about this website

Sponsored and written by Steve White, this project was launched in 2005, published in memory of George Keen and George Leach who demonstrated extraordinary courage amongst many including the Home Guard, members of the Fire Service and military personnel attending to a burning munitions train one dark late summer night in 1940.

The direct impact on the families of those who lost their lives during the Second World War is arguably not so well documented. The No. 1 online journal on George Keen and the events of 22, 23 August, 1940 in Tongham, Surrey, this website evolved following an appeal from Mrs. Mavis Kerr (nee Keen) who grew up knowing very little of her father. Mavis and Brian, daughter and son of George1, had earlier been placed with Dr. Barnardo's, had only vague memories of their father visiting before his death in 1941.

Following her marriage in 1953, Mavis spent many years in Scotland before returning to Surrey, later learning that she and Brian had a half-sister, Doris Elsie Marsden (nee Keen) 1924-1995, of Mitcham, from George's marriage to Elsie Fuller in 1923. They never met, but Mavis was later introduced to her father's grandson and great granddaughter.

Spending time in Peterborough before again returning to Surrey in 2005, Mrs. Kerr (later Woollven) had more recently retired to Kent, but sadly passed away 3 January, 2019.

SIBLINGS: It's thought also that George had at least four sisters, Florence, Daisy, Louisa, Selina and one brother, Charles.


These pages include a signed colour (experimental) photograph of George Keen3, Scoutmaster 9th Farnham (Tongham). The website sponsor would like to trace any other image or data relating to the events of 22, 23 August 1940 in Tongham, and in particular any information about, or photographs of George Henry Leach. Please take the time to read the biography, contact us through the form here --> if you can help, many thanks.


There are clear difficulties in gathering and confirming records prior to 1898 through and beyond 1941, no less so given the then very young age of George's descendants. Development of this site consequently has been partly motivated by the number of published errors found during early research. Some data is arguably speculative, although largely verified and thought to be accurate…

…If the reader should offer any clarification, or has any information on George Keen, George Leach and/or the events of 22, 23 August 1940 in Tongham, Surrey; or might conceivably add to this website in any other way, please email or perhaps instead contact me direct on Peterborough (01733) 777 878.

Many thanks.

Steve White


Many, many combined hours of study, enquiry, research, travel, design and development has gone into creating this resource, notwithstanding all the kind help received from family members, from any number of people and organisations acknowledged within.

This project is sponsored by SWWhite (PCWorkspace (t/a Curiocafe)). Steve aims to freely maintain the website indefinitely on behalf of family members and in memory of George Keen, George Leach and all those involved. And to continue to add to the site as a resource, as a portal of conceivable interest for all should new relevant suitable information become available.

If you can possibly assist by way of a contribution to content, or perhaps instead by making a small donation, it would be very much appreciated, many thanks.

Please donate


If you wish to use this content, under 'fair dealing' terms, e.g. as part of a non commercial project such as an educational research project or a cost–recovery project such as a public exhibition or publication, you may do so, but must acknowledge the provenance and copyright holder of the content in the following way: on a credits / acknowledgements page, or in a prominent position if used as part of a display.

If you wish to use content in a commercial context (e.g. a publication, a website that the public needs to pay for, or a project such as a broadcast series or film), please contact the author to obtain permission.

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