Wilfred Keeling

Wilf Keeling was born 21 November 2022 at 12:36 weighing in at 3.29 kg. Wilf and Harriet are both doing well. Harry and Florence are obviously very happy too.


Cricket Archives Revealed

Hi all,

I have in my possession a number of Keeling Cricket score books. They capture a significant chunk of the history of our great battle against the Village and bored a few weekends ago I started to analyse some of the data. This quickly turned into a major exercise which secretly I quite enjoyed! Having now ‘completed’ the data gathering and carried out some simple analysis, I thought I’d share on the blog for two reasons.

Firstly some of you might find it interesting too! 

Secondly I’m missing quite a few years' worth of data and somewhere there might be score books containing what’s missing. I have asked the Village but they don’t think they have any legacy score books. I’d love to complete the picture so if anyone comes across them please let me know.
Download the Excel spreadsheet here. You might need to use the download button at the top right on the next screen. Which might be hidden in the ⋮ menu. Sorry! 

Lots of love,
Harry

Keelings 114 vs Sedlescombe 111

The weekend properly started on Saturday with lunch and games at Jacobs which is almost finished and is looking spanking new. There was a great turn out - nearly 50 people - it was lovely to see all the relatives and catch up and get to know them better.

After lunch there was bicycle polo on the rather battered lawn followed by water melon water polo which worked out better this year without any melons getting smashed.


On Sunday the cricket match officially began at 11.30 at the very swanky Polegrove cricket ground almost on the seafront in Bexhill. It was about the most exciting cricket match I ever saw. Sedlescombe batted first. As lunchtime approached there last two batsmen made a stand of 33 which delayed lunch and took them to 111. It seemed like an achievable total to beat. Our innings started after lunch. Josh got 27 runs and Ted 24 and we were heading in the right direction. Then our star man JJ came in and was out for 4. And the runs slightly dried up for us. Paul got 12 and then we only we only had three batters left: Fred who was hitting them up and Tom at number 11 and Simon who came in to join Fred when the score was 110 runs to us. Simon was out for a duck! Tom came in. I could barely look. Tom survived a ball then Fred was facing and he hit a four. It was over, we had won.



There are lots more photos here

Walking in the WW1 footsteps of Captain Arthur Gibbs MC

In September 2022, a small contingent of Keelings* made a pilgrimage to northern France to visit some of the places where Captain Arthur Gibbs MC had fought as part of the Welsh Guards during World War One. 


(Spoiler alert: he survived, came home, married and had a family AKA us).


The genesis of this trip was Arthur’s wartime letters to his parents, which his daughter (my granny) Jenny Keeling turned into a book in 2010, sending copies to everyone in the family. 

Simon Keeling, Jenny’s son and my uncle, then picked up the family history baton including researching the history of the Welsh Guards during World War One. This invaluable research provides the true and awful context behind Arthur’s veiled and censor-proof references to events unfolding around him. For example, “an awful 3 days” is his brief and low-key reference to a stint at the front during the 100-day Battle of Passchendaele. (You can read a summary of Simon’s research here).


We were also helped by the extremely knowledgeable military historian Andy Robertshaw, who was our guide on this trip, and had endless facts and stories for every place we visited which really brought things to life.


Day one: Arthur in battle


On our first day, we visited two locations where Arthur, as part of the Prince of Wales’ company, had been in action.


The first was in and around the village of Ginchy, where Arthur was involved in his first attack. Afterwards, on 18th September 1916, he wrote to his father: “Just a line to tell you that I am all right. We have had a pretty hot time of it: we did an attack and got it pretty hot. We were on the go for 3 days, and never got more than an hours sleep. The weather was fine luckily, but the nights were awfully cold, as there was a north wind the whole time. We had a severe shelling some of the time, and I am rather shaky at present. But after a few good sleeps I shall be quite all right.” He continues: “I am glad I have been through my first attack. It wasn’t nearly so bad as I expected it would be.”


Thanks to Simon and Andy’s research and expert knowledge, we were able to stand just outside the village Ginchy from which Arthur and his colleagues set off, and looked across the fields to Les Boeufs village which they had been instructed to take from the Germans. We were also able to see, to our left, the village of Guedecourt which the company mistook for Les Boeufs after getting disorientated in tall standing crops. (Simon’s research gives a more detailed account of this fortnight-long battle which was cursed by difficulties and set-backs, see p18 and 19). 


Our second location on day one was Gouzeaucourt village where, we think, Arthur won his military cross (MC) after successfully taking a German trench and 200 German prisoners. Arthur writes about this skirmish in a letter to his mother on 3 December 1917, saying: “Well, this is active service, and no doubt about it.”


Simon’s research shows that Arthur and his Prince of Wales’ company were ordered up a hill to assault a German position, despite several attempts having already failed because, it turned out, there was a false crest behind which the Germans were hidden with their machine guns. As Arthur describes in his 3 December letter: “The attack started and we were met with terrific machine gun fire, which held us up absolutely about 200 yards away from the place we had started from [a railway line in Gouzeaucourt]. I was ordered up to reinforce the few men that were left alive, and hold that line and advance if possible, if the enemy resistance got weaker.”


In present day Gouzeaucourt, we were able to find the same railway line, walk up the same slope and find the same false crest on which Arthur and his two platoons got stuck, pinned down by German machine guns. Arthur continues in his letter: “After a bit, some tanks came up to help, and did the most wonderful work, going right along the enemy trench that was holding us up. When the tanks had mopped up most of the enemy in this trench, I got forward into it with a few men (a distance of about 300 yards), found that things were all right, and sent back immediately for more men to come up and so got the trench.” 


Arthur makes it all sound very easy (which it undoubtedly was not) and he neglects to mention in his letter that he captured 200 Germans and 26 German guns, all with no further casualties to his own side. In the words of GH Dudley Ward, author of The History of the Welsh Guards, Arthur “appears to have timed the move to a second, as two platoons got across without a casualty, and relieved the tank of 200 of the enemy who were clustered in front of it with their hands up.”


Arthur finishes his 3 December 1917 letter, reassuring his mother: “Now we have finished a real good meal...I feel about 5 years younger already. I really feel remarkably fit and well. I am rather tired, and my limbs are aching a bit from that and my feet are a little sore, otherwise I’m in splendid form and quite ready for another scrap if need be.” 


A month later, on 4 January 1918, Arthur was awarded his military cross. There is no citation with the award, so we can’t be 100% sure this attack was the reason he got it, but the timing and the success of capturing 200 Germans and 26 enemy guns seem to fit. 


(Simon’s research gives a more detailed account of this attack on p25 and 26).


Day two: Arthur at rest


The next day we visited Poperinge in Belgium, where Arthur and many other soldiers spent their rest periods between stints on the Somme frontline. 

In the main square of modern-day Poperinge we visited a statue of ‘Ginger’, the child of a local restaurant owner who became famous amongst allied soldiers. In a letter home on 5 June 1916, from Camp L near Poperinghe, Arthur writes:  “I am amused to hear about Marjorie [Arthur’s sister] writing to Ginger to find out her age. I wonder how old Ronnie said she was. I still maintain she is 12 or 13, but not much taller than Marjorie. She has got the most wonderful ginger-auburn hair that I have ever seen. It is remarkable that she hasn’t been more spoilt by the officers as she must be well known to anyone who has spent a day or two in Pop. The restaurant where she is usually, is known as ‘Ginger’s’, and is the only place in the town where you can get any food.” 


(You can read more about Ginger, real name Eliane Cossey, in Wikipedia).


Just over a month later, on 9 July 1916, Arthur is back in Poperinghe. He writes: “Ginger’s restaurant has been shut for 3 weeks by the order of the APM as they didn’t shut punctually at 10pm. Another very good restaurant for officers has just opened, and Ginger’s people are spending their enforced holiday in painting and papering, so as not to be cut out by the new restaurant.”


This “other very good restaurant” was, we think, a place dubbed ‘Skindles’ by officers because it reminded them of Skindles Hotel in Maidenhead. The Poperinghe version of Skindles still exists today and is operating as a guest house. The owners have restored the early 20th century decor which Arthur would have known and they let us have a wander around, imagining him eating his dinner in the dining room.

The same letter on 9 July continues: “An officers’ Club, Toc. H, has just been opened. It is a very nice place indeed. There is an excellent sitting room, with all the papers, and 2 dining rooms. There is an awfully nice garden, with easy chairs and hammocks in it.”


Toc H, also know as Talbot House, has been turned into a museum to WW1 and so we were able to wander around the lovely garden and the period rooms really getting a sense of where Arthur and others came for a bit of respite after time on the frontline.


A final note: if you’re noticing a lot of food references in Arthur’s letters home, you are not the only one. GH Dudley Ward, author of The History of the Welsh Guards, talks in his diaries about the difficulty of keeping up morale on the Somme during 1916, adding: “The only person in the officers’ mess who seemed indifferent [to] these times, provided he got plenty of food, was Arthur Gibbs. Arthur Gibb’s chief recollection and great concern in the Somme fighting was the loss of a tin of cherries.”


Jokes and stiff upper lips aside, the trip was a real eye opener to the horror and futility of the First World War. It was incredibly powerful to be able to walk in the footsteps of my great grandfather, while simultaneously reading his descriptions of what he was seeing and feeling at that time. And, of course, we're unbelievably grateful and lucky that he made it home, unlike the millions of other people who didn't.


Other places of interest


We visited lots of other places which were not so specific to Arthur but massively improved our understanding of World War One, including:


*Our Keeling contingent was made up of Archie, Eila, Harry, Ruth (me), Simon, Tom (Snr), and Ursula Keeling.


Other links and sources



Eila & Ursula find Lt Col Charles Duncombe's grave

Lochnagar crater

Menin Gate

War grave cemetery

All My Friends Hate Me

Tom Palmer
Howard Palmer tells us that ...

Tom’s film “All My Friends Hate Me” is now or is about to be released in England through a distribution chain of cinemas called the PictureHouse Group of cinemas.

Go to https://www.picturehouses.com/ and choose a cinema near you and muddle your way through to book tickets. From the look of it the Cinemas in London are geared up to showing it for a week from 9th June.

It is also at the British Film Institute Cinema on South Bank ) Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT) until the last week in June See https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/default.asp and search the title of the film


It is a dark comedy – but I wont tell you much about it. Has excellent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (93%) and metacritic.com (79%), and less good ones on imdb (6/10), all of which will tell you more about the plotline if you want to know it in advance.

Missing gun


Arthur Gibbs' WW1 service revolver, Mark V Webley revolver, serial number 134554

Family might be interested to see these pictures of AG's service revolver, with his name A Gibbs engraved on it.  AG joined the East Surrey Regiment (today existing under the umbrella of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment), on 26 Feb 1915 and transferred into the then newly formed Welsh Guards on 9 Sep 1915.  I came by the photos in 2014 when I was enquiring with Welsh Guards about AG's Military Cross.  

The photos had been sent to Welsh Guards in 2006 by a retired US lawyer / gun enthusiast, living in San Francisco;  he had come across the gun when invited by another gun enthusiast to 'have a play' with it.  The first mentioned gun enthusiast had been interested by the engravings on the butt of the gun, photographed it, and wrote to Welsh Guards regimental HQ in London to see if he could find out anything about it.  In 2006 the regimental HQ was unable to help but in 2014 gave me copies of the correspondence (including the photos) and I was able to speak to the retired US lawyer, then still living in San Francisco.

I wondered in 2014 how the gun happened to be in the USA in the ownership of a gun enthusiast;  and at around the time saw Emma Turner (nee Gibbs) one day, and showed the photos to her.   She said, 'I know exactly how it came to be in America;  Daddy took it there and sold it!'.   So the supposition is that that AG would have come home from WW1 and taken up civilian and family life, married Barbar, etc, etc, and when it was David's turn to go to war in the 1940s AG would have said to him, David, take my gun.  David did so, survived WW2, returned home, married, had two daughters, divorced and emigrated to America to live in New York where (I suppose) he sold it and the gun worked its way from owner to owner to arrive in San Francisco in 2006.

I'm having a go at finding it.  It's a needle in a haystack but internet and www make it just bearable / possible where it would have been plainly ridiculous twenty years ago.

Simon, s.keeling@icloud.com

Lara Romilly Keeling

Lucy Archie
Lara         
A big welcome to Lara Romilly Keeling who was born to Lucy on 6 January with a little help from Archie.

Jacobs farm photo albums: 1974 Apr - 1978 July JBK

Keelings, Christmas 1974
Granny's photo album from April 1974 to July 1978. Featuring:

People
Barbar (Barbara) Gibbs
Granny, Grandpa, Robert, Trevor, George, Simon, David, Tom, Jim, Paul
Keelings: Jocelyn, Johnny, John
Keelings: Bri, Magdelise
Hudsons: Loveday, Philip
Woodward Fisher: Anne, Ken, Charles, Jane, Emma 
Eddis: Francis, Mary, Chris
Courtenays: Sara, William, Lucy, Caroline, Mr. James
Jonathan Lane, Jeremy Hill, Margaret Marsden, Peg Eva, Benita Sayth, Rowes, Penmans, Darby & Joan, Father McCurdy, Robert Newham, Jane and Pete Gardener-Hill, David Gibbs

Places
Jacobs Farm, Sedlescombe hunt, Albert Place, Dolphins, Mill Hill hang gliding, Saas Fee, Sardinia

Horses and other animals
Black King, Tabitha, Miss Moppet
Dog: Mini, Mr. Fox, Chickens 

Bill Palmer Obituary

 
Young Bill
Rachel Williams, a distant relative, told me about this obituary of Uncle Bill in the Guards Magazine.
Captain Bill Palmer CBE DL, 
Late Grenadier Guards, 
by his son Howard Palmer QC

William Alexander (Bill) Palmer was born on 21st May 1925 in Down Street in London. He died at home on 31 October 2020, the last survivor of the fourth and final generation of Palmers to serve as directors in the firm of biscuit manufacturers, Huntley & Palmers of Reading. The firm had been founded by Bill’s great great uncle, George Palmer, in partnership with Thomas Huntley, in 1842, and they had been joined soon afterwards by George’s  .......

Cricket match weekend Sept 17-19 2021

The annual Keeling-Sedlescombe cricket match was rained off in 2019 and COVID cancelled in 2020. It came back in full glory on Sunday 19 Sept at Brightling Park near Robertsbridge. It was preceded on Friday by a convergence of the clan on Jacobs and Northlands and a feast and games on Saturday at Jacobs. It was also the 50th anniversary of the family moving into Jacobs.

At Northlands Farm we whiled away the evenings with parlour games of which there are photos. There is no record of quiet evenings at Jacobs. Fire Hockey was the preferred way to pass the time. Apparently Simon caught fire and had to be doused with a fire extinguisher.
On Saturday caterers provided a plentiful lunch in a marquee on the lawn. The sun shone gloriously and there was a photo shoot, bicycle polo and then water polo. They had to play water polo with a football instead of a water melon because a certain perfidious person pushed the ref Polly into the pool and the only surviving melon was smashed. In the resulting fracas, I and my phone joined her. The evidence is in the photos. This made my journey back to Berlin even more difficult as you can read below.

Missing: Alice, Luke, Viv, Art, Dulcie; Kate, Will, Jasper, Monty (came to cricket); Harry Harriet, Florence; Archie, Lucy; Jasper, Zak 


The official plans for the weekend are here. It did not all work out as expected. Some went missing, some reappeared and the Keck family, headed by Meg, joined for lunch, photos and games.

Cricket report 


On the Keeling team were Simon, Tom, Jim, Paul Sr (on-field captain), Poppy, Ted, Arthur, Edward, JJ, Fred and Kev. Josh was off games, Harry had other engagements, the perfidious Trev Sr played for Sedlescombe, Trev Jr and Ruth were scorers.

The Keelings batted first in light rain. Paul was out quickly for 9 and Ted for a duck. Things were looking bad until our secret weapon JJ came onto bat and was very instrumental in propelling us to a creditable 168 by getting a massive 69.

The weather improved a bit and Sedlescombe went into bat. Their opener was very stubborn, would not be out even against bowlers Edward, JJ, Paul, Fred, Kev.  There was one hopeful moment at about 160 runs when we got two wickets in two balls. Sadly no more wickets followed and Sedlescombe went to 172 for five wickets. So they won with Crittenden the opener finishing on 83 not out.

After the match, amid mass confusion with the Southeastern Rail network, half of our team and most of the opposition, repaired to the Ostrich pub for friendly pints where Trev (the perfidious) Sr led a rousing chorus of ‘Delroy Reid, he’s the meanest……’ which rather shattered the quiet Sunday evening peace of the place.

JJ was definitely our man of the match. He not only scored a lot of runs and bowled but he made an amazing catch. He was sprinting to the boundary and a barbed wire fence with the ball descending behind him and he caught it over his shoulder while screeching to a halt.

As he said later, "We will be back stronger next year".

End of automated email service

Google say the automated email service on this blog is ending in July.  I have email addresses of all the subscribers. I will try to remember to email you whenever a new post goes up! This is probably the last automatic one.
George

CORRECTION 12 Jan 2022. Six months after Google's announcement, the email service continues to work and even accept new email addresses. So I have reinstated the Suscribe: widget near the top right of the blog and we will carry on using that system as long we can.

Jacobs farm photo albums: 1973 Dec - 1974 July JBK

Barbar (Barbara) Gibbs
Lady Dot Keeling
Granny, Grandpa, Trevor, George, Simon, David, Tom, Jim, Paul
Johnny, Jocelyn, John, Bill
Fanny Gibbs
Ruvé Finucane, Tris Grayson
Gaynor: Thyrza, Helena 
Woodward-Fisher: Anne, Jane 
Rowe: Lucinda, Josephine, Sarah 
King: Harry and Sheila , 
Gardiner-Hill: Peter and Sue 
Jonathan Lane, Isabel Mons, Jackie Kent, Carmen Roa

Horses 
Black King, Rusty, Tabby 

Places
Val d'Isère, Jacobs, Ladycross

Click here to see all 17

Welcome Florence!

Welcome to Florence born 14:10 on 13 Nov 2020 weighing 6lb 12oz. (3.06 kg) Congratulations to Harriet and Harry. 

Bill Palmer RIP

 

I just got this from cousin Howard Palmer 
"I am afraid to have to announce that my father, WAP (William/Bill) died this morning, 31/10/20 after a short illness. Cherry is bereft, but bearing up well and in good health. Dad had been hale and hearty, if a little immobile, until about 3 weeks ago when he became rather weak and eventually chair and bed-bound for the last 10 days or so. He was 95 and a bit, so an excellent innings.

Talking of which, he once played in the Sedlescombe match when I was 13 (and he was 42) and opened the innings with Trevor. I outlasted Trevor and Mike sent WAP in to take the number 3 slot at the other end. He hadn’t played cricket probably since he was 13 and was promptly out first ball!

Happy memories."

Bill Palmer married Granny's sister Cherry. The photos were taken between 1967 and 1969. The one at the top right is almost certainly just before Bill got his duck. Unless I am mistaken, Bill was Sherriff of Berkshire and scion of the great biscuit makers Huntley and Palmers.

Jacobs farm photo albums: 1969 Nov - 1973 Jul JBK


Jacobs farm photo albums: 1969 Nov - 1973 Jul JBK mostly by Granny

People

Lady Dot Keeling
Barbar (Barbara Gibbs)
Grandpa, Granny, Robert, Trevor, George, Simon, David, Tom, Jim, Paul
Gibbs's: Emma, Fanny
Hudsons: Christopher, Kate, Alexander
Palmers: Howard, John
Keelings: Johnny, Jocelyn, Bill; Mark, Nick Crean
Keelings: Bri Magdeliza 
Seitz's: Cally, Herbert, Nico

Gardiner Hills: Peter, Sue, Alice, Jane
Gaynors: Paddy, John, Cathy, Pat
Mash, Juliet Sturridge, Lars Backlund, Mary, Dom Caldecott, Simon Greenwood, Monika Heslmunte; Synove (Synøve) Lund; Harry Eddis; Barry and Val Sweatman; Mr Dumaresq; Anno Ainslie; Roger and Anne Field; Mr and Mrs Curry; June and Geoff Williams; Sheila and Harry King; Val, Tom, June Scruby; Jamie Petri; Cresta Norris; Sue Rowe; David Roberts; Caroline Schofield; Canal du Midi

Pony: Coco

Places

Lake Windermere, Davos, Sedlescombe, The Oast House, Hurst House, Eton, Zermatt, Dolphins, Venice, 11 Albert Place, Pollurrian Cornwall, Jacobs Farm (Oct 30 1971), Ladycross, Ampleforth

Includes
Fishing with trammel net.
The move in to Jacobs and some amateur building there.

See all 59 pages: Click here.

Jacobs farm photo albums: 1967 Jan - 1969 Aug JBK

1967
Jacobs farm photo albums: 1967 Jan - 1969 Aug mostly by Granny

People
Keelings
Dot, Jack (Grandpa's parents), Ruvé (Dot's Sister)
Johnny (Grandpa's brother), Jocelyn Keeling, Mark, Nick Crean, John, Bill Keeling
Granny, Grandpa, Robert, Trevor, George, Simon, David Tom, Jim, Paul
Brian (Grandpa's brother), Sara, Patrick 
Seitz: Cally (Grandpa's sister), Herbert, Nico

Barbar and descendants
Gibbs: David Gibbs and an invisible Geraldine Schwarz(?)
Hudson: Loveday, Martin , Cathryn, Alexander
Palmer: Cherry, Bill, Serena, Alexandra, Howard, John 

1969
Hely-Hutchinson: Maria, Henry, Nicholas, Colin 
Eddis: Mary, Francis, Christopher, Dana, Samantha 
Gardner-Hill: Peter, Sue, Jane, Alice 
Backlund: Ingela, Alice, Lars
Sabina Gaynor
David Petri
Lorna Stewart-Wilson

Nannies: Glenda, Peggy, Val, Sarah Burnays, Winnie, 
Gardners: Cecil, Hodsoll
Dawes the butler

Places
Albert Place, Beaulieu, Davos, Dolphins, Egypt, Hadrian's Wall, Hurst House, Medway canal, Oast House, Sedlescombe cricket pitch, Sweden, Zip wire at Hurst pool

1967

Cecilia Coco Broom and Phoebe Joyce Broom

Rich with Cecilia and Phoebe
Congratulations! Identical twins Cecilia Coco Broom and Phoebe Joyce Broom born to Lizzie and Rich on 30 May 2020.

Monty Michael Keeling Crompton

Monty
Congratulations! Monty Michael Keeling Crompton born to Kate and Will on 22 May 2020. Kate has added Keeling to her forenames and all her children's.