Just Another Pair Of Socks

Melton District ANZACS

William Patrick (A.K.A. William Hurley) KEILY


Born: February, 1886

Birthplace: Gisborne / Toolern Vale

Parents: Father: Michael Keily
Mother: Mary Haughey

Died: 4 October, 1917

Cause: Killed In Action

Burial place: Buried at Map Ref. Sheet 28 NEJ.4. Central Cablehead N.C.

Awards and Honours

  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal


2nd Battalion



Regimental Service Number: 5798

Enlistment date: 16 December, 1915 Liverpool, NSW

Age at enlistment: 29 years and 10 months

Address at enlistment: Forbes, NSW

Religion: Roman Catholic

Marital Status: Single

Next of kin: Stated no living relatives
Single on Service Record, but divorced from Ruby Emily Keily (Gubbins), c/o Clare Castle Hotel, Graham St., Port Melbourne. (Later at Woolpack Hotel, Carlton, Vic.)

Found later to have a son: William Michael (Patrick) Keily.
In his will he named Mrs Susan M Martin, Club House Hotel, Forbes, NSW, and later of Duke Street, Kensington NSW, as sole beneficiary.
In a letter to the army (15/10/18) Mrs Martin stated that under the name of Hurley he owed her money for the sale of some horses, hence he willed his effects to her as payment thereof.

Physical Description: Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 13 stones 7 pounds
Complexion: Dark
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dark
Distinctive marks: Vaccinations, scar on left chin

Embarkation ship: HMAT A55 Kyarra.

Rank: Lance Corporal

War Service Summary

01/02/1917 - After training in England, proceeded to France
21/04/17 - Admitted to hospital with Trench Fever
13/05/17 - Taken to England suffering from Trench Foot
29/09/17R - Rejoined battalion in France
04/10/17 - Killed in action at Passchendaele, France.

Killed in action.

Date: 4 October, 1917

Red Cross Record:
"Hurley was wounded at the ridge on the left of Polygon Wood between that wood and Passchendale. I was told by S/B. named Riley (Since Killed) who carried him down to the Dressing Station, an advanced post, and who also told me that he died at the D/S I cannot tell the name of the other S/B nor did I hear anything of Hurleys burial."
Sgt. H. L. Ryan # 895

"We were at Polygon Wood. He was in the XV platoon but that day close to me, a shell came down and killed several men, Hurley amongst them. They were covered over where they fell by knocking down a bit of the trench. He was a big chap quite 6ft, had been a policeman in some country town I forget where, age 30 or 32 I think." Eyewitness.
Cpl A.J. Marshall # 3863

"I knew Hurley well He was a Corporal in D. Co. and was with me at Zonnebeke on 04/10/17, and he helped me bury Mr. T. B. Smith on the 02/10/17. He had been on fatigue and was sitting in the trench when he was wounded right through the head and killed outright without suffering. His name was Bill, he was inclined to be dark and of nuggety build. He was killed in the action, and we had to carry on, so I do not know where he was buried, but I am quite sure he was in action up to 8 a.m. on 4/10/17."
Pte. J. Corbett # 3480

Additional Information

In the following investigation it is very clear that:
William Keily definitely used the name William Hurley to enlist.
William Keily declared that his birthplace (as Hurley) was Toolern whereas his birth certificate (as Keily) shows Gisborne. The Couangault area of Gisborne is right next to Toolern Vale.

The army was certainly satisfied that a William Keily had enlisted under the pseudonym of William Hurley. The birth and marriage certificates show incontrovertibly that this present document and the army record are about the same man.


Australian War Memorial
Service Record
Embarkation Roll