The Rising Flame

Remembering Sidney Keyes

A memoir about the short life of Sidney Keyes, a prodigiously talented young poet killed in battle in Tunisia in 1943 at the age of twenty. Keyes served with Madocks’ father during the war. This book remembers a great talent cut short and offers a tribute to all the reluctant heroes of Allied Forces in World War Two.

Sidney Keyes was a young poet of infinite promise who was killed at the age of twenty on the Tunisian Front during World War Two. He left over a hundred poems and was awarded the 1943 Hawthornden Prize for his two poetry collections, The Iron Laurel and The Cruel Solstice. There is little surviving material about his short vivid life. however, the novelist Rod Madocks has drawn on the account of his own father, who served with Keyes, to create new memoir and tribute to the poet. This work provides a selection of Keyes’ poetry and includes previously unknown facts about his military career, including his bullying by a famous film actor of the time. This book, accompanied by newly-sourced photographs, offers a fresh analysis of the unusual circumstances of Keyes’ mysterious death behind enemy lines.

Sidney Keyes and his muse, the artist Milein Cosman, 1942
Illustration from The Rising Flame..

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