Skip to main content

William Keys

Date of Birth

12 October 1881


Borough Road College


Teacher at Swaffield Road, Wandsworth, London

Service number


WW1 rank

Lance Sergeant

Seaforth Highlanders, 4th Battalion

Theatre of war


Date of death

9 May 1915

Location of death

The Battle of Festeburt, France


Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (Grave/Memorial reference: Panel 38 and 39)


Lance Sergeant William Keys came from a large family, having three brothers and five sisters. He spent two years at Borough Road College, graduating from the college with Matriculation and a 2 on his certificate exam. After leaving the college he worked as a teacher in Wandsworth, London. Keys was apparently a gifted musician with a rich baritone voice, and assisted his school choir at the Paris Music Festival in May 1912 and sang at Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 1913, as well as conducting the singing of the mass schools of Wandsworth in the coronation festivities of 1911. He joined the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders on 1st September 1914 and was in the trenches by Xmas. He was 34 when he was killed at the Battle of Festeburt on 9 May 1915; he had been leading his platoon after his officer and sergeant were killed.


Entry on p.85 [Roll of Honour page], Mentioned on Framed Borough Road College Roll of Honour, Borough Road College 1900 applications, Secondary source information provided by Douglas Craik (taken from Commonwealth War Graves Commission), 1903 Annual Report, The O.B.’s War Hum and Roll of Service (1918, 4th Edition)