John Lionel De Keyser

Pilot Officer, 206 Squadron
Service number 79166
Died 15 Oct 1940
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial & Willesden Jewish Cemetery, United Kingdom
Age 25

John was born on 8 April 1915 in West Ham, Essex to Polish born Woolf (William) and Scottish mother Asneth nee Lewis and he had a younger sister Lorna. Their parents married in 1912 in Whitechapel and Woolf was listed as a tea and coffee merchant before changing his career to a monumental monument mason. Woolf died in 1944 and after the war Asneth moved to South Africa.

John attended East Ham Grammar school and was a member of the Stepney Jewish Boy’s Club.

In 1939, John was training at No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School, RAF Desford and transferred in early 1940 to RAF St Eval, Cornwall with 206 Sqn. On 15 October 1940, Hudson T9303 departed on a reconnaissance mission over the south west coast. The aircraft failed to return. Despite a full search the aircraft was never found. All four crew are commemorated on Runnymede Memorial.

William Kent, 518350
James Steel, 644325
Derek Edmund Teden, 90486
John Lionel De Keyser, 79166

Memorial token on his grandfather Isidor’s grave at Willesden Jewish Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Les Cazin
Photo courtesy of Stanley Kaye