№ 1454 x.
17 September 2004
A presentation gold pocket watch from the crew of the Royal Canadian Navy’s very first submarine, the “CC1”, Waltham 14ct. gold cased, open faced watch, the inner case neatly engraved, ‘Presented to Lieut. Commander Adrian St. Vincent Keyes, R.N., By the Crew of H.M.C. Submarine C.C.1, 8th January 1915’, and followed by a full listing of the CC1’s crew members, ranging from Lieutenant W. T. Walker down to Stoker A. Malet, and comprising 21 names in total, and the outer back of the case engraved with Keyes’ monogram, enamel damage to face between 5 and 6 o’clock, otherwise in good condition £600-800
From August 1914 Keyes was a major driving force behind the establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy’s first submarine flotilla, and he was clearly very touched by the presentation of the above described watch on his departure for the Mediterranean in the following year. In his Gallipoli Memoirs, Compton MacKenzie recalls meeting Keyes on H.M.S. Wolverine in June 1915, and how he spoke entertainingly about his time as C.O. of the Canadian submarine flotilla - and indeed of the very same watch:
‘Keyes was full of stories about his experiences in Canada at the very beginning of the war, when he manned a submarine crew of local businessmen. I wish I could remember the details of the good stories he told us; but they have passed from my recollection irretrievably, and I can only remember the gold watch that was presented to him by his amateur crew. One of those Canadian businessmen ought to give us the tale of that submarine’s adventures: Blackwood’s Magazine would be the proper medium. Keyes himself is no longer alive, and the little epic ought not to be lost eternally. If I had not been so worried at the time by the prospect of having to send the Press a despatch about the imminent battle, I might have remembered the stories myself.’
Also see Lot 1181 for the D.S.O. group awarded to Lieutenant-Commander Keyes.