Edwin Ernest Frederick KealBMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3566 (Published 29 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3566
- Margaret Turner-Warwick,
- Richard Keal
Edwin Ernest Frederick Keal, always affectionately known to his professional colleagues as “Eddie,” was born and brought up in Hull. He left grammar school at 15 to become a shipping clerk, and at the age of 17, in May 1939, he enrolled in the Hull division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. The RNVR had its own training ship, an anti-aircraft cruiser called HMS Curaçao. He was called up in September 1939, when just 18 years old, and took part in the 1940 Norway campaign and the evacuation from Dunkirk. He was quickly selected for officer training, but, because he was only 19 years old, he became a midshipman on the battleship HMS Malaya. In August 1941 he was promoted to sub-lieutenant on the destroyer HMS Gurkha. Posted to the Mediterranean, the ship took part in the Malta convoys. He was seriously wounded on 17 January 1942, when his ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. This resulted in an above knee amputation of his left leg at just 20 years of age. After rehabilitation in South Africa he was declared fit for service ashore and sent to a naval air arm training centre in Lancashire, where he met Connie, who was in the …
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