Sir William Keys

‘One chap who was the life of the party and one of the brightest sparks of the company was calling-out to us.’

25 June 2020

Today we remember Sir William Keys, who had a distinguished military career which included serving in the Korean War, but it was the New Guinea campaign during the Second World War that left Bill with a long lasting memory.

Sir William Keys — One chap who was the life of the party and one of the brightest sparks of the company was calling-out to us.

Sir William Keys audio file (MP4 24.02 MB)

Sir William Keys audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — (The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia)

August the 15th marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Australia remembers Sir William Keys, who had a distinguished military career which included serving in the Korean War.

But it was the New Guinea campaign during the Second World War that provided Bill with a memory that remained burnt into his mind.

Sir William Keys

“I think that when you, perhaps when you see your first dead friend is when you feel the impact of active service more than at any other time. And I can remember on one occasion in Finschhafen, a platoon passed through us. And one chap who was the life of the party and one of the brightest sparks of the company was calling-out to us.

What seemed like almost moments later, the stretcher-bearers were bringing a body back for evacuation and it was the same chap. And I looked down at him, and the face that had been laughing moments before was … was grey and still.

And I think that, probably, in the Second World War, affected me more than any other individual event.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.

Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling provides free and confidential support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Help is available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit OpenArms.gov.au