Sir William Keys - One In A Million video transcript

Last updated: 
21 August 2020

Onscreen text: 1 million Australians enlisted to serve in the Second World War. William Keys was one of them.

One moment is indelibly etched in his memory. It happened at Finschhafen, New Guinea…

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 grey and still.

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

Onscreen text: Sir William Keys AC, OBE, MC, 1923 –2000