Edward Henry Wolfe Keene 1912-1987


1912. Edward Henry Wolfe Keene was born to Archibald Douglas Wolfe Keene & May Barrett on 3/12/1912 at the Star Hotel,  82 High Street Winchester, and registered 18 December 1912. 'May Barrett' proved to be an alias for Mary Elizabeth Barry


May Barrett was not his mother's actual name: she was born as Mary Elizabeth Barry!!!


The following children were born to Archibald & May: Edward H W Keene Winchester Dec 1912, mother Barrett on freebmd; Archibald H W Keene Woolwich Mar 1915;; Randell B W Keene Woolwich Sep 1917 ; Frederick William W Keene Alverstoke Dec 1919 & Samuel R W Keene Alverstoke Mar 1922 . , mother given as Barry for all the last 4 on freebmd!

Children of Archibald Keene & Mary E Barry

1921C. . Edward Keene, 8, was living Alverstoke, Hampshire with his mother & 3 siblings . Edward MISTRANSCRIBED as Edith!!!. Here Randall is called Ronald and Frederick is called William! His father, Archibald, does not appear as he was in the Army This census gives May's age as 30 years and 5 months: together with Cloyne, this enables us to establish that she was actually born as Mary Elizabeth Barry, and she does admit to Barry on the b.c.s of 4 of her children!

May Keene
Female 1890 30 Cloyne Cork, Ireland Home Duties -
Edith Keene
Male 1913 8 Hampshire, England - -
Archibald Keene
Male 1915 6 Woolwich, Kent, England - -
Ronald Keene
Male 1917 3 Woolwich, Kent, England - -
William Keene
Male 1919 1 Gosport, Hampshire, England - -
Elizabeth Keene
Female 1880 41 Bermondsey, London, England Home Duties -
Marjjo Keene
Female 1913 8 Gibraltar - -
Robert Keene
Male 1917 4 Gibraltar - -
Cissie Hunt
Female 1886 35 Farnham, Surrey, England Home Duties -
Violet Cissie Hunt
Female 1914 6 - -

I have yet to find out who Elizabeth Keene, 1880, was: presumably the wife/widow of a male Keene, but Archibald only had one elder brother and he still alive with wife Clara in the 1921C - so maybe a descendant of a brother of Samuel W Keene 1836??

1922. His father.Archibald, dies,of stomach cancer, just months after his youngest brother, Samuel, had been born

Whether the family get split up at this stage, or as late as 1925, is not known

1925. His mother applied for his birth certificate. She was in the King Edward Sanatorium, Midhurst : this for TB . . Admission & discharge records for the Sanatorim, held in W Sussex Archives in Chichester, would be REALLY INTERESTING


The 5 boys were split up sometime between their father's death in 1922 and, seemingly, 1925

He was looked after by his half/step aunt Isabella Keene(“Bella”) whom David vaguely thought he remembered visiting as a small boy. He thinks she was then living in Hove ( no, this was Henrietta; and this was the person David remembered . I think Isabella was probably living in Hastings) . Edward was sent to Mill Hill school - so there was still family money around 1925-1927

My father had a number of half-aunts and uncles, born to Samuel Keene’s first wife Susan. Apart from Isabella, there was Sybil, Grace (who I believe became Mrs Cooper Turner and had two daughters, Etta and Emmy) and Susan, who married a man called Bliss. He may have been the factor to some Duke or Lord down in Devon. The half-uncles were Walter, Randall and possibly Edward. 

His next 2 brothers, Archie and Randall, were also taken in by step aunts/uncles but the 2 youngest were sent to an orphanage- together??

He met his future wife when he went in to the post office branch where she worked

1937. Edward Henry Wolfe Keene married Lilian Marjorie Conway . They married at Staines Registry Office on 14/9/37. His half aunt, Isabella Keene, born 1871, was a witness. The marriage, at Staines,was reported in the Richmond Herald, -FMP newspapers - , saying he, of 33 Cadogan Road, Surbiton, was the eldest son of the late Archibald Douglas Wolfe Keene, RGA, and the grandson of the late Samuel Wolfe Keene. of Mill Lodge, Barnes. and Lilian was the daughter of Mrs Conway of Burgoyne Road, Sunbury on Thames

Certificate to come = Please David

1939-1945 .Edward served in the Army. Helped evacuate from Dunkirk and the horrors here effected him strongly: he returned from the war a different man to the one Lilian had married, was no longer bubbly and enthusiastic: obtaining a steady job was the limit of his ambition. He was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Corps of Signals in Africa when his son, David Wolfe Keene, was born in April 1941. He preferred to stay in this rank rather than become a 2nd Lieutenanat, as the pay was better ( not sure if this were true) .He had spent a harrowing couple of days on the Dunkirk beaches in 1940, overseeing the embarkation of the men under his command, and his wife was convinced that it was that terrible experience which changed him from the outgoing, enterprising young man she had married into someone to whom a secure home and job were of first importance. He rarely spoke about the war to his son, and certainly did not mention Dunkirk .

His army number was 692333 and he was transferred to Intelcorp - FMP

Pot his number into the Gazette

David- you, as a near relative, can send away for his Service Record: cost £30

1941. David Wolfe Keene born to Edward & LilianStaines Jun 1941

1943 Andrew Philip Keene born 29/6/1943 to Edward & Lilian Staines Sep 1943. . He seems to have lived with his mother, or taken over his mother's house on her death in 2000. He never married and had no children. Died in about 2009 - David will have to have a look in the loft in due course to see if I can find anything that gives a more precise date. he died 8/2/2010 London. Will and probate- FMP records

Edward returned to a job as a clerk in a bank, rising to become a branch manager

parents .keene-father


David, would you please write a pen portrait of him? Did they move to Hastings on retirement?

1987.He died, aged 75, on 16 August 1987 Hastings,. Seemingly no probate . Have you got his d.c? What did he die of??

Keene Index