William Elliott KEENE

KEENE, William Elliott

Service Number: 1712
Enlisted: 10 May 1915, Liverpool
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 18th Infantry Battalion
Born: Murrurundi, New South Wales, Australia, 14 May 1897
Home Town: Scone, Upper Hunter Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Maitland Boys' High School, Maitland, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Tonbridge, Kent, England, 1967
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Gundy District Great War Honour Roll, Gundy Public School Honour Roll, Maitland High School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

10 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, Liverpool
19 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Kanowna, Sydney
19 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion
28 Aug 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli, Bomb wound to forehead
3 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW face (slight)
23 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 61st Infantry Battalion
21 Sep 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 18th Infantry Battalion
29 Jul 1918: Promoted Lance Corporal, 18th Infantry Battalion
8 Aug 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, GSW right thigh
14 Mar 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 1712, 18th Infantry Battalion, Discharged in England

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Private William Elliott Keene is 22 years of age and was born at Gundy and educated at the Maitland Boys’ High School. He is the son of Thomas George and Martha Keene of “Weetah”, Scone, New South Wales. He enlisted on 14 May 1915 and was only ten days in camp when he embarked for Egypt. After a fortnights training he went straight into the line at Gallipoli and was wounded on 28 August 1915. He did not leave the peninsula as the wound was slight and after a short rest he went into the firing line again and remained there until the evacuation.

He then returned to Egypt and later was sent to France and in May 1916 went into action at Flers. From there he went further up the Somme and then back to Armentieres where he was wounded in August 1916. He returned to England and after being discharged from hospital was appointed to Headquarters staff. In May 1918 he returned to France and was again wounded.

On 5 October 1918 he married Miss Nellie Roberta Prewett, a daughter of Mr Thomas Prewett of 34 Coombe Lane, Tottenham Park, Wimbleton, London at the Kingston Registry Office, Surrey. William Keene was discharged in the United Kingdom before he and his wife returned privately to Australia via Canada in November 1919. After 12 months in Australia the couple returned to England where William became a Dairy Manager. Over the following 15 years he made several visits to Australia. William Keene died in England in 1967 aged 70.

His brother Lieutenant Roy Oscar Claude Keene was killed in action on 16 November 1917 whilst serving with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade.


Australia's Fighting Sons of the Empire: Portraits and Biographies of Australians in the Great War, P. 256