Great War Third Battle of Ypres 9th October 1917 Military Medal and Final Advance Action near Bailleul 4th September 1918 Second Award Bar group awarded to Lance Corporal later Sergeant W.J. Keenan, 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, later 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and Hampshire Regiment. Keenan who came from Ireland but lived in Rugby, Warwickshire now Staffordshire, won his first Military Medal for bravery in the field on 9th October 1917, with his second award being made for his bravery on 4th September 1918 near Bailleul when he was serving as an Acting Battery Sergeant Major attached to a Trench Mortar Battery. Both of Keenan’s 29th Division Gallantry Card’s are present with the group.
Group of 4: Military Medal, GVR bust, with Second Award Bar; (40285 L.CPL. W.J. KEENAN. 4/WORC:R.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (19179 SJT. W.J. KEENAN. R. WAR. R.); Defence Medal 1939-1945.
Condition: light contact wear, Good Very Fine.
Together with the following:
29th Division Gallantry Card, issued to: ‘No.40285 L/Cpl W J Keenan M.M. Worcestershire Regiment’ dated 9th October 1917, signed in ink by Major General Henry de Beauvoir De Lisle, signature now faded.
29th Division Gallantry Card, issued to: ‘40285 Cpl (A/BSM) W. Keenan MM Worcestershire Regiment (attd Trench Mortar Battery)’ dated 4th September 1918 near Bailleul, signed in ink by Major General Douglas Edward Cayley, signature now faded.
Both the Gallantry Cards are inset into an old frame backing together with a copied photograph of the recipient.
William John Keenan was born on 6th April 1896 in Ireland, but then lived in New Bilton near Rugby, Warwickshire, now Staffordshire, and as a Lance Corporal (No.40285) with the 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, which battalion arrived on the Western Front in March 1916, it having previously seen service in Egypt. The battalion formed part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th Division. Keenan was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 14th January 1918, and his surviving 29th Division Gallantry Card confirms that the award was made for his actions during the Third Battle of Ypres on 9th October 1917.
Keenan then went on to be awarded a Second Award Bar to his Military Medal in the London Gazette for 11th February 1919, and his second surviving 29th Division Gallantry Card confirms that the award was made for his actions near Bailleul on 4th September 1918 when he was serving as an Acting Battery Sergeant Major attached to a Trench Mortar Battery. On this date two other battalion of the 88th Brigade, namely the 2nd Hampshires and the 2nd Leinster’s, under artillery support, attacked on a 2000 yard front. The first objective was taken by 11 a.m. The second objective however was not taken owing to strong enemy resistance. Over 100 prisoners were taken, many machine guns, and some Trench Mortars also captured. Then at 1.15 p.m. Brigade HQ notified the 4th Battalion that Companies were to be ready to move at short notice, as the 2nd Leinster’s had reported the enemy missing for a counter-attack. At 1.30 p.m. two Companies moved forward and re-enforced the 2nd Leinster’s and 2nd Hampshire’s who had suffered fairly heavy casualties. At about 2.30 p.m. the enemy counter-attacked but did not succeed in penetrating our lines, except on the extreme left, where he entered the trench and was taken prisoner.
Keenan subsequently ended up as a Sergeant (No.19179) with the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and as a Sergeant (No.257281) with the Hampshire Regiment. Keenan latterly worked as a storekeeper in Rugby, saw service during the Second World War in Civil Defence, and died on 21st September 1985.