LEST WE FORGET

Second Lieutenant Seawood Peter KEAY

Service No: 2201
Born: Williamstown VIC, 7 June 1895
Enlisted in the Army: 18 June 1916
Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations, Aire, France, 22 August 1918, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Aire Communal Cemetery, Aire-sur-la-Lys, Nord Pas de Calais, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Peter William and Clara Agnes Keay, of West Brunswick, Victoria, Australia. Native of Williamstown, Victoria
Place of Association: Brunswick VIC
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

While Cato (1) was returning from a patrol in the afternoon of August 22nd in company with Lieutenant S. P. Keay a new pilot, the two collided over Aire.  Keay’s machine (2) lost its tail, and the pilot fell from 3,000 feet and was fatally injured.  The aileron of Cato’s left wing was torn almost completely away, and his machine also fell. Cato shut off his engine to try to regain control, but without avail. The last desperate resource was to turn his engine on and try to get out of the spin in that manner. This partly succeeded, and after desperate efforts with joy-stick and rudder-bar he arrived low over Serny aerodrome. The next difficulty was to land. If he switched off his engine, he would spin again. To land with his engine on meant doing so at highly dangerous speed.  There was, however, no third course; and with his speed indicator showing 120 miles an hour he essayed to land.  A crash was inevitable, and the machine was smashed to pieces as soon as it hit the ground. Cato escaped with bruises and a bad shaking.

(1) Lieutenant Edward Alexander Cato 154; Born Malvern VIC, 19 May 1889, flying in Sopwith Camel aircraft F5948
(2) Sopwith Camel aircraft D6526

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Pages 344-5

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, KEAY SEAWOOD PETER
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Report AIR 1/969 page 106,154569

Bibliography:

Richards, E.J. (Edward John) Australian Airmen: History of the 4th Squadron, publisher unknown, c1919

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