turkish bombs lobbed into his trench he would leap forward and smother the explosions with sandbags or coat. If time allowed he would throw a bomb back; he caught several in flight and smartly returned them as though playing cricket. Twice wounded, he nevertheless maintained his efforts for fifty hours. His bravery saved his trench and removed the enemy from a temporarily commanding position. Charles Bean recorded that 'the battalions of the 1st Brigade lost so heavily that few witnesses of its efforts remained. Consequently of the seven Victoria Crosses awarded after this fight, four went to a reinforcing battalion'. Of the other three, one was awarded to Keysor.

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/keysor-leonard-maurice-6946 (adb.anu.edu.au)