I’m not entirely sure but I think this is the first major obit I’ve seen of someone I actually met.
The book was an immediate success, and has never been out of print. It marked out Keegan as the most sparkling writer among the talented lecturers of the Sandhurst war studies department. This led to some jealousy, but he was able to use the vital addition to his income to educate the two sons and two daughters born to him and his wife Susanne Everett, later the biographer of Alma Mahler and Oscar Kokoschka.
I met him has his sons were in the same house as myself at Downside. One in the same year too. I even recall a conversation about how the US edition of The Face of Battle (a book club edition I think) had rather made the finances.
My actual meeting was rather trivial, in that he gave me a lift once. Which was most kind of him: can’t remember where to or anything but I do recall that and only that.
On emerging from hospital two years later, his hip immobilised with a bone graft, Keegan won a place to read History at Oxford. But on going up to Balliol he developed TB again, and was away for another year while being treated with new drugs. He then returned, walking with a stick, to find himself among a highly talented intake, which included the future Lord Chief Justice Lord Bingham, Northern Ireland Secretaries Patrick Mayhew and Peter Brooke, historian Keith Thomas, the Benedictine monk Daniel Rees, and the Prince of Wales’s Australian schoolmaster Michael Collins Persse.
Daniel Rees being not just a Benedictine monk but one at Downside.
Dom Daniel never taught me directly but he might well have either of the Keegans.
At a certain level British, especially Catholic British, society is really rather a small world. When my own father was at Downside the three quarters of the First XV read, for some matches, Worstall, Jebb, Appleby. Frs. Appleby and Jebb were, in order, the headmasters at Downside when I went there. Each of whom were my teachers for RI or a year.
As I say, a small world in some ways.
As a passing thought, it must be slightly strange to end up teaching the children of your own schoolmates. Especially if one has taken orders and thus has no children of one’s own…..
But as another fleeting thought, perhaps it’s not all that rare either. Teachers do tend to be drawn from the same sort of milieu as those being taught. From the same locality in many schools, in the public schools from those who have been to public schools, in the grander universities from those who have been to the grander universities.
It would not surprise me is dearieme had ended up teaching the occasional child of those he went through uni with for example…..