Cricket Match Report

The lunch at Jacobs and Keeling vs Sedlescombe cricket match at Newenden were held on 16-17 September. We won the cricket by some wickets. They were all out for 106, Zak took three wickets, it rained for lunch, then we went in and got 107 for 4. Ted excelled with 40 runs and Jasper hit 30.

Orpen portrait of Barbar

Just after Barbar, my grandmother, was married (~1920), her great admirer Mr Johnson commissioned a portrait of her by the famous artist Orpen. In her diaries Barbar wrote of it "I was rather disinterested and would have preferred the fifteen hundred pounds which was the price named. But then I had a letter from Mr Johnson. I wish that I had kept it. What he said, in effect, was 'You know you would rather have today the pearl necklace that the artist's fee would buy you; one day in the future your husband will give you those pearls but he will never be able to have you painted as you are today.' That letter should and did console a greedy girl."

Allis - Keeling family tree


Jane and Bill Allis visited England recently and met Nick and Mark Crean and Simon and Tom Keeling. Bill shared this family tree which shows how we are all descended from Edward Phelps Allis (1824-1889). There is a more legible version of the image here. Mary [Allis] Keeling (1891-1988) my great aunt was the Aunty Allis who introduced the card game as told in the rules by my Dad. 


Cherry Palmer

Serena Palmer wrote us on 13 July, "very sadly our mother died yesterday.  She literally just faded away, suffered no pain and it was very peaceful.  She was 95 and had been immobile for some time."

Cherry's funeral will be at St James the Less, Winterbourne Church, Newbury RG20 8AU on 8 August.

Cherry, the last survivor of all the aunts and uncles, was Mum's best friend and the sweetest aunt of all.


Great grandfather Arthur Gibbs

Leslie Price from Houston, Texas wrote recently:

My great-grandmother, Gladys Taber Chamberlain, was the 2nd wife of your [great] grandfather Arthur Gibbs. 

I discovered your website one day while searching for information about my great grandmother and her 2nd husband. All I really have is a few photos and a calling card.

My great grandmother was always known to us as Grandmother Gibbs. She’d married first Ernest Chamberlain, had my grandfather (Thomas Taber Chamberlain), then divorced, and remarried the somewhat mysterious “Mister Gibbs”.

By the time I knew her, she had been living in Cuernevaca Mexico for many years. My mother explained to me that in Cuernevaca, Grandmother Gibbs could live in style on the modest amount of money she had. 

I’m so pleased to finally be able to learn a bit about Arthur Gibbs, the wealthy Englishman who worked at Rolls Royce and met my great-grandmother at Cannes where they both liked to gamble.

Thank you so much for creating your website, and for including that wonderful book by your grandmother Barbara Gibbs.

This excerpt from p.104 seems about right given the little I ever learned about Grandmother Gibbs’ 2nd marriage: 
“He [Arthur] drove down to the South of France every February, but he never took his wife. No doubt he needed a new one. Curiously, having obtained his divorce and married the lady that he had in mind, to the great satisfaction of them both, she, in turn, found that marriage to him was another matter. Within two years she had left him, preferring real poverty to the gilded cage in which she found herself trapped.”


Jacobs farm photo albums: 1978 -1985 JBK

Young Ruth and Vogue model Barbar
Granny's photo album from 1978 -1985 featuring:
Great granny and grandpa Dot and Jack Keeling
Great granny Barbar Gibbs
Great aunt Ruve Finucane
Granny, Jenny and Grandpa Mike Keeling
Johnny, Jocelyn, John, Bill Keeling, Mark Crean
Bri, Patrick Keeling
Cally Seitz
Philip, Loveday Hudson
Cherry Palmer
Howard, John, Laura, Catherine Palmer
Rob, Trev, George, Simon, David, Tom, Jim, Paul Keeling
Ruth, Trevor jr Keeling
Alice Keeling
Camilla, Poppy Keeling

Stan, Sonia, Carrie, Stephanie Hardy
Jane, Alice, David Gardner-Hill
Francis, Jamie, Chris, Sammy Eddis
Pat, Thyrza, Sabina, Helena Gaynor
Emma, Anne Woodward-Fisher
Joan, Eric Thatcher
Heather, John, Sarah, Tim, William, Jeremy Fooks
Ken, Theresa Peckham
Jim Winterschladen, Joe Perrins, Paul Ronicle, George Rutter, Lynne Bullock, Giles Rowe, Emma Fox, Charlie Beckford, Percy Jones
Dangerous sports club: David Kirke, Simon Keeling, Timothy Hunt, Alan Weston, Jane Wilmot, Peter Carew, Christopher Baker at Clifton suspension bridge and Golden Gate bridge

Places: Jacobs, Dolphins, Hurst, Newcastle, Meribel, Courchevel, Boundaries Road,
Animals: Tabitha, Miss Moppet, Ginger
Weddings: George and Carolyn, Rob and Jo, Simon and Sarah, Trevor and Jacquie

Raffy Jack Keeling Crompton


Welcome to Raffy who was born to Kate on Tuesday 28th March. Here seen with admiring father Will and brothers Jasper and Monty.

More patience: Enter the User zone

Introducing the User zone at

We now have a user zone so scores can be recorded and entered in the champions league. Grandpa MK is at the top. If you are lucky, as I was, you may be able to pick up your previous scores when you first log in. xxx G

See below for more about the games.

The Five Great Games of patience: Live!

The Five Great Games of patience are now live at!

What are the Five Great Games of patience?

The games are Aunty Allis, Uncle Remus, Seven & Six, Senior Wrangler and Kings. They have been passed down by Grandpa Michael Keeling who played them as a young man and inherited them from his family. One was his aunt Allis (often misspelt Alice). I remember watching him playing them at home and with his mother at Hurst when I was a child.

Jim persuaded Grandpa to write down the rules for posterity and then Grandpa played a hundred games and set the gold standard for performance. The rules are here and those hard-to-beat scores are here. The rules are already incorporated in the scores soon will be.

These last months I have been learning how to program in JavaScript, Typescript, Html, CSS, php and SQL (phew) and have created where you can enjoy all five games. They even work on smart phones but you need good eyesight and dexterous fingers. Feel free to pass on the URL to anybody. x George

Uncle Remus in Progress

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,

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 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 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 (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.


Lara Romilly Keeling

Lucy Archie
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:

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

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  .......