Obituary – William J. Keating (1894 – 1918)

In Memoriam.

William J. Keating, Captain Machine Gun Battalion.

Born in Texas, Md., October 31, 1894.

Killed in action, near Molleville Farm, France, October 27, 1918.

William J. Keating was the son of John H. Keating and Mary A. Keating.

Since the death of his parents during his childhood he lived in the household of his oldest brother, Raymond M. Keating, 2104 Atlantic Avenue, Baltimore, Md. In 1912 he was graduated from Loyola High School, where he attracted the attention of his teachers by the quickness and retentiveness of his mind.

After leaving school he obtained a position in the engineering department of the Roland Park Company. He was a prominent and enthusiastic member of the Knights of Columbus.

When in 1917 the call to patriotism sounded forth he enlisted in the Old Machine Gun Company of the 5th Regiment, M. N. G. His rise in the service was remarkable in its rapidity, – from first-class to private to sergeant was a matter of only two months, and when selections were made from his division for men to attend the Third Officers’ Training Camp he was examined and passed on his own record.

May 10, 1918, he was assigned to Company A, 111th Machine Gun Battalion. Later his transfer to the Machine Gun Company of the 114th Infantry caused an almost complete separation from his former associates. He sailed for France with his division from Newport News, Va., June 15. There was hard work ahead in France and hard fighting, too. Only three weeks after his previous promotion he was chosen to wear a captain’s insignia. He was in the most terrific of the fighting around Verdun; how well he did his part can be but poorly expressed in official citation:

“Captain William Keating (deceased), 114th Infantry. For extraordinary heroism in action near Molleville Farm, north of Verdun, France, October 27, 1918. While he was in command of the Machine Gun Company of his regiment, and every available gunner had been killed or wounded, Captain Keating personally manned one of the guns and kept it in operation until killed.” He could have signalled “Can’t fire barrage; all my men are casualties,” but this he scorned to do.

He was awarded the D. S. C. for extraordinary heroism in action.

Source: Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Historical Magazine, published 1920 by Maryland Historical Society, p. 25. Available via

I haven’t yet fit him in, but I suspect William was one of the family of Texas, Maryland Keatings I’m starting to develop something of a tree for. Also see obituaries for Thomas Patrick Keating Jr. and his wife Catharine (White) Keating.

One Reply to “Obituary – William J. Keating (1894 – 1918)”

  1. I’ve been looking into family history lines more in depth. Thanks for the site!

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