"The Green of the Spring" is a short novel inspired by the author, Peter Keating's, own grandfather's service during the Great War.
William Keating was from the small fishing village of Passage East, Co. Waterford. He joined the British Army as a boy soldier long before the Great War started. By 1916 he was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery.
He was severely wounded by German counter-battery fire in the latter part of the Somme Offensive in Autumn 1916, and was the sole survivor of his gun crew. He was sent to Scotland to recuperate, where he met my grandmother, Mary Campbell, from Stornoway, who was on the nursing staff of the facility where he was sent. He was eventually declared fit again for duty and went back to re-join his comrades on the Western Front.
It must have been a hard parting indeed for them, as Mary probably believed in her heart she would, in all likelihood, never see William alive again. Nevertheless, he did survive, serving on the Western Front right up until the end of hostilities on 11/11/1918. Overcoming many difficulties, religious differences, and prejudice from both sides of their communities, William and Mary married in Co. Waterford in 1922.
He died in Dublin in 1971, the year before Peter was born. Peter was lucky enough to be present at the Somme100 commemoration in Thiepval in 2016 with my brother, and lay a wreath in his honour of his grandfather.
"The Green of the Spring" started life as a short stage play entitled "No Surrender". Peter decided to develop it further into a screenplay entitled "Somme". "Somme" made it all the way to a Producer's desk in New York, but unfortunately it seems to be still stuck in his "in-tray"
Medals of Sergeant William Keating .