Baldwin Longstreth Keyes, M.D., D.Ss., LL.D. was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 29, 1893, to American parents. His paternal grandfather was a strong supporter of the Confederacy and was a close friend of Jefferson Davis. He invested large amounts of money in the secessionist government only to lose it to the fortunes of war. He moved his family to Brazil along with 1000 other Confederate Civil War veterans who didn’t like the idea of having to take an oath to “the Yankees” whom they had been fighting for four years. These settlers established the town of Americana in Brazil and called themselves “Confederados.” Keyes was reared near Rio de Janeiro and received his early education in mission schools. He spent time in London then came to the United States to complete his education at the University of Pennsylvania. Keys received his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in 1917. The day after he graduated Dr. Keyes joined the U.S. Army as a first Lieutenant, Medical Reserve. The British Forces requested 1000 Doctors for combat duty. Dr. Keys volunteered to become a combat surgeon and was assigned to the Gordon Highlanders, 8th/10th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, 15th (Scottish) Division, British Expeditionary Force, one of the most decorated British combat units of World War I. Dr. Keys made several daring rescues of soldiers on the battlefield and joked that the only reason he lived was because of his stature, he was five feet tall, he said “they kept shooting over my head.” Dr. Keyes was awarded the British Military Cross for Valor in March of 1918 in list No. 27, British War Office, dated September 3, 1918.
British Military Cross awarded by Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, under authority of His Majesty King George V, May 1918
For following act of gallantry:
“On 21st March 1918, When the Battalion (8/10 Gordon Highlanders) was holding the line just S.E. of MONCHY, the front line was under intensive bombardment for several hours. The communication trenches became obliterated and the casualties could not be removed. Lieutenant Keys made his way to the front line through the enemy barrage and attended to many serious cases there, showing complete disregard for his own safety in carrying out his work. During the same fighting on 28th March, 1918, it became necessary to move the Regimental Aid Post to another position. When all the Regimental and attached R.A.M.C. bearers had removed all the cases they could carry, there still remained a number of serious stretcher cases. Lieutenant Keys remained behind and by improvising some stretchers from material at hand, he removed all the cases in the face of the enemy with the help of a few men he collected, himself assisting in the work. If it had not been for his prompt action and fearless behavior the wounded would have been inevitably been taken prisoners. Throughout the heavy fighting at the end of March he worked with untiring zeal and cheerfulness under trying conditions; his fearless conduct was an example and encouragement to all ranks.”
Promoted to Captain, Keyes was detached from the British Army, returned to the American Army, where he worked as a combat surgeon. Dr. Keyes served as commanding officer of Jefferson's 38th General Hospital Unit for the U.S. Army in Egypt during World War II. Later, Dr. Keys was responsible for all medical installations in Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. Dr. Baldwin L. Keyes died on June 6, 1994. He was the longest living alumnus at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's School of Medicine, founding chairman of the psychiatry department and professor emeritus.
Edited by kanemono, 10 February 2016 - 11:11 AM.