Chris Keeble served in the Falklands campaign and took command of 2 PARA at a crucial stage during the Battle of Goose Green following the death of the Battalion CO Lt Col H Jones. Resourcefulness and aggressive trench to trench fighting by 2 PARA subsequently resulted in the erosion of the vastly numerically superior enemy force’s will to win and around 1,000 Argentinians surrendered on 29 May 1982 after an ultimatum was delivered under his direction. Chris Keeble was later awarded a DSO for his actions during the battle.
Born in Quetta, in 1941, he was educated at Douai and enlisted into the Army in 1960.
Chris Keeble was commissioned into The Royal Leicestershire Regiment in 1963 after training at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and transferred to the newly formed Royal Anglian Regiment in 1964, following the Leicesters’ amalgamation with other units from the East Anglian Brigade.
Attracted to the airborne ethos, he joined the Paras in 1971 and was later posted to 10 PARA as Training Major in 1975.A staff officer posting with NATO HQ Allied Land Forces in Rensburg, Germany, followed.
Prior to joining 2 PARA as second in command in February 1982, Chris Keeble served as Chief Instructor in Anti-Tank warfare at the Support Weapons Wing of the School of Infantry.
With the deployment of 2 PARA to the Falklands he set about establishing and implementing a training programme to get the Battalion combat ready and while Lt Col H Jones was in Ascension linking in with 3 Commando Bde staff, Chris Keeble was operating in charge of the Battalion for most of the four weeks preceding its arrival in the Falklands.
Following Col H’s death at Goose Green, Chris Keeble performed a crucial leadership role at a pivotal stage in the battle. Speaking later of his DSO award Chris modestly commented: “The victory, however, was H’s. The inspiration of 2 PARA came from him, and my role was merely to act on his behalf in his absence. For that I am the caretaker of an enamelled bit of metal, which I carry on behalf of every man in 2 PARA, especially the junior non commissioned officers and the soldiers.”
Chris Keeble went on to attend the Joint Service Defence College in 1983. Command of 15 PARA followed in 1984 and his last post, prior to retirement from the Army in 1987, was as a senior staff officer at HQ Allied Forces Central Europe.
Married with four children, Chris Keeble now runs a management consultancy on ethical leadership.