Lieutenant Sir Thomas Evans Keith LEES
Date of birth: 11 April 1886
Date of death: 14 August 1915
Died of wounds received in action aged 29
Buried at sea
Thomas Evans Keith was born at Wimborne, Dorset, to Elliott Lees a Conservative Member of Parliament for Oldham and, later, Birkenhead, and Florence Keith. His father was created a baronet in 1897.
Thomas had two younger brothers and five sisters. Like his father, he was educated at Eton and Christ Church, coming up to Christ Church in 1905. On his father’s death in the autumn after he came down, he inherited the title. About the same time, he joined the Dorset Yeomanry, 15th Hussars and went to Australia as ADC to Lord Chelmsford, the Governor of New South Wales.
On 16 September 1913 he married Benita Blanche Pelly.
After the outbreak of war, Thomas was posted to the Dardanelles where he commanded the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade, was wounded at Suvla Bay
and died of his wounds.
“Sir Thomas Lees, who was formerly on the staff of Lord Chelmsford, was wounded at the Dardanelles, and died from his wounds. His body was buried at sea .”
Brisbane Courier 3 September 1915
Sir Thomas Evans Keith Lees was honorary A-de-C to Lord Chelmsford in 1911-12. Ho was 29 years of age, and was a student of social and political problems. Lord Chelmsford evinced a great interest in Sir Thomas, and predicted a brilliant career for him. About 12 months ago he married the oldest daughter of Sir Harold Pelly. He was educated at Oxford, where he took his B.A. degree. He held a commission in the 16th (the King's) Hussars. “
The Sydney Morning Herald 3 September 1915
Sir Thomas is commemorated on Panels 17 and 18 on the Helles Memorial.
His Estate amounted to £188,610 9s 9d. Administration with Will was granted to his brother on 9 December 1915.
In 1929, his widow married as his second wife, Alan Francis Brooke 1st Viscount Alanbrooke and was the mother of the 3rd Viscount. She was killed in a car crash in 1968. The Lees family were not without tragedy; their mother died in 1917, her youngest daughter died in 1918, her third son in 1922, and her second daughter had been drowned at sea in July 1909, on the SS Waratah, en route from Durban to Cape Town, which disappeared with 211 passengers and crew aboard. The disappearance of the ship remains one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time. To this day no trace of the ship has ever been found,