Adrian St. Vincent Keyes

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Commander (retired) Adrian St. Vincent Keyes, C.B.E., D.S.O., (19 December, 1882 – 6 October, 1926) served in the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. His naval career and life were perhaps dampened by health concerns, but his gallant performances in support of operations at Gallipoli while in command of H.M.S. Wolverine would earn him a D.S.O..

Life & Career

Keyes was born in Secunderabad, Hyderabad the son of General Sir Charles Patton Keyes of the Indian Army and the younger brother of Roger John Brownlow Keyes, Adrian was raised by his mother, Lady Katherine. Adrian gained eight months' time on passing out of Britannia.

Keyes served in the cruisers H.M.S. Talbot, Hermes and Blenheim before being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 31 December, 1902. In mid 1903 he was appointed to Latona and Thames for submarines. On 9 September, 1904, he was placed in command of an unspecified submarine, in which he would serve until 27 October 1905, when he was appointed to Forth to instruct officers and men in submarines and to command submarines himself. On 20 December an accident damaged the engine of B 3 and Keyes was the target of the Admiralty's displeasure. On 24 July, 1906 he was discharged from Plymouth Hospital and was to try to join Implacable by R.F.A. Maine, leaving Portsmouth on 6 August. However, this appointment was cancelled, as later that month he was sent back to Haslar Hospital with a syphilis diagnosis. On 8 September, 1906, Keyes was appointed to Prince of Wales. During his time in her, he contributed to good results in a gunlayer's test. Keyes arrived back in England on 13 August, 1907. On 8 September, he was appointed to Mercury, additional, for duty with submarines.[1]

On 10 February 1909 Keyes was admitted to Haslar suffering from gonorrhea and scabies. He was discharged back to Mercury fit on 16 March. It was concluded that he was not fit for submarine work after being infected with venereal disease. He was sent to H.M.S. Excellent for a short course in gunnery and then appointed to Boadicea as first and gunnery officer, temporary, in mid 1909. When Boadicea became flagship of Commodore (T), Keyes transferred to Topaze. In April, 1910, a dockyard accident killed stagemaker W. Long on Topaze. The Commander-in-Chief determined that Keyes had made an error in judgment of the strength of mast fittings and was cautioned to be more careful in future.[2]

On 17 August, 1910, Keyes was admitted to Haslar for three weeks with an injured left ankle. He was fit again on 2 September and he began a series of four command appointments in destroyers and torpedo boats that would take him to retirement in two years time. The first appointment was in Fawn, in November, 1910. Keyes was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 19 December, 1910.[3]

On 18 April, 1912, Keyes was admitted to Chatham Hospital with gout. He was fit six days later. Though Keyes was thanked for contributing to good battle practice results in Basilisk, he was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 22 June, 1912, to receive a step in rank at age 40. It can only be guessed that his serial health issues were a factor in this decision.[4]

Keyes was employed at Headquarters, Canadian Naval Service on 7 August, 1914, and then appointed to H.M.S. Shearwater and to command of her small submarine flotilla on the West Coast of North America. In mid-January, he was ordered to return home by his first convenient means. In April, 1915, he was sent to the Dardanelles for embarkation duties, but at the end of the month he was appointed in command of the Modified "W" Class destroyer Wolverine. On 10 November 1915 his repeated good services in command were noted by Generals Hunter Weston and Davies, but wartime promotion was refused him. Nonetheless, his work off the Gallipoli coast continued to impress and would result in a D.S.O. as he "showed great coolness, gallantry & ability" of such a degree that the successful landings on "Y" beach were judged to have largely rested on his performance.[5]

Keyes was promoted to the rank of Acting Commander on 14 July, 1916 and appointed in command of Ness. On 21 July, he stranded her and was cautioned to be more careful in future.[6]

Keyes was appointed in command of the decoy ship Q 26 on 15 February, 1917. She was renamed Mavis on 1 May, 1917. Having recently suffered from rheumatism, on 21 June, 1917 Keyes was appointed to work with the Commander-in-Chief, Devonport on anti-submarine duties. On 1 December, 1917 he was appointed in command of Onyx. On 14 January, 1918 he was given the additional mantle of Senior Naval Officer, Torquay.[7]

Keyes was promoted to the rank of Acting Captain on 1 August, 1918 and made Chief Staff officer to the C-in-C, Devonport.[8]

Keyes was promoted to the rank of Commander (retired) for War Services on 11 November, 1918.[9]

Post-War

Keyes was awarded a C.B.E. (mil) for his services on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth in 1919. He reverted to the Retired List on 6 June, 1919. Soon thereafter, the Admiralty had to inform the C-in-C that Keyes would not be eligible for the confirmed rank of Captain.

Keyes died at a nursing home in Edinburgh on 6 October, 1926, as reported in The Times the following day.

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Hugh F. W. Wyldbore-Smith
Captain of H.M.S. Onyx
4 Oct, 1907[10][11] – 1 Nov, 1908[12]
Succeeded by
Ernest W. Leir
Preceded by
Montague G. B. Legge
Captain of H.M.S. Fawn
Nov, 1910[13][14] – 7 May, 1911[15]
Succeeded by
Wilfrid W. Hunt
Preceded by
Henry P. Wilson
Captain of H.M. T.B. 4
7 May, 1911[16] – 15 Aug, 1911[17]
Succeeded by
Geoffrey S. Holden
Preceded by
Clive C. H. Maitland-Addison
Captain of H.M.S. Boyne
15 Aug, 1911[18] – 24 Aug, 1911[19]
Succeeded by
Sydney Hopkins
Preceded by
William D. Irvin
Captain of H.M.S. Basilisk
24 Aug, 1911[20] – 12 Jun, 1912[21]
Succeeded by
Edwin A. Homan
Preceded by
Frederic H. Walter
as Captain of H.M.S. Shearwater
Captain of H.M.C.S. Shearwater
6 Aug, 1914 – Apr, 1915[22][Inference]
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Osmond J. Prentis
Captain of H.M.S. Wolverine
28 Apr, 1915[23][24] – 14 Jul, 1916[25]
Succeeded by
Martin J. C. de Meric
Preceded by
Ian C. S. Hilton
Captain of H.M.S. Ness
14 Jul, 1916[26][27] – 9 Feb, 1917[28]
Succeeded by
Herbert G. Briggs

Footnotes

  1. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  2. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  3. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  4. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  5. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  6. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  7. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  8. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  9. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  10. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  11. The Navy List. (October, 1908). p. 318.
  12. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  13. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  14. The Navy List. (April, 1911). p. 313-5.
  15. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  16. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  17. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  18. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  19. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  20. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  21. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  22. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  23. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  24. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 399k.
  25. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  26. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.
  27. The Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 396f.
  28. Keyes Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/75. f. 280.