McKeown, Lieutenant John Alexander Hunter

No 2 Sqn AFC

John McKeown was born on 23 October 1894 in Romsey, Victoria. He was a Baker when he joined the 7th Infantry Battalion in Melbourne on 16 February 1916 after serving for 4 years in the AMF Light Horse. He left Melbourne on HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 31 July and joined his battalion in France in November and, aside from a short period in hospital, served with it until he transferred to the AFC for pilot training in October 1917. He graduated in April 1918 and was commissioned. After further training, and a promotion to Lieutenant, he ferried an SE 5a to France in June and was posted to No 2 Sqn.

He was killed in action on 14 October 1918 while flying SE 5a D6968. He failed to return from an Offensive Patrol after leaving at 15.15, and was last seen near Tournai after a fight with 12 Fokker D.VIIs. There are three claims by German fighter pilots from Jasta 43 which may relate to Lt McKeown or the other loss from No 2 Sqn that day, Capt E W Cornish in E5989: Ltn Guido Schobinger claimed an SE near Ypres, as did Vzfw K Buberg – it was the first victory claim for both German airmen. Oblt Adolf Gutknecht also claimed an SE over Roulers at 16.00, his 8th and last victory.

Lt McKeown was originally buried by the German Army in a Grave in the comparatively remote Tressin Churchyard Cemetery, but his body was moved to a cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1929.

Lt J A H McKeown is buried in Grave I C 12 at Laventie Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France.

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