Keith H. - The OldWinburnians

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H. S. Keith

Full Names

Rank /Unit  

Years at Q.E.G.S.

Hubert  Sydney Keith

Leading Seaman
Royal Navy
HMS Odyssey


Date  / Place of Birth

Date  / Place of Death

Age at Death

11th January 1915

Thursday 5th of August  1943
Western  Mediterranean


Hugh, as he was known within the family, was a son of the Canon Archibald Leslie Keith. M.A & Mrs.Margaret Layard Keith, of the Vicarage, King Street, Wimborne, who originally had 7 sons and a daughter. His father was the vicar of the Minster from 1920 to 1946 .
Three of Hubert's brothers, Geoffrey, David & Archibald also died on active service.  Another brother, Michael Thomas Keith, who was at Wimborne Grammar School from May 1924 until July 1926 had died in a mountaineering accident in Switzerland, in the Spring of 1939, at the age of 22.
[Michael must have been at W.G.S from the age of 7 until 9. - GLP]
Hugh's sister, Margaret, (27),was commissioned in the A.T.S. His brother, John, formerly a curate in a Church at Greenford, Middlesex, was a Captain in the Corps of Army Chaplains. Two other brothers, Ronald & Peter who, just prior to WW2, had emigrated to New Zealand with their brother Archibald, served with the N.Z. Forces and survived the war. All three had intended to become farmers.
Hugh loved the sea and, after leaving school in Leatherhead, he immediately volunteered for the Navy. Initially he saw service in the China Sea and, at the outbreak of WW2, he is understood to have volunteered for a dangerous mission.
Following that, he applied for a transfer to serve in warships engaged in protecting merchant ships on the Arctic convoys to Russia where he was for months at risk from U-boats.
In May, on his way to Malta, he developed Typhus & died. He was, at first, thought to have been interred in Sicily. However, it is now known that the final resting place of Hugh is the Tripoli War Cemetery, Babgagaresh, Libya. This is to the west of the city of Tripoli. After the city was captured by the forces of General Montgomery, it became a base for several hospitals and the burials in the war cemetery are almost entirely from these hospitals.
Hugh's second name "Sydney", was given to him in memory of the Australian warship, which sank the German raider "Emden", off the Cocos [Keeling] Islands, in the Indian Ocean, early in the WW 1.

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