Keith was born on 28 September 1939, at Carlton Vic, and enlisted in the RAN on 28 September 1957 as a recruit Naval Airman for 6 Years, but continued to re-engage to complete 20-years’ service in the FAA Ordnance/Air Weapons branch.

In many respects he was every bit a typical sailor. Keith was short in stature, but always very cheerful and full of personality. He also had a younger brother in the navy who was the exact image of Keith. This frequently led to a lot of explaining by Keith, as he was often mistaken for his brother who was always getting into trouble (usually with girls but not always). This, over a number of years resulted in several back-eyes for Keith.  

Big-hearted and always looking to do a good turn, Keith was able to engage people with his infectious enthusiasm for all manner of things. One of these occasions was on HMAS Melbourne (circa 1960) where Keith had all the cigarette smokers in 4 Charlie mess, of which there were many, exclusively smoking Rothmans cigarettes. The reason for this was that Keith had heard that Rothmans would sponsor a ‘seeing-eye dog’ for every thousand packets of Rothmans that were smoked.

During Melbourne’s annual SEATO trip north, Keith dutifully collected the many hundreds of empty Rothmans packets which were flattened and placed in a kitbag. As it turned out the accumulation of the empty cigarette packets filled many kitbags. On return to Sydney, with the aid of several helpers, Keith loaded-up a taxi with the kitbags and proceeded along Parramatta Road to the Rothmans head office. On arrival Keith was ushered into the presence of the Public Relations manager who was stunned by the avalanche of empty Rothmans cigarette packets, and equally surprised to learn that they were a contribution towards the sponsorship of several ‘seeing-eye dogs’ courtesy of the ship’s company of HMAS Melbourne

It was a crestfallen Keith who returned to the ship that day – to explain that Rothmans had never heard of the ‘seeing-eye dog’ project. But, apparently the manager was impressed by his efforts and said Rothmans would probably make a donation if that was alright… as he led him to the front door. It has been mooted that at about this time Keith decided to give-up cigarette smoking!

Upon retirement Keith moved to Queensland where, as a member of his local RSL, his undiminished enthusiasm and energy was directed into producing a hugely amusing, non-PC, raucous newsletter which was circulated amongst his many friends and neighbours.

The following comment by Keith is a marvellous summary of the man – all 5 foot 6 inches of him – which is that ‘ big surprises come in small packages’.

Rest well old pal.