Book Review-‘Churchill’s Admiral in Two World Wars: Admiral of the Fleet Lord Keyes of Zeebrugge and Dover GCB KCVO CMG DSO’ by J. Crossley

By Derek Law, published May 2021


This is the first biography of Roger Keyes for some decades and fills a surprising gap in the literature. Keyes had a hugely successful career and was an archetypal son of the British Empire. Born in India in 1872, where his father was commander of the Punjab Frontier Force, he was one of nine children. Educated in England, he was a poor scholar (the author suggests he was possibly dyslexic) but had an unshakeable resolve to join the Royal Navy. If not academic, he was likeable and gregarious and a good sportsman despite his small build. After training he was sent to the South Africa Station, where he quickly demonstrated his abilities and developed his love of hunting, shooting and fishing. He also developed his ability to network, and showed a desire for action which allowed him to begin the lifelong habit of pestering his superiors until he was transferred into small cutters fighting the slave trade off Zanzibar. For the first time he displayed both his hunger for action and excellent seamanship…

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Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Biography

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