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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Trooper William Keain - 1st Australian Light Horse


Will O'Brien

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As per CWGC

Name: KEAIN, WILLIAM

Initials: W

Nationality: Australian

Rank: Trooper

Regiment/Service: Australian Light Horse

Unit Text: 1st

Date of Death: 27/07/1919

Service No: 131

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: C.E. V. 14.

Cemetery: COOLAH CEMETERY

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The Embarkation Rolls confirm William served abroad. He left Australia from Sydney on the 20th October 1914, travelling on HMAT Star of Victoria

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The Norminal Roll indicates William returned to Australia in August 1916 mid way through the war, I assume this would have been due to injury or illness.

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Found William's records digitised in the National Archive of Australia (what a fantastic resource - bit of Oz envy creeping in)

Anyhow the following is the main highlights from the 40 odd pages

William volunteered on the 22nd August 1914. He was from Rockhampton in Queensland & 23 years old at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted in Sydney & stated he was a Farmer on his enlistment form (although on later forms it simply states Bushwork). It also appeared that he had previously served for a year with the 6th Light Horse.

Physically William was small. He was 5ft 5in tall & weighed 8st 13lbs. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes & brown hair. William also had a scar on the back of his right thigh. Religiously speaking William was Church of England. His next of kin is listed as Andrew Keain, his father.

William landed at Gallipoli on 9th May 1915 & was wounded there on the 7th August whilst serving with A Squadron of the 1st HLR. He was wounded by both bullets & bomb (assume grenade rather than shell fire) & his wound to the groin was described as serious in a notification sent to his parents. He was evacuated to Malta 5 days later & from there went to England at the end of the month. On arrival in England William was admitted to the Number 2 General Hospital which was located at London St Marks College Hospital in Chelsea. He spent a number of months hospitialised (at Chelsea & Epsom) before leaving England on the 11th March 1916 from Portland. William arrived back in Australia on the 22nd April 1916.

He was discharged from the AIF on the 17th August 1916. The reason stated was Disability - Cardiac Incompetence (I assume weak heart) & Gun Shot Wound to Right Hip & Buttock. Interestingly William was a patient at Harefield in January 1916 - I wonder if that is the famous Harefield hospital (famous for the treatment of Heart problems) & if it has always been a heart related medical centre, given William's ailments. His examination at Harefield gave the following verdict - Soft Systolic murmers (anyone with medical knowledge can you explain what this means), Irregular pulse in force & rhythum & intermittent vomiting. The GSW left William with a slight disability of the right hip. It is also noted that in the opinion of the doctors, the disability was permanent

It is clear from his medical records that the Army agreed his condition was due to his active service (obvious in terms of the wounds but not so much in relation to the heart condition)

Looks like Chris got his update in before me

Edited by Will O'Brien
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It appears that William was granted a pension of £1 3s 6d as of February 1917. His mother Jane applied for it on his behalf. His parents Andrew & Jane at this time lived at 52 Jennings Street, Alexandria, Sydney having moved from 245 Henderson Road, Alexandria, Sydney in December 1915.

The pension went up to £2 5s in 1918. Theclaiment being William himself. It appears he was still living with his parents at this time.

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Odd that there is no record of his death on his records, but obviously it was accepted as being due to war causes

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Will

Have deleted my post as yours is in much more detail

Chris

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Odd that there is no record of his death on his records, but obviously it was accepted as being due to war causes

Must have been due to the injuries or heart condition for the CWGC to accept him as having war grave status. The only thing I found relating to his death was on page 39 of the records where it simply states in red hand writing on the top of the form 'Died after Discharge'

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Will

You will find a very enlightening discussion of the attack in which this trooper was wounded under the Other Theatres Discussion category.

Marg

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Will - thank you so much for telling William's story. I suppose the one consolation for his family is they got to spend more time with him, and he's buried in his homeland. May he rest in peace.

The 2 Harefield hospitals you mention are one and the same - you'll find more about it's operation in the war years here:

http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/harefield/doc.htm

Frev.

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Can't remember where I read it but it was observed that soldiers serving on Gallipoli did experience more than the usual heart problems.

Shall try to remember. It may have been the Official History Medical Volume.

Kim

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