Eustace Keogh as a Lieutenant Colonel during WWII. Courtesy of AWM (120551).
Sapper Eustace Graham Keogh
St Patrick’s Catholic School Roll of Honour
Born: 24 April 1899 - Rutherglen, Victoria
Enlisted: 10 May 1916 aged 18*
Unit: 1st Australian Wireless Squadron, Reinforcement 3 (SERN: 14516)
Served: Mesopotamia (Iraq), Persia (Iran) & Kurdistan
Died: 9 November 1981 - Melbourne, Victoria
Eustace Graham Keogh was born at Rutherglen in April 1899. He was the son of Dr Arthur Keogh and his wife Ellen. Dr Keogh served as Berwick Shire’s Health Officer from 1908 until late 1910. Eustace attended St Patrick’s School before the family moved to Footscray. In May 1916 Eustace enlisted in the Army. As Eustace was under-age (he was still a student and working as a farm hand), he needed his parents‘ permission to enlist. His father only gave this on condition that Eustace was not sent overseas until he had turned nineteen (1). Eustace subsequently served as a driver with the 1st Australia and New Zealand Signals Squadron supporting the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in Mesopotamia (Iraq), Persia (Iran) and Kurdistan during British operations against the Ottoman Empire. During his time in Iraq, he wrote home describing Baghdad with a literary flair which played an important role later in his career: “everything is bright with colour. Roses are everywhere and the creepers ... are all out in blossom. Purple and white lilac is everywhere. The people all seem happy, contented and prosperous ... In the evening the whole population turns out in their gayest clothes for the evening’s promenade. Watching them from the roof of our billet, one catches a glimpse of the beauty and romance with which Baghdad is accredited ... The domes and minarets, towers and palms, are faintly outlined against the crimson sunset ...” (2). Eustace also spent some time in hospital in India during the War (3).
After the War, Eustace rejoined the regular Army, making it his career. During WWII, he saw active service again in the Middle East, where he was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished service (4). He also served in Greece and New Guinea, before being appointed to a senior training role. He ended the War with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After being demobilised from the Army, Eustace became editor of the Australian Army Journal and a leading Australian military historian and author. In 1957, Eustace was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by HM The Queen. He died in 1981 (5).
* Although Eustace stated he was 18 on his enlistment papers, from his date of birth, he must have been only 17 years old.
(1) & (3) NAA B884 VX11986
(2) The Independent (Footscray), 6/7/1918, p.2
(4) The London Gazette, Issue 35526, 16 April 1942, p. 1696
(5) Dennis, Grey et.al. (1995) p. 330