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Flying Officer 136647 Ernest Keeley


He was born on 1st October 1908 , in Ellsmere Port , Eastham, Cheshire . In the 1911 census he was living at a four roomed house, 21 Livingstone

 Road, Ellesmere Port Cheshire with his parents, Wiiliam and Sarah Louise Keeley. His father was a Purifier at a Flour Mills, his mother had no

 listed occupation.  His parents had been married for 6 years and had 3 children all of whom were alive. He had an older brother Robert (born

 1906) and a younger brother Thomas (born 1910). Later he had a sister Mabel Keeley (born 1914) and a brother Arthur Keeley(1916).

Ernest attended Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby, between 1921 and 1924.

His brother Arthur became a professional football player in 1936.

On enlistment Ernest's next of kin was given as Mrs. I. Keeley, 8 Glenwood Gardens, Little Sutton, Wirral, Cheshire.  His father was 

William Keeley, 29 Livingston Road , Elsmere Port.

He married Isabella Mergatroyd, a spinster, on 16 November 1935 in Elsmere Port. He enlisted on 3rd July, 1940 . His civil occupation was 

Insurance Agent for the Cooperative Insurance Society in Chester between 1935 and 1940. On entry, he was 6 tall with a 34 chest, 

dark hair, brown eyes, medium complexion. He had a vaccination scar on his left arm and a cartilage scar on his right leg.

On entry, he attended No. 3 Receiving Centre at Padgate. From there, he was put into the Reserve on the 9th July, 1940 . From the 

Reserve to 18 Balloon Centre, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow.   He was given the service number 1058259.


Makeup of No. 18 Balloon Centre, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow .

 929                   24 balloons                    South Queensferry

                        (7 waterborne)

945                   40 balloons                    Glasgow

946                   48 balloon                     Renfrew

947                   32 balloons                    Glasgow

948                   24 balloons                    Rosyth

967                   48 balloons                    Ardrossan

968                   40 balloons                    Forming at Bishopbriggs:    

                        (8 waterborne)              

No. 968 Balloon Barrage Squadron moved to Belfast on 12 September 1940. He was now Acting Charge Hand/Balloon Operator 1058259

Ernest Keeley.

On 23rd Sept, 1940 , he was posted to 947 Squadron as a Balloon Operator. On 4 March, 1941 , he was admitted to Lothian General

Hospital , Glasgow . Later transferred to Southern General Hospital , on 3 April, 1941 . On discharge from hospital he had become a Balloon 

Operator and  Driver.

On 31st December, 1940 , his rank was Aircraftman 2nd Class. His character was very good, and his trade was Balloon Operator Charge

 Hand. His proficiency was classed as Satisfactory A

 On 4th February 1941 , he was promoted to Aircraftman 1st Class.

  7 June, 1941 , he was back at 18 Balloon Centre, Glasgow, A Flight. He was then posted to 947 Squadron, then back to 18 Balloon 

 Centre A Flight on 5 July, 1941 . He was posted to 947 Squadron and was posted to 945 Squadron on 1 August, 1942 .

 On 1st August, 1941 , he was promoted to a Leading Aircraftman.

 On 30th October 1941 , he was promoted to a Temporary Corporal.

 On 31st December, 1941 his rank was Temporary Corporal. His character was very good, and his trade was Balloon Operator (D). 

 His proficiency was classed as: A Superior , B Satisfactory, C Satisfactory.

 On 30th  September 1942 , he underwent a medical board, achieving A4B classification, and was declared fit for command into a branch of the Royal Air Force

 Volunteers as an officer.

 On 31st December 1942 , his rank was Temporary Corporal. His character was very good, and his trade was Balloon Operator (D). His proficiency was classed as A Superior, B Superior.

On 6th January, 1943 , he was discharged on appointment to a temporary commission, having served 2 years, 183 days.

He attended No 1 Officers School , Cosford, on 7 Jan, 1943 . From there he attended No. 15 Board of Trade Testing, achieving physical

fitness to become a Flying Officer.

On 10th February 1943 , he was in No 61 Maintenance Unit based at Handsforth, Wilmslow.

On 2nd March 1943 he was gazetted as having been granted a commission as an Acting Pilot Officer bfor the duration of the emergency 

from 7th January 1943.

In a supplement to the London Gazette dated 16th April, 1943 , he is listed to have now graded as Pilot Officer on Probation (Emergency). 

He was Pilot Officer 136647 Ernest Keeley. On 7th Sept 1943 , in supplement to the London Gazette, on page 4140, said he was promoted 

to Flying Officer on Probation (War Substitute).

On 18th February 1944 , he was posted to Upwood, Cambridgeshire - still with the rank of Flying Officer.

His brother who had been such a gifted footballer had enlisted and was 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Keeley, Royal Sussex Regiment, 

attached to 7th Bn. Somerset Light Infantry was killed in action on 10th August 1944 in Normandy, France.  He had always been tipped as 

one of those footballers who would be much sought after once the war was over.

                                                                                                                        Arthur Keeley

 On 30th October 1945 , Ernest was admitted to Ely Hospital in Cambridge , for 10 days, and classified as A4B on discharge from Hospital.

His last day of service was 2 May, 1 946.

On 30th July 1954 he was gazetted as having relinquished his commission but retained the rank of Flying Officer.

Flying Officer Arthur Keeley died on 24th May 1974 at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England




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