Warrant Officer Keith Oliver Perry

(Posted: May 6, 2012)

Keith Oliver Perry

Warrant Office Keith Oliver Perry was a Canadian airman serving in the 405th Squadron of the Canadian Royal Air Force in World War II.  He became a prisoner of war interned in Stalag Luft VI in Heydekrug, East Prussia.   The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that the 22-year-old airman died as a POW on August 23, 1943.   He is memorialized at the Runnymede Memorial – http://canadaatwar.ca/memorial/world-war-ii/cemetary/1/Runnymede%20Memorial/ and on June 21, 2007, the Canadian Royal Air Force  paid honor to their fallen compatriot in an official dedication ceremony.  The ceremony was held in the Macikai Village Cemetery in the Silute District and was attended by the Canadian military personnel together with their counterparts from the Lithuanian Navy.  A monument dedicated to Warrant Officer Keith Oliver Perry was unveiled at the ceremony which was organized by the Canadian community residing in Lithuania and the Canadian Embassy.

http://canadaatwar.ca/memorial/world-war-ii/125947/warrant-officer-class-i-keith-oliver-perry/

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/13683547

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/1804222

 http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/article-template-standard.page?doc=second-world-war-rcaf-airman-remembered-in-lithuania/i251rz18

I have written to my Lithuanian friend, Stasys, who is the historian, in 2007, who graciously agreed to guide me throughout the former camp area providing valuable information.  It is believed that the young WO Perry died from a disease.  The American Sgt. William Teaff died in Stalag Luft VI as a result of contracting diphtheria.  Dysentery also ran rampant in the camp.  My Father arrived in Heydekrug on February 21st, 1944.  It was months after the death of Keith Oliver Perry but I’ve a feeling that if Dad was still here and I asked him, he would  have known about the Canadian airman.

When I visited the camp area and cemetery in 2007 I remember the sadness that I felt for the POWs who lost their lives in Stalag Luft VI and whose remains lie in an undetermined location on the grounds.  I was heartsick  for their families.  There were two monuments which were not far from each other and they were identical.  One memorial was inscribed with the names of the Americans who died in the camp: Sgt. Walter Nies, S/Sgt. George Walker and Sgt. William Teaff.  The other was the memorial that had been dedicated just months before my visit in memory of Warrant Officer Keith Oliver Perry.  I knew of the demise of the Americans from documents that I had read but had not learned about WO Perry.  Just recently, his cousin sent an email via the web site and I have to say that it does something to me having contact with a family member of one of the young fallen heroes who I felt such great sadness for.  It could easily have been my Father who never made it out of the camp.  I recall, when I walked through the area, thinking that I would love to be able to tell their loved ones that I was there and I was thinking of their precious husband or father or brother or friend; of course the parents would have been gone by that time.  But I thought  of how tragic that it would have been for those parents to never have their precious child return home and how difficult life would have to be for them; a pain they would take to their graves.  I’m glad that I could pay homage to those who I thought about as I walked the sacred grounds.  They gave their lives for us and they should never be forgotten.  And we should never forget the sacrifices of the grieving families who would never see their loved ones again.

16 responses to “Warrant Officer Keith Oliver Perry”

  1. Tara says:

    This is my great uncle. My grandparents have a painting of his resting site in their living room. Wow! Thank you.

    • Ken Whitehorn says:

      Dear Tara,

      I am working on family Genealogy. Keith’s father Roy was my Mom’s (June Leff Whitehorn) uncle.

      I would appreciate it if you could contact me directly at ourclandna@inbox.com if you are willing to share information about the family.

      I hope to hear from you,
      Ken Whitehorn
      Lakeville MN

  2. Tara says:

    Do you have any pictures of the memorial? This is my Great Uncle, brother of my Grandmother Phyllis.
    Thank you so very much for sharing.

    • Remember History says:

      I can’t imagine the sadness your family has dealt with all these years in the loss of your Great Uncle. Thank you for writing. It’s an honor to hear from a family member; your Great Uncle represents all of the heroes who never made it back. The sacrifices were so great for these heroes and for their loved ones who never had the closure of having their remains returned. My deepest sympathies are with all of you. A link to a photo of the monument in Macikai: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/13683547 and also a remembrance of your Great Uncle at: http://canadaatwar.ca/memorial/world-war-ii/125947/warrant-officer-class-i-keith-oliver-perry/ I also have 2 documents that I will email to you, that I received from the Lithuanian historian, Stasys Melinauskas. Again, it is a pleasure to hear from a member of W/O Keith Oliver Perry’s family. We will never forget.

  3. Tammy Churchill says:

    This fine young man was my partner’s great uncle as well. Her family has some photos of Keith’s original gravesite, I believe. The Perry traits are very strong in my partner’s family. In fact, she looks just like Keith. Thanks for helping to remember Keith online. – Tammy

    • Remember History says:

      Keith Perry’s sacrifice for our freedom should never be forgotten nor should the sacrifice of his family who never experienced the joy of having their loved one return home to them. Thank you for your comment, Tammy, and kindest regards to the Perry Family.

      • Errin says:

        Thank you both to the organizer of this website and to the brave members of the CAF for taking the time to remember the sacrifice of my great uncle. It means a lot to me.

        Terra you are my cousin. I’m one of Evelyn’s grandkids. If you wish to contact me please do so at elpwhite 1975 @ gmail.com. Please note I have added extra spaces to prevent my email address from be harvested.

        • Remember History says:

          Thank you, Errin, for commenting. It’s an honor and pleasure to meet another of W/O Keith Oliver Perry’s family members. It’s important that his sacrifice is never forgotten. It is rewarding if this web site does serve to connect the loved ones he would never have the luxury of knowing. Sincerely, Candy Brown

    • Ken Whitehorn says:

      Tammy,

      I am working on family Genealogy. Keith’s father Roy was my Mom’s (June Leff Whitehorn) uncle.

      I would appreciate it if you and your partner could contact me directly at ourclandna@inbox.com if your partner is willing to share information about the family.

      I hope to hear from you,
      Ken Whitehorn
      Lakeville MN

  4. CWO Alain Roy says:

    This message is for Tara.

    I am CWO Alain Roy, the Canadian Air Task Force Lithuania Chief Warrant Officer. This is simply to tell you that on 1 Nov 14, Members of the Canadian Embassy, Lcol Pletz, myself and Members of the Canadian Air Task Forces went to Macikai cemetary and paid respect to your Great Uncle, WO1 Keith Oliver Perry. We shall never forget.

    • Remember History says:

      Thank you, CWO Roy, and all who paid their respects to Tara’s Great Uncle WO1 Keith Oliver Perry at Macikai Cemetery on 1 Nov 14. It will be extremely meaningful and heartwarming to his loved ones to realize that WO Perry is not forgotten, as it is to me. I am deeply grateful to you for your remembrance and for your notification of it! It’s an honor to hear from you and an opportunity to thank you for your service! You, too, are appreciated!

    • Tara says:

      Thank you to all who participated in honouring my Great Uncle. Our family is forever grateful for his sacrifice and the efforts made on his behalf. If there is anyway to get a picture of his final resting place that would be nice to share with the members of my family. To you CWO Alain Roy, we salute you for your service. It is so heart warming that to this day he is not forgotten and his service for our country is remembered. I wish my grandmother, Phyllis could see this.

  5. Hello Tara – I’m a public affairs advisor with the RCAF. You can find photos of the November 1st ceremony here: http://www.forcesimages.ca/default.aspx?aid=3202. The photos are high resolution and downloadable. I have also put together a story about the commemoration ceremony that I will publish on the RCAF website (www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca) within the next few days. All the best ~ Joanna Calder

  6. Remember History says:

    Thank you to “Operation Reassurance Air Task Force!” Very touching. Best Regards, Candy Brown

  7. Egle says:

    Hello, Tara, i am the Programms officer at the Office of the Canadian Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. If you would provide me with the mailing address, i would be happy to send you a book on the Macikai camp written by a Lithuanian author.

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