DIVISIONAL UNIT: 4th Canadian Infantry Division
12th Infantry Brigade
38th Battalion - Ottawa
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654884
RESIDENCE: Varna – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: January 27, 1897
Varna – Stanley Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: June 28, 1917 20 years 5 months
CEMETERY: La Chaudiere Military Cemetery – Lens –
Pas de Calais - France
IV A 3
PARENT: Mr. William F. Keyes – Varna – Ontario
Occupation: Bookkeeper Religion: Presbyterian
Enlistment: London – July 6, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 19 years 6 months
Private Keyes arrived in England on November 11, 1916. At the end of the year he transferred to the 38th Battalion, went overseas and joined the unit in the field on March 16, 1917.
Private Keyes was killed in action while he on duty as the runner for his battalion and carrying messages in the trenches at Avion. He was killed instantly from the explosion of a nearby enemy shell.
The weather was warm during the day with heavy thunderstorms in morning and rain during day.
The Battalion was in the line and during the night the artillery was very active. The Battalion artillery was active on June 28th with a barrage beginning at 2:30 am that was covering the advance toward Avion. The machine-guns covered the advance.
The 3rd Division was forced from Avion Trench at the Mill and at 5:35 am a large numbers of the enemy were observed assembling and artillery could not be used because the 9th Brigade had men in the trench. The enemy was working their way up the trench from the south and the Battalion set up blocks, were attacked and held. Eventually the Battalion artillery forced the enemy to withdraw.
The enemy artillery was active with shells landing in area of Partridge Trench and the La Coulette support line which included Kirk and Quebec trenches. This is when most of the casualties took place. This is where the Battalion machine-guns were placed.
The information we were able to look at indicates that the attack by the enemy in the trenches and the ensuing fight was when Private Keyes died.