28 March 2013

Who was Keith Hughes?

In virtually every letter to Noel, George includes family news about Keith, who is Noel's older brother. When Noel compiled a family history in the early 1980s, he wrote the following biography of Keith.


Keith was born November 5, 1905 in Adelaide, South Australia. In February 1909 the family moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he attended primary school. He attended high school in Wellington where he was a top athlete. He was quite skillful in cricket and rugby football and he participated in these sports well into his adult years, and assumed responsible offices in the administration in Australia of these sports on a local and national basis.

Note: While I'm not sure of the significance of 
Keith's first name, I do know that his two
middle names are significant in the 
family history. Willis was a family name
on his mother's side, and Bagot was a 
family name on his father's side.
In Wellington the family lived at Lyall Bay, on the ocean, where he was Captain of one of the Volunteer Surf and Life Saving Clubs.

After high school he was apprenticed to an architect but gave it up following a minor accident where his skull was creased by a piece of falling masonry. March 15, 1924 the family moved to Melbourne, Australia where Keith secured employment with the Texas Oil Company. This lasted until the onslaught of the Great Depression. For the next several years he was unemployed. Fortunately he was able to secure work for short periods with the Texas Company, when a boat arrived from America, and with the Dryfuss Co. and the Wheat Commission during the harvest seasons, exporting grain. He was also studying accountancy. In March of 1934 he obtained a permanent position in the Credit Department of Myers Emporium.

For excerpts that specifically
mention Keith, see
Excerpts: News About Brother Keith
Beginning in 1935 he was keeping company with Ella Heale, whom he had first met in the Texaco Office several years earlier, bringing her home in August to meet Mother and Father. On March 5, 1938 Keith and Ellie were married. The following May, Ellie entered hospital because of a tumor. Five months later, October 14, 1938, son Ian was delivered by cesarean section.

Ellie's health, the outbreak of World War Two and the death of Father in December 1940, all created uncertainty for the future. Keith became a member of the Australian Armed Forces and served in the islands to the North of Australia, with the Air Force rank, FLT. LT.

After the war he secured employment with the Australian Safety Council, Victorian Air Safety Division.

Keith also participated in the Boy Scout Movement as a volunteer executive in the Melbourne Headquarters.

Ellie's health was an ever present concern and it culminated in her death in September 1952. Son Ian was fourteen years of age. Three years later, July 27, 1955, Keith married Doris Garbutt.

In the period prior to his marriage, Keith while leading a Boy Scout hike in Tasmania suffered a coronary he was not aware of, because unfortunately it was incorrectly diagnosed.

Three months after his marriage he suffered a second coronary, passing away October 27, 1955.

Doris was three months pregnant at the time of Keith's death. She delivered a son Keith Thomas Bagot, April 22, 1956.

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