Keith (on left) with his father; Keith in his Special Air Service uniform
Keith with Letitia Blake
J. Keith Killby
June 15, 1916–September 7, 2018
Keith Killby, a former prisoner of war and founder of Monte San Martino Trust, died yesterday at his home in London.
About 10 years ago, I first learned of the Trust.
At the same time, I discovered Keith Killby had been interned at P.G. 59 and escaped though the same hole battered through the camp wall that my father passed through on the night of September 14, 1943.
In planning a trip to the UK in 2012, I reached out to Trust secretary and trustee Letitia Blake. Might she arrange for me to meet Keith?
A few weeks later, on our first day in London, Letitia met my partner Mark and me at the Swiss Cottage tube station and together we walked several blocks to the quiet street where Keith lived.
J. Keith Killby, in his London flat, holds a copy of his memoir on the day the books arrived from the printer
The initial plan for publication of In Combat, Unarmed: The Memoir of a World War II Soldier and Prisoner of War goes back several years, when Keith’s nephew, Malcolm Angus, approached him about recording his story.
Malcolm lives in New South Wales, Australia. In the epilogue of the memoir, he writes of the challenging process of writing the book when he and Keith were separated by great distance:
“It is June 2011, two weeks before Keith’s ninety-fifth birthday.
“I am writing this epilogue under my uncle’s close direction in his London flat, where we have been hard at work revising and editing his memoir. I started work on his story some years ago, attempting to do so by Royal Mail from my home in Australia. This proved rather difficult, and so I decided to complete the memoir by his side. Knowing that I was planning the visit, he telephoned me and said, ‘You better hurry up!'”