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Name: KEIR, William 'Willie'

Nee: son of William and Jane F. Keir, later of Newtyle, Angus near Dundee

Birth Date: 23 June 1912 Downfield, Dundee, Angus

Death Date: 21 Apr 1942 Ethiopian frontier (Moyale)

First Date: 1935

Profession: Appointed as a DO Fort Hall in 1935. Later served in the NFD

Area: Fort Hall, Northern Frontier District

Book Reference: Staff 39, Reece, mini-Sitrep XXXII

School: Dundee High School; BSc (St. Andrews)

General Information:

mini-Sitrep XXXII - Honorary commission. Killed near Gadier on the Ethiopian Frontier 21 April 1942

1938 (13th May) Under Government Notice No. 391 and The Courts Ordinance (1931) William Keir is appointed to be Magistrate (First Class) with powers to hold a Subordinate Court whilst in the position of DC, Wajir, NFD (The Official Gazette, 17th May 1938, p. 519). At some point he was given a Honorary Commission.

1941 (9th May) In Government Notice No. 464, William Keir is appointed District Commissioner in Mandera with effect from this date. At the same time in Government Notice No. 467, under the Courts Ordinance (1931) he was appointed to be a Magistrate (First Class) whilst he was in the NFD, based in Mandera (The Official Gazette, 27th May 1941, p. 347). 

1941 (4th Dec) His 22-year old younger brother Capt. James Keir (99706) of the 2nd Bn. Queen’s Own Highlanders was killed in North Africa and in buried in Knightsbridge War cemetery, Acroma (Grave 1.K.12) (CWGC Website).

1942 (21st April) Killed on the Ethiopian frontier (Moyale) (Europeans in East Africa website). Killed near Gadier on the Ethiopian Frontier 21 April 1942 (Mini-Sitrep XXXIII). newspaper cutting (no source): killed by native marauders near Moyale - on looting expedition. Party of Kenya Police engaged them and Keir and 3 native constables went to their help - were ambushed and shot (Ancestry newspaper cutting with no source)

1942 (22nd June) In an Article entitled ‘Ethiopian Government Promises Action’ which reads ‘The Government of Ethiopia has promised to arrest the murderers of Mr. William Keir, a thirty-year old Kenya administrative officer, and three African policemen, who were killed by armed bandits, thought to be Abyssinians, bent of camel stealing in Kenya territory on the southern borders of Ethiopia in April. The Government has promised also to strengthen the border police and to make reparation if the murderers prove to be Abyssinian subjects. The Emperor has expressed his condolences to the Kenya Government. Mr. Keir belonged to Angus, Scotland’ (British Newspaper Archive, Birmingham Daily Post, Tues 23rd June 1942).

1942 (29th Aug) In an article entitled ‘Dundee Man’s Bravery in Kenya’ it says Mr. William Keir, DO in Kenya was killed by native marauders near Moyale, on the Kenya-Abyssinian border last April, is posthumously commended for brave conduct in the London gazette. He was born at Downfield, Dundee, on 23rd June 1912, and educated at Dundee High school and St. Andrews University (university College, Dundee). In a statement, issued by the Colonial Office, they said that ‘…parties of raiders, believed to be former Italian native troops, armed with rifles, crossed the frontier from Abyssinia on a looting expedition. A small party of Kenya Police engaged one of the groups of marauders Mr. Kier and three native constables, in spite of the inferiority in arms and numbers went to the help of the police and were ambushed and shot at close quarters from behind. All were killed. Following official protests from the Government of Kenya, the Government of Ethiopia has promised to strengthen the border police, to arrest the marauders, and make reparations if they prove to be Abyssinian subjects. The Emperor’s personal condolences have been expressed to the Kenya Government. Mr. Keir was the older son of Mr. & Mrs. William Keir, of Old Bank House, Newtyle. His brother, Capt. James Keir was killed in December last (British Newspaper Archive, Dundee Evening Telegraph, Sat 29th Aug 1942).

1943 (9th Dec) The Rev. Robert Wood of Newtyle reported that a bronze tablet had been gifted to Newtyle Church in memory of Mr. William Keir, district officer, Kenya and son of Mr. & Mrs. William Keir, Newtyle, who lost his life on the Kenya-Abyssinia border in April last year at the hands of native marauders. The tablet is gifted by Mr. Keir’s fellow officers (British Newspaper Archive, Dundee Courier, Thurs 9th Dec 1943).



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