Leonard KEID


KEID, Leonard

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 15 May 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 49th Infantry Battalion
Born: Pimpama, Queensland, 8 October 1886
Home Town: Graceville, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Junction Park State School
Occupation: Accountant (Railway Paymaster)
Died: Killed In Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 3 September 1916, aged 29 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Coorparoo Roll of Honor, Coorparoo Shire Memorial Gates (Greenslopes), Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

15 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Brisbane, Queensland
5 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 9th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Warilda, Brisbane
3 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 49th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

The Brothers Keid

Charles and Mary Keid were the parents of nine children, six of them boys. By 1914 the family had moved to “Chewton”, Molonga Terrace, Graceville. All six of the Keid boys enlisted in the First World War; and four of them would lose their lives. Three of the deceased brothers are commemorated on the Sherwood Shire memorial. The story of the Keid family’s sacrifice has been recorded in a number of media reports recently as well as in a book by Cedric Hampson; “The Brothers Keid.” Since the stories of all six boys are so interwoven, I have grouped their narratives together, and in the interests of completion, I will include Leonard Keid. Leonard, the only brother to be married with a family, is not listed on the Sherwood Memorial but is instead commemorated on the Coorparoo Shire Memorial at Langlands Park.

All six brothers are listed on the Sherwood Methodist Church Roll of Honour.

Leonard Keid                                     Lieutenant  9th/49th Battalion

Leonard Keid had been born in Pimpama in October 1886. As a boy he attended Junction Park State School and then St. Josephs Gregory Terrace. He qualified as an accountant and according to his application for a commission (potential officers did not complete the attestation papers that ordinary ranks did) he was employed as a paymaster with Queensland Railways.

Five of the six Keid brothers gave their address as Molonga Terrace, Graceville. Leonard was married with three children, living at Watson Street (off Bennetts Rd) Coorparoo when he presented himself for enlistment on 5th May 1915. An article in the Courier Mail 2nd August 2014 “The Keid Family lost four sons in less than 2 and a half years” reports a family story that Leonard had received an anonymous white feather (symbol of cowardice) in the post, thus prompting him to join up, in spite of the fact that the family expectation was that he would remain at home as he was the only one of the six brothers who was married and with children. According to the article, Leonard’s brother; Walter, perhaps to support his brother’s decision, enlisted the following day.

Leonard enlisted on 5th May (Walter did indeed enlist the following day) and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on 7th July 1915 and was drafted, along with brother Walter, into the reinforcements for the 9th Battalion, amongst which were two other Keid brothers, Henry and Edward, who had enlisted in October 1914.

Leonard and Walter departed Brisbane on the “Warilda” on 5th October 1915 and arrived in Egypt just as the ANZACs were being evacuated from Gallipoli. In December of 1915, Leonard wrote to Army Records enquiring into the circumstances of the death of yet another brother, William who had been erroneously reported as having died in hospital in Malta (see William Keid below). He had in fact been buried at sea in June 1915. The mistake was explained as a clerical error.

During the sojourn in Egypt, the Australian forces were expanded to double the size, creating four divisions out of two. This was achieved by splitting existing 1st and 2nd division battalions to create the nucleus of two new battalions. Leonard’s 9th battalion was split to form the 49th Battalion of the 4th Division. Brother Walter also transferred to the 49th in February 1916. After additional training and the inclusion of new reinforcements from Australia, the 4th Division arrived in Marseilles on 12th May 1916.

In July 1916, Haig (Supreme British Commander on the Western Front) launched the Somme offensive. Casualties were enormous but Haig was determined to keep up the pressure. Three of the four Australian divisions in France were deployed to the Somme. (The other division, the 5th had already suffered a mauling at Fromelles). The Australians were to go into their first major action at Pozieres.

The 1st and 2nd Divisions were thrust into the struggle for Pozieres first during late July and early August, and had secured the village and the important blockhouse on the site of a windmill above the village. It was now the turn of the 4th Division to continue the offensive towards a ruined farm which the Germans had heavily fortified by extending the cellars and creating a line of three defensive trenches. The farm was depicted on the maps as “La Ferme du Mouquet” but the Australians referred to it as “Moo Cow Farm” or “Mucky Farm.”

The assault of the farm was conducted on an ever decreasing front that was enfiladed by German artillery and machine guns. The ground was so churned up that advancing troops could not recognise a trench line when they reached it. Attempts to dig new trenches were unsuccessful due to the loose ground caving in. In an attack beginning at 5:10am on 3rd September 1916, A Company with Lt. Keid as acting company commander ( the company commander of “A” Coy, Captain Walker, had been arrested) advanced on the farm under an intense artillery barrage. Subsequent investigations by the Red Cross suggest that Leonard Keid was killed when an enemy dugout he was entering was hit by a large artillery shell. Leonard was originally listed as Missing :Presumed Killed in Action as his body was not seen again after the shell impact. Later it was confirmed from eyewitnesses that he had in fact been killed. Sadly his brother Walter would have been nearby, if not in the same action. Sergeant Walter Keid was Killed in Action the next day. Neither body was ever recovered.

Courtesy if Ian Lang

Mango Hill



"...Second Lieutenant Leonard Keid 49th Battalion of Graceville, Qld. Lt Keid, an accountant in civilian life, was killed in action on 3 September 1916 at Mouquet Farm. He was one of six brothers who enlisted, four of whom were killed in action and one was wounded. His brother Sergeant Bennett Walter Keid served in the same battalion and was also killed on the same day." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)