295072 (2723683) Charles William David HARVEY-KELLY, Irish Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Harvey-Kelly, Charles William David
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: 295072
    Regiment: 3 Battalion Irish Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Foreign to British: Belgium
    Award: Chevalier of the Order of Leopold II with palm and Croix de Guerre 1940 with palm
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 08 December 1945

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    One of my father's platoon officers (3rd Battalion Irish Guards, NWE) who died earlier this year ...


    Liam Collins
    PUBLISHED 19/07/2015

    William Harvey-Kelly
    War veteran who fought at the battle of Arnhem and in later life promoted ecumenism[​IMG]

    Col William Harvey-Kelly, who died on July 11 at the age of 91, was the scion of a landed Westmeath family who played a small but significant part in one of the last great battles of World War II.

    Born in London in 1924 he spent the first three years of his life in Quetta (now Pakistan), where his father Charles was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army and his mother Sybil was a medical doctor.

    In 1927, when he was three, the family bought Clonhugh, an imposing Victorian mansion built by Lord Greville near Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

    Harvey-Kelly grew up with ponies, fishing, shooting and hunting and went to school at the nearby Wilson's Hospital before being sent, at the age of 8, to Castle Park School in Dublin.

    Harvey-Kelly was still a schoolboy at Wellington public school in England when the war broke out in 1939. But after completing his education and reading law at Oxford for a year, he joined the Irish Guards at the age of 19, in October 1943.

    He later served as a platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion of the Irish Guards and took part, with the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards under Lieutenant Col Joe Vandeleur, in what was known as known as 'Operation Market Garden' in the weeks after D-Day. The action of the Irish Guards at Nijmegan in Holland, close to the Battle of Arnhem, was later commemorated in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far.

    At a battle in Sourdeval his unit was cut off from the main army and came under heavy fire from a Panzer division 'lurking' in nearby woods. Lieutenant William Harvey-Kelly, as he was then, managed to bring his men back to safety while many of his friends were killed and he was the only officer left in the unit.

    "This was a time of heavy fighting for the Irish Guards and Col William saw much frontline action and many of his guardsmen and fellow officers lost their lives" his funeral service in Killucan, Co Westmeath, was told by fellow Irish Guards man Ian Robertson.

    In October 1944 he was wounded in the right shoulder and evacuated back to Britain but returned to his unit in Germany in 1945 for the final operations of the war. He was later awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Order of Leopold for his exploits in Belgium and Holland.

    After the war, his father advised him to stay in the army rather than return to Oxford to pursue his studies. It was not a surprising choice, as his grand-uncle HD Harvey-Kelly of the Royal Irish Rifles was the first British Army pilot to land in France during World War I and was killed in an aerial battle in 1917. HD brother Charles Harvey-Kelly was Military Governor of Jerusalem the same year.

    He later served with the Irish Guards in Palestine and Egypt. He married his wife Picia in 1956 and they had three children, Caroline, Francesca and Hugh.

    During his army days, he was a keen polo player at Windsor, playing with Prince Philip and the youthful Prince Charles, among others.

    He rose to the rank of regimental Colonel in the Irish Guards, retiring from British army in 1968. In 1972 he and the family returned to Westmeath to take over the running of Clonhugh and its farm from his father, who was now in his 80s.

    As well as becoming Joint Master of the Westmeath Foxhounds, with his brother Denis, he was a keen fisherman on nearby Lough Owel where he kept a 'leaky' GP14 sailing boat. He was also a keen hunter and his daughter said that during the shooting season "no snipe could rest easy on the bogs around Clonhugh".

    Col William Harvey-Kelly was also involved in the Irish School of Ecumenics in Dublin and worked closely with the Jesuit priest Father Michael Hurley promoting closer links between the Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterians churches, at a time when attending a church of a different faith was not as accepted as it is today.

    Along with Frank Robinson he helped revive the Irish Guards Association in Dublin, for which he was awarded an MBE. He was particularly pleased with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland, something he never believed would happen in his lifetime and he told reporters at the time that it was clear sign that the rift between the two states had been healed at last.

    On the 50th anniversary of the ending of World War II he revisited the towns and villages liberated by the Irish Guards in 1944 and 1945 and met people who recalled the bloody battles around Arnhem at the time.

    The Harvey-Kelly family sold Clonhugh in 1984 because of difficult farming conditions, "not to mention the leaky roof" and moved to the nearby village of Killucan, where he continued to pursue his interest in country sports, bridge and family gathering.

    Col. William Harvey Kelly died at St Camillus nursing home on July 11. His coffin, draped in the regimental flag of the Irish Guards, arrived at Mount Jerome cemetery to the strains of The Minstrel Boy.

    Sunday Independent




    2010 Dinner 054_2.jpg
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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Guards Magazine
    Colonel William Harvey-Kelly MBE Late Irish Guards
    by Brian Wilson CBE formerly Irish Guards


    Born in London in 1924, William Harvey-Kelly died in July 2015. He spent the first three years of his life in Quetta where his father was a Lieutenant Colonel DSO in the Baluch Regiment (Indian Army); his mother, a doctor, was the daughter of a liberal MP. In 1927, the family moved to a property in Co Westmeath, where William grew up with horses, fishing, shooting, and hunting, before attending Wellington College in England. In 1943, leaving Oxford early, he joined the Irish Guards and, after training, was posted briefly to the 3rd Battalion (lorried infantry in the Guards Armoured Division) in Yorkshire before becoming a 1st line reinforcement, ready for casualties after the expected Second Front i.e. invasion of Europe. As a reinforcement, he languished for weeks in various tented camps in the south of England before eventually crossing the Channel with a party of Guardsmen in mid-July 1944, reaching the 3rd Battalion and his slit trench in the bocage country in the south of Normandy as a platoon commander. On 11th August 1944, he took part in the disastrous two-company attack at Sourdeval, being one of only two officer to survive unscathed. Thereafter, from late August, with the German withdrawal at the Falaise Gap, the Guards Armoured Division assumed its proper role of pushing at speed across northern France, Belgium and Holland, coming to a stop at Nijmegen, as part of Operation Market Garden. At this stage, William was wounded and sent back to Britain. On recovery, in 1945, he re-joined the Battalion in Germany. For his services in Belgium and Holland, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Order of Leopold.

    On a post-war commemorative trip to re-live Operation Market Garden, William was delighted at Joe’s Bridge to find the remains of his slit trench dug on the night No 2 Company captured the bridge (with the help of tanks of the 2nd Armoured Battalion). On the same trip, at Nijmegen, William recounted that on a watery polder on 21st September 1944 during the Battalion’s attempted advance to link up with the Airborne at Arnhem 15 kms away, he was sheltering under a culvert as a German tank approached. With his second shot, William hit the tank with the PIAT (projector infantry anti-tank). He said he was disgusted when the order came to withdraw, abandoning the Airborne.

    After the war, William stayed in the Army, serving in Germany and Palestine. Following a short tour with the Irish Guards Independent Training Company in Ballykinler, he became ADC to the GOC Northern Ireland, Major General Ouvry Roberts. He then re-joined the 1st Battalion, serving in Germany and Egypt before being selected to attend the Staff College, where in 1955, he met Picia who was being shown around and found him washing his green Ford car. Later that day at a cocktail party, he persuaded her to accompany him dog racing. They were married in 1956.

    As a keen horse rider in the Army, William took up polo at Windsor, playing with Prince Philip and the youthful Prince Charles. Picia exercised the polo ponies between matches and bred puppies from William’s dog, Meg, an Irish Water Spaniel, that used to come to work with him in London. After staff jobs in London District and on the Inter Services Planning Team, he was posted to the BAOR to command the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. In 1966, he was promoted Colonel and Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Irish Guards.

    After his retirement from the Army in 1969, he worked as the City Marshall to the Lord Mayor of London, visiting Japan and Canada. In 1972, the family returned to Ireland where William undertook fundraising for various charities and in smoothing relations between religions. The Troubles were then at their height and it took great tact, discretion, and some personal risk to carry out this work, bearing in mind that William was a Protestant. Other voluntary work was chairmanship of the Southern Irish Branch of the Irish Guards Association; a War Pensions Committee; and the British Legion. All this had to be done on the quiet. In 1989, he was awarded the MBE for services to the ex-services community in the Republic of Ireland. In 2000, with the thawing of relations, he welcomed the band of the Irish Guards to Dublin as part of the Regiment’s centenary celebrations. The culmination of his work was the visit to Dublin in 2011 of Queen Elizabeth when the Republic recognised the Irish soldiers who had fought and died in both World Wars. William was interviewed on RTE (Irish radio and TV) wearing his medals and sitting in his wheelchair, telling reporters that he felt her visit was a sign that the rift between the two countries was healing and that the Queen’s visit was something he had not expected in his lifetime.

    William is survived by his wife Picia and their son Hugh and two daughters Caroline and Chessy. His death marks the passing of another survivor of that dwindling band of Second World War soldiers and of a man who strove to improve the lot of Micks in Ireland.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  4. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    I had the chance to meet mr. Harvey Kelly a few years ago during a battlefieldtour trough Belgium and Holland. A nice man wih great stories.
  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: Col William Harvey-Kelly. RIP :poppy:

  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From IG Journal, 1969

    Officers, 3rd Battalion, Hoffnungstal, 1946.

    Back Row: Lieut. C.J. Atkins, Capt. W.E. Crowder, Capt. F.S. Collin, Lieut. R.D.C. Bacon, Lieut. C.R. Robertson

    Centre Row: Capt. C.W.D. Harvey-Kelly, Capt. R.B.H. Ingleby, Lieut. A.L. Samuelson, Capt. D.E.J. Radcliffe, Lieut. W. Moore, MC

    Front Row: Lieut. J.E. Russi, Capt. A.N. Bell MC, Major A.P. Dodd, Capt. K.G. Darrell-Rew, Lieutenant Colonel D.H. FitzGerald DSO, Major B.O.P. Eugster DSO, MC

    Sitting: Lieut. E.D.D. Ryder, Lieut. P.N.H. Fawcett, Capt. J.E.C. Lewis-Crosby, Lieut. P.H. Filmer-Sankey, Lieut. J.A. Aylmer, Capt. Lord Plunket, Capt. (QM) R. Hastings, Lieut. R.H.S. O’Grady MC

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 295072
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Unit: Irish Guards

    London Gazette : 7 December 1943
    The undermentioned Cadets, to be 2nd Lts.:—
    I. G'ds.
    1st Oct. 1943:—
    2723683 Charles William David HARVEY-KELLY (295072)

    London Gazette : 24 September 1946
    I. G’ds.
    2nd Lt. C. W. D. HARVEY-KELLY (295072) to be Lt., 4th Sept. 1946.

    London Gazette : 2 March 1951
    I. G'ds.
    Lt. C. W. D. HARVEY-KELLY (295072) to be Capt., 4th Mar. 1951.

    London Gazette : 13 May 1969
    Lt.-Col. C W D HARVEY-KELLY (295072) , I.G., retires on retired pay, 12th May 1969, and as granted the hon. rank of Col.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019

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