Leonard James Keyworth ["Tales of the V.C."]

Title in English
24th london Regiment V.C.

Private L. Keyworth, 24th London Regiment ("The Queen's"), was awarded the V.C. for bravery on the night of the 25-26 May 1915 on the left of the La Bassee Canal near Givenchy. During the act he threw some 200 bombs! His regiment went to France on 16th March 1915 Billeted near Bethune, the battalion first went into the front line on 25th April 1915 in the Rue de l'Epinette sector, north of Festubert. In its first engagement at Aubers Ridge on 9th May the battalion suffered over 100 casualties. At 17:30 hours on 25th May 1915 the 24th Bn took over trenches just north of Givenchy in readiness for an attack later that evening. After a supporting artillery bombardment the attack began at 18:30 advancing on a stretch of the enemy line known as the 'S' Bend, the leading companies reaching its objective with few casualties. The supporting companies followed and within thirty minutes all were in the German front line but were unable to advance further as the enemy was holding the slightly higher ground to the south and from there were able to inflict heavy rifle fire on the attacking troops. The Battalion War Diary records '18:45 - 21:00 captured trench being consolidated. A severe 'bomb' (hand grenade)fight taking place all the time on the right flank'. Keyworth described how half his section were shot down by enemy machine-gun fire before reaching the German line and how all the 'bombers' had been killed except him. When his supply of grenades was exhausted, Keyworth was supplied with more by men behind him who continually implored him to lie down. For about two hours Keyworth remained on a parapet throwing some 150 grenades and although blinded with dirt he survived unscathed. The captured trench was held throughout the night and the whole of the next day, despite being under shell and rifle fire for much of the time until the battalion was relieved. The Battalion War Diary states: "the most noticeable feature of the operation was the retention of the captured trench by a few exhausted, and in many cases wounded, men, after it had been subjected to a very heavy enfilade rifle fire". Keyworth was recommended for the DCM for his actions by his company commander Captain Armstrong, but was actually awarded the Victoria Cross, as published in the London Gazette on 3rd July 1915. The first Keyworth knew of his VC was when he read a newspaper containing the citation on 4th July. This account of his actions was written by James Price Lloyd of the Welsh Regiment, who served with Military Intelligence. After the war, the government to destroyed all the archives relating to this propaganda (section MI 7b (1)). They were regarded as being too sensitive to risk being made public. Remarkably these documents have survived in the personal records of Captain Lloyd. Many of these papers are officially stamped, and one can trace the development of many individual articles from the notes based on an idea, to the pencil draft which is then followed by the hand-written submission and the typescript. The archive "Tales of the VC" comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they still manage to move the reader. Date stamp: 7 February 1918.

Summary description of items
Article with annotations.

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Number of items
Person 1
Leonard James Keyworth
Born: August 12, 1893 in Lincoln, England
Died: October 19, 1915 in Abbeville military hospital, France
Person 2
James Price Lloyd
Origin date
May 24, 1915 – May 25, 1915
Propaganda, Trench Life
Western Front
Jeremy Arter
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    Leonard James Keyworth [


    Leonard James Keyworth ["Tales of the V.C."]

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