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KEYS, Martin



22nd Infantry Battalion

Dandenong 31 August 1920

Ella Downie, his mother.

9 August 1942 in the field



17 December 1943 in Papua New Guinea aged 23

Martin is Buried in Lae War Cemetery Papua New Guinea.

He lived with his family in Meeniyan and is well remembered by his extended family

He was born in Dandenong in 1920 and lived in Elwood before moving to Meeniyan. Martin attended Meeniyan State School from 1929 and Leongatha High School which he attended in the 1930's. This was in the days before the use of school buses and he rode to High School on a horse. After leaving school he worked on the family farm.

When he enlisted in the army, Martin was recorded as a farmer of Southlands, Farmer's Rd Meeniyan

Military History

His name is on the Dumbalk memorial, the Leongatha memorial and the memorial at Leongatha Secondary College (formerly Leongatha High).
Martin was an original member of the Leongatha detachment of the 22nd Militia Battalion when it was formed in 1938 and went on to full time army service in 1941.

He showed potential as a leader and was made a lieutenant in March 1942. Martin was a skilled and popular platoon and company officer.

The 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion sailed for New Guinea in early 1943 and saw action in Milne Bay, Lae and Finschhafen. In 1943 a special group was set up under Martin's command. This group was trained for hazardous work. In December 1943 Martin's platoon suffered six casualties in an advance against much opposition. Martin was badly wounded by machine gun fire and he died the next day, 17 December. He was 23 years old. Martin is buried in the Lae War Cemetery.


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