KEERY, William James
Honours & Awards:
Corporal William James Keery G.M. served in No.1 Commando. A serving Metropolitan Police Officer he volunteered for the Commandos as part of one of the Police Intakes. Whilst serving as a Constable, aged 25yrs, he was awarded the George Medal for rescuing 7 persons trapped in a cellar at Queens Buildings Scovell Road at Lambeth, London, 15 October 1940.
A very heavy bomb demolished a large part of a block of dwellings, causing many casualties. P.C. Keery attended with other Police Officers. Cries were heard from a cellar and a small opening was found, blocked by debris and some heavy iron railings.
With some difficulty this was partly cleared and a hole just large enough to admit a man was made. Unhesitatingly Keery dropped into the cellar through this hole and, making his way through fallen beams and masonry, succeeded in bringing out, first a badly wounded man, then three children, one woman and two more men.
The P.C. showed extreme coolness and courage and worked regardless of danger to himself. The whole building was liable to collapse and the enemy were continuously overhead. Immediately after this very fine effort, the P.C. applied himself to further rescue work and was unsparing in his efforts to render aid to the trapped occupants of the buildings.
London Gazette 35058, page 609.
National Archives file HO 250/8/296.
- There is a photo of William Keery GM in our No.1 Commando gallery. The photo titled No.1 Commando Warrant Officers and Sergeants 1945 indicates that he had at that time a rank, possibly temporary, of Lance Sergeant.
- His death in 1998 is noted in the No.1 Commando Winchester Reunion Programme 12/13th September 1995, also in the gallery. Rank shown as Cpl. Award shown after name.
Photo of Commando in Gallery:
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