Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 18, 1886
Place of BirthMaldon, Essex
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRhoda Keeble, mother, 22 King St, Maldon, Essex, England
Trade / CallingMiller
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439050
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 23, 1959
Age at Death73

Keeble, Louis Edwin

Louis Edwin Keeble was born on 18 September 1886 in Maldon, Essex, England. His father William Keeble, master mariner, was from Hockley while his mother Rhoda Stanes was from Steeples, both in Essex. The couple married on 20 December 1871 in Marylebone, London. Children born to the family, all in Maldon, were Ada Susanna (1875), Eliza Bruce (1876), Ethel Mary (1877), Ellen Rachel (1879), William Thomas (1881-1904), Jane Amelia (1882), Ebenezer John (1884), Ruth Emily (1885), Louis Edwin, and Simeon James (1890-1905). By the 1901 England census Louis was also working as a mariner.

Ebenezer was the first to immigrate to Canada, arriving in 1907 and settling in the Kenora/Keewatin area in northwestern Ontario. With occupation given as sailor, Louis arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the  Empress of Ireland on 25 November 1910. He was on his way to Kenora with the intention of working as a railroad labourer. Instead it appears that Louis found work with the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in nearby Keewatin.

Louis signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 24 December 1914. His occupation was given as miller and his mother Rhoda back in England as next of kin. Organized in March of 1915 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel AW Hay with recruitment in Port Arthur, Kenora, Fort Frances, Fort William and Dryden, the 52nd Battalion was mobilized at Port Arthur. Along with a number of other fellows from Kenora and Keewatin, Private Louis Edwin Keeble embarked from Montreal aboard the  Missanabie with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion on 4 September 1915.

Once in England Louis was taken on strength with the 12th Reserve Battalion and appointed as Lance Corporal in February of 1916. In mid March he spent a few days in the Central Military Hospital and then was on command to the 10th Brigade Signal Company. By mid July he had qualified as 1st Class in Telegraphs and Signals and transferred briefly to the 23rd Battalion for a couple of days and then on to the 24th Battalion, reverting to the rank of Private and taken on strength in the field on August 18th.

In May of 1917 Louis spent a few days at the No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance with a fever of unknown origin. On 15 August 1917, at Hill 70, he suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and head.  ‘The  Battle of Hill 70  was a localized battle between the Canadian Corps  and five divisions of the  German 6th Army. The battle took place along the  Western Front  on the outskirts of  Lens  in the  Nord Pas de Calais region of France between 15 August 1917 and 25 August 1917.  The primary objective of the assault was to inflict casualties and draw German troops away from the 3rd Battle of Ypres rather than to capture territory. To achieve this objective, the Canadian Corps executed an operation designed to first occupy the high ground at Hill 70 quickly and then establish defensive positions from which combined small arms and artillery fire, some of which used the technique of  predicted fire for the first time, could be used to repel German counterattacks and inflict as many casualties as possible. A later attempt by the Canadian Corps to extend its position into the city of Lens itself failed. Both sides suffered high casualty rates and Lens remained under German control. In both the German and the Canadian assessments of the battle was that it succeeded in its attritional objective. The battle consisted of extensive use of  poison gas by both sides, including the newly introduced German  Yellow Cross  shell containing the blistering agent  sulphur mustard. Ultimately, the goals of the Canadian Corps were only partially accomplished. The Canadians were successful in preventing German formations from transferring local men and equipment to aid in defensive operations in the Ypres Salient but failed to draw in troops from other areas.’  (Wikipedia)

Louis was first admitted to the No 56 General Hospital in Etaples and then on to the Military Hospital at Lichfield on August 31st. On September 7th he was transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom and then to the Manor (County of London) War Hospital on the 25th. Louis was returned to Woodcote Park for a week in mid October and discharged on the 17th of December. He was diagnosed with otitis media, inflammation of the middle ear. The shrapnel had hit near his left ear and it was decided that it would be better to not attempt to remove it. Louis had continual discharge from the ear with accompanying deafness.

Louis was granted a furlough to Maldon that December and then was returned to Canada in late January of 1918, admitted to the Tuxedo Military Hospital in Winnipeg. He was to spend time in isolation due to trench mouth which in turn caused necessary dental work. His ear continued to be troublesome, with discharge and deafness. Louis was discharged from service as medically unfit on 31 October 1918 in Winnipeg.

After the war Louis made his home in Winnipeg as did his brother Ebenezer. The 1921 Canada census found Edwin living with his brother and family, along with lodger Maude Ann Poole. Born in 1891 in St Pancreas London, Maude was the daughter of Frederick and Phoebe (née Clark) Poole. Her father was a mineral water manufacturer. Maude had arrived in Canada on 18 May 1920 aboard the  Haverford, on her way to Winnipeg to work as a domestic. On 11 June 1921, in Winnipeg, Louis and Maude married. The couple gave birth to three children, daughters Eileen and Beryl (aka Betty) and son Earle. Louis worked for the Canadian National Railway as a labourer for twenty five years, retiring around 1951 when the couple moved to Saanich/Victoria, British Columbia.

Louis died on 23 December 1959 in Victoria, British Columbia. After his death Maude stayed in British Columbia and passed away on 15 August 1987. Cremation was through Royal Oak Crematorium in Saanich.

By Judy Stockham

 

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