King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Keates, Richard John

Captain ▪ Royal Garrison Artillery

Richard John Keates, born on 12th October 1879, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1891. He was the son of Emma and John, a coal merchant, and the family lived at 94, Church Hill Road.

At School, Richard was a middling student but an excellent cricketer, taking 28 wickets for 155 runs and bowling 27 maidens in the 1895 season. After School, he worked as London Manager for John Webb and Co. Ltd., Birmingham, a brassfounding company. On 26th May 1906, he married Winnifred Hughes of Wilmslow, Cheshire, and they had two children, Richard and Cicely.

In 1914, Richard enlisted as an Able Seaman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Anti-Aircraft Division (Night Duty). In 1915, he served as Chief Petty Officer on the anti-aircraft defences of London. In April 1917, Richard gained a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, serving in France and Flanders from May 1917. He won the Military Cross in September 1917, for “gallant action at Boesinghe, saving a man’s life while he was gassed himself.” He was promoted to the rank of Captain in January 1918, and later that year, on 20th August 1918, was killed in action near Albert. Writing of his death, Colonel Budgen remembered: “I cannot tell you what a loss he will be to the whole brigade, and what a void he will leave in the life of all of us in Brigade Headquarters. I shall find it very difficult to replace him.” Richard is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemtery, France. He left his estate of £166 to his wife, who applied for his medals in 1921.