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Remembered Today:

George Keill

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Ian Underwood

Before I initiate a PRO search, I thought that given his unusual (German) surname and the fact he was a pilot in the RFC, someone may have come across him in their research.

Born to German immigrants in the East End of London, he immigrated to Canada and flew with the RFC and later the RAF and survived the war. I have two photographs of him, one in the 'Russian style' RFC jacket and another in a more standard RAF uniform.

A great uncle I did'nt know I had until about 4 months ago, apparrently he survived two crashes and ended the war with a plate in his head, and returned to Canada and made it big in the lumbar business.

any luck?

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Hi Ian,

I checked the CEF attestation papers online for a George Keill the only one available on line lists his place of birth as a town in New York State USA.

See link below:

Archives George Keill

I have a similar situation with a named local service medal from Glen Ridge NJ this gentlman enlisted in the RAF in Canada and his attestation papers are also unavailable online.( see posting under soldiers)

Is it possible that enlisting in the RFC/RAF wouldn't require an attestation paper like other CEF enlistees? Or am I reading too much into a coincicence?

Take care,


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Hi Ian:

You may want to post your question on the Aerodrome forum. The guys at Aerodrome have been very helpful with a couple of RFC/RAF research questions I've had regarding Canadians.

Also, you might want to e-mail Baker Pal 'Dolphin'. He's been extremely generous with his time in helping me with some WWI air war questions. :D


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A canadian in the British flying services would only have a C.E.F. attestation if he joined the C.E.F. in Canada and later transfered to the R.F.C. or R.A.F.

Most joined the R.F.C. or R.A.F. in Canada and never went near the C.E.F. Another bunch joined the R.N.A.S. (I appologize for using acronyms so freely).

Due to the limitations of the paper trails, it is not possible to know precisely how many Canadians served in the British flying services. The 'official' figure is 22812, of whom the 'official' number joining from the C.E.F. is 3960. Another version puts this latter number at 4580.

I am afraid this information may raise more questions than it answers.

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Hi James,

That at least confirms my suspicion that to join the RFC/RAF one would not , necessarily, attest to the CEF.



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There was no Canadian Air Force. The man I studied did have Canadian attestation, was I believe 2d to last RFC man to die, died here in Kentucky after immigrating from New Brunswick between the wars.

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For all pratical purposes, there was no Candain air force in the Great War. However, before some other nit-picker jumps in I will list the exceptions of which I am aware.

1. A Canadian Aeroplane Corps of two pilots and one areoplane sailed to England with the first contingent in 1914. It got lost in the administration and disappeared.

2. A Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was formed late in the war for service on the Canadian east coast. It was at first heavily depedent on the U.S. Navy and its full deployment was overtaken by the armistice.

3. A Canadian Air Force was founded in England in the summer of 1918. It was still forming at the armistice and its two squadrons were dispanded the following year.

As a peace offering for being so pedantic I offer the following Kentucky man who served in the C.E.F. in case he is not in your file. (I presume you are the world authority on Kentuckians in the Great War :-) ).

Sapper Joseph Hebb(No. 2627320) of 536 West Jefferson St. Louisville, Ky.

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Thanks a lot. I am getting a new headstone for a black man who was CEF, Forestry Corps, Lexington man, George Ash French. He apparently thought Montreal was better for a black guy than here in 1919, stated in Montreal died there of TB next year, accepted as war death 1931 though discharged as completely healthy. It will be in place in August.

That's a lot more CAF than I knew. My fellow's commission was RFC. He never left Canada though he was RFC, not RAF, was under orders but war ended. Can't think of name at the moment, placed an obit in Bulletin, said the was last RFC, next issue corrected me! Guy knew a survivor in UK who was the last man. Wouldn't it have been something for last RFC to die in Kentucky! Have to settle for next to last.

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