William Ernest Keeling - evidence

By Graham Keeling and Sarah Buttimore

Family tree

In 1919, Ernest Keeling (1885 - 1938) married Dorothy Roberts-Purchase (1894 - 1986)

- Joyce Keeling (1921 - 2001)
- Julia Keeling (1930 - 2015)
- Richard Keeling (1933 - 1990)

 Grandchildren via Julia:
-- Granddaughter (1960)
-- Granddaughter (1967)

 Grandchildren via Richard:
-- Grandson (1971)
-- Sarah Keeling (married Buttimore)(1975)
-- Graham Keeling (1977)
-- Granddaughter (1979)
-- Granddaughter (1981)
-- Granddaughter (1986)

Newspaper clippings

We have had, for many years, newspaper clippings of Ernest with pigeons on his motorbike during the First World War. Here are some examples. You can click on the thumbnails to see a larger view, and use the back arrow on your browser to come back to this page.

The first clipping has writing on it referencing his name, we think either by his wife or one of his children. You will also notice that a Canadian source is referenced.

In recent years, we have become interested in family history, and we have uncovered many of Ernest's letters to his future wife, and also many photos from before, during and after the War.

Original Canadian photos

In May 2019, one of Julia's granddaughters found a site that contains high quality scans of the original photos used for the clippings. The site says that they are from November 1917, and from a Canadian source. We had never seen these before. For ease of reference, these are reproduced below.

We can see that our man, in the lighter coloured jacket, recurs throughout the set, as does the man in the darker leather jacket. The 'leather jacket' man is also seen releasing pigeons in the trench.

This set of photos has also provided a location: Somewhere near to Hédauville, "a commune in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France".

Due to the high quality of these images, and scans of our own photos, we are able to cross-reference in order to positively identify not only Ernest, but also the 'leather jacket' man.

Selected known photos of Ernest

Combined headshots of Ernest

Here, we have combined headshots for easy comparison. The centre left and centre middle shots are taken from the Canadian photos. The rest are from our known photos of Ernest.

Selected known photos of Mason

If the photos of Ernest were not enough to convince, let us return to 'leather jacket' man.
We have, amongst our collection of photos of Ernest, a man called Mason.

The first photo is a group shot with Ernest on the left and Mason on the right.
The second is of Mason on his own.
The third has Ernest and Mason on the right hand side.

Combined headshots of Mason

Here, we have combined headshots of Mason for easy comparison. The top row is taken from the Canadian photos. The bottom row are from our known photos of Mason.

We strongly believe that the two men that most feature throughout the Canadian photos are Ernest Keeling and Mason.