PERSONALIA
 
Name:  Keyes, Geoffry Charles Tasker (Service number: 71081)
Date of birth: May 18th, 1917 (Aberdour, Fifeshire, Scotland)
Date of death:  November 18th, 1941 (Beda Littoria, Lybia)
Buried on:  Commonwealth War Cemetery Benghazi
Plot: 7.  Row: D.  Grave: 5.
Nationality:  British
     
MILITARY CROSS (MC)
Rank: Temporary Major
Unit: Royal Armoured Corps (Dragoons)
Awarded on: October 21st, 1941
 
     
VICTORIA CROSS (VC)
Rank: Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit: Middle East Commando's
Awarded on: June 19th, 1942
Action: Citation:
"Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes commanded a detachment of a force which landed some 250 miles behind the enemy lines to attack Headquarters, Base Installations and Communications.
From the outset Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes deliberately selected for himself the command of the detachment detailed to attack what was undoubtedly the most hazardous of these objectives—the residence and Headquarters of the General Officer Commanding the German forces in North Africa. This attack, even if initially successful, meant almost certain death for those who took part in it.
He led his detachment without guides, in dangerous and precipitous country and in pitch darkness, and maintained by his stolid determination and powers of leadership the morale of the detachment. He then found himself forced to modify his original plans in the light of fresh information elicited from neighbouring Arabs, and was left with only one officer and an N.C.O. with whom to break into General Rommel's residence and deal with the guards and Headquarters Staff.
At zero hour on the night of 17th–18th November, 1941, having despatched the covering party to block the approaches to the house, he himself with the two others crawled forward past the guards, through the surrounding fence and so up to the house itself. Without hesitation, he boldly led his party up to the front door, beat on the door and demanded entrance.
Unfortunately, when the door was opened, it was found impossible to overcome the sentry silently, and it was necessary to shoot him. The noise of the shot naturally aroused the inmates of the house and Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes, appreciating that speed was now of the utmost importance, posted the N.C.O. at the foot of the stairs to prevent interference from the floor above.
Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes, who instinctively took the lead, emptied his revolver with great success into the first room and was followed by the other officer who threw a grenade.
Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes with great daring then entered the second room on the ground floor but was shot almost immediately on flinging open the door and fell back into the passage mortally wounded. On being carried outside by his companions he died within a few minutes.
By his fearless disregard of the great dangers which he ran and of which he was fully aware, and by his magnificent leadership and outstanding gallantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes set an example of supreme self sacrifice and devotion to duty."
Details: Geoffrey Charles Tasker Keyes is buried at the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.
 
     
CROIX DE GUERRE (1939-1945)
 
     
1939-1945 STAR
 
     
AFRICA STAR
 
     
DEFENCE MEDAL 1939-1945
 
     
WAR MEDAL 1939-1945
 
 
 
  Provide alterations or additional information
Picture source:   - Wikimedia Commons
Information source(s):   - Victoria Cross Reference
- The Register of the Victoria Cross - published by This Engeland 1997 - ISBN 0906324270
- Special thanks to Iain Stewart from The History of the Victoria Cross
- Spink
- https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35316/supplement/6086
- https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35600/supplement/2699
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