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WORLD WAR II   1939 - 1945
PAGE 1 of 3

The Second World War was the largest military conflict in history, with over one hundred million military personnel mobilised, and the deadliest with estimated fatalities ranging from fifty million to over seventy million. It lasted for six years involved two opposing military alliances, the Axis, and the Allies.

The Axis alliance comprised Germany, Japan, and Italy, who signed a Tripartite Pact in September 1940. Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria also participated, and other nations entered and left during the course of the war. At their peak the Axis alliance occupied large swathes of Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, but in the end it suffered defeat and dissolution.

The Allies were originally an anti-German coalition of France, Poland, and Great Britain, which came into force at the start of the war. Later they were joined by members of the British Commonwealth, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, following the German invasion code-named Operation Barbarossa, and the United States of America as a result of the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. Other members aligned themselves after being occupied, threatened by invasion, or out of concern about the Axis dominating the world. These included: Albania, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Greece, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, and Yugoslavia.


The war was fought in two separate regions of the globe; Europe and North Africa, and the Pacific basin. On I September 1939 Hitlerís Nazi Germany invaded Poland and two days later Britain and France declared war, which is credited as the start of the war; however, some historians argue that the simultaneous Sino-Japanese War and the European conflict merged in 1941, to become a single global conflict.

The war in Europe and North Africa includes many noteable events: the Dunkirk evacuation by the "little ships"; the Battle of Britain, which was the first major campaign fought entirely in the air, and remains the most sustained aerial bombing campaign; El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign; the Italian Campaign that involved some of the hardest fighting in the conflict , and the D-Day landings of June 1944 the largest sea-borne invasion that was the start of  end of the war in Europe.

On 24 March 1942, the newly-formed US-British Combined Chiefs of Staff issued a directive designating the Pacific theatre an area of American strategic responsibility. The theatre was separated into three areas: the Pacific Ocean Areas, the Southwest Pacific Area (commanded by General Douglas MacArthur), and the South East Pacific Area, all under the operational control of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. His aggressive strategy led to the defeat of the Japanese navy, especially at the Battle of Midway. He also ordered the successful amphibious assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and he used to great effect the United States Army Air Forces to mine the Japanese ports and waterways, which severely interrupted the Japanese logistics.

The war also saw appalling actions against civilians by all sides, which included the Holocaust, the Porajmos, Katyn Forest, the mass-bombing of civilian targets, and the use of nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The legacy of the war was: -

~The United Nations came into existence on 24 October 1945 replacing the League of Nations, which had failed in its purpose.


~Western Europe underwent an economic recovery and political integration.


~The United States and the Soviet Union became rival superpowers, engaged in a prolonged Cold War that saw the creation of the American-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliances.


~The end of Western European colonialism in Africa and Asia, and the subsequent Partition of India.


~The creation of the State of Israel.


~Mao Tse-Tungís Chinese communist forces were victorious in the countryís civil war and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland, while Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces retreated to Taiwan.


~Advances in technology and engineering led to programmable computers, jet aircrafts, space exploration, and the development of nuclear technology, with applications ranging from smoke detectors and reactors, to weapons of mass destruction.


A Japanese Propaganda Poster Depicting the Axis Leaders

The Allies.  Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at Yalta
Military Roster, World War II  
Britain and the Empire

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Unit Name



         Lance Corporal Albert George Francis Keep, 1st Bn., Cambridgeshire Regiment, Service No: 6020927, killed on 13 Feb1942, aged 25, commemorated at the Singapore Memorial, Column 57, son of Albert George Keep, and of Sarah Keep, of Beckenham, Kent.




        Private Reginald Keep, 2nd Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment, Service No:  5181676, killed between 28 May 1940 and 30 May 1940, aged 27, commemorated at the Cassel Communal Cemetery Extension, Row B. Grave 1, Son of William Alexander and Elizabeth Keep, of Leyton, Essex.




         Private George David Keep, 5th Bn, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, Service No:  6734751, killed on 27 May 1940, commemorated at the Merville Communal Cemetery Extension, Plot 2. Row C. Grave 7






        Trooper Claude Herbert Keep, 43rd (2/5th Bn. Gloucestershire Regt.), Regt. Reconnaissance Corps, R.A.C, Service No: 14399541, killed on 31 Dec 1943, commemorated at the Dartford (Watling Street) Cemetery, grave 4605, son of William Henry and Harriett Keep, of Dartford




         Gunner Edward Keep, Royal Artillery, Service No: 14939 aged 25, who spent five years in various German Prisoner of War Camps POW No: 14939 Stalag XX-A Torun Poland. Edward was captured at Dunkirk, at the outset of the war. Brother of  Arthur Keep, Royal Air Force, see below, and Gunner Walter Ernest Keep Royal Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), see below

         Bombardier Eric Lewis Keep, 339 Bty. 26 Searchlight Regt., Royal Artillery. Service No:  2042251, killed on 18 Apr 1947, aged 34, Mortlake Crematorium, Panel 8, Son of William John and Emma Keep; husband of Olive Violet Keep, of Hammersmith, London.

         Gunner Walter Ernest Keep, Royal Artillery (Anti-Aircraft),Service No: 881829, aged 34, he was stationed in England. Brother of  Arthur Keep, Royal Air Force, see below, Brother of Gunner Edward Keep, Royal Artillery, and POW, see above

         Gunner William Joseph Keep, 8 Field Regt., Royal Artillery, Service No:  948410, killed between 14 Feb 1942 and 15 Feb1942, aged 23, commemorated at the Singapore Memorial, Column 22


         Corporal Leslie Francis Keep, Royal Engineers,Service No:  2183544, killed on 24 Jul 1941, aged 26, commemorated at the Southampton (South Stoneham) Cemetery, Sec. M. 3 Grave 110, son of Frederick William and Gertrude Mabel Keep, of Bitterne Park, Southampton.




        Royal Marine Frederick Keep, aged 23, and saw action at Malta, Russia, Norway, and Sumatra.  Rec'd Africa Star, Eastern Star, Burma Star, and War and Defense Metals.






        Sergeant Mike Keep, served in Germany, and before that he was at Dunkirk, Italy, and Sicily..






        Frank Keep Royal Air Force, He was an armourer stationed in England, throughout the conflict. The photograph was taken in Bridlington,East Yorkshire. He was the elder brother of Arthur Joseph Keep, see below.

         Arthur Keep, Royal Air Force, he was aged 41, and was stationed in England. His brothers were Wally Keep who served with the Royal Artillery, see above,




         Sergeant Frederick Keep, Bomber Command, 104 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Service No:  526542, killed on 29 Jul 1943, aged 27, commemorated at the Malta Memorial, Panel 8, Column 2, son of Frederick and Mary Arm Keep; nephew of Mr. J. Keep, of Long Stanton, Cambridgeshire.





         Flight Sergeant Arthur Joseph Keep, Bomber Command, 114 Squadron,Royal Air Force, he was a pilot and flew Bristol Blenheims. Whilst serving in North Africa he was involved in a crash in 1942 that left him severely injured and having to have a leg amputated. ***See Personal Experience Pages.  His brother Frank also served in the RAF, see above