Warrant Officer Class I Keith Lindsay Lewtas

Service number 3/45087, 31997, VX5354
Birth Date 1909-05-07
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Maryborough
Death Date 1984-08-10
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, St Kilda
  • British Commonwealth Occupation Force, 1946-1952 (Japan)
  • Korea, 1950-1953
  • Second World War, 1939-1945

Keith Lindsay Lewtas was born on 7 May 1909 in Maryborough Victoria to James Jesse and Eleanor Lewtas. He was the youngest of six children, Ivo Lawrence (known as Loris to the family) who died during the First World War, Eric Hamilton who served in the Second World War, Elsie Clavert, Florence Gwendolen (Gwen) and Gordon Ellwood who died in 1920 at the age of 13.
In 1938 after previously working as a clerk, Keith was running his own second hand furniture business. He hoped to get into the permanent defence forces but felt he was not medically fit enough to be accepted. When a militia unit was raised in his area in 1939 he was one of the first to join, having previously served in the militia. When war was declared, Keith signed up to join the second Australian Imperial Force on 6 November 1939. He sold all of the stock in his business and moved to the training camp at Seymour as part of the 6th Division.
He was transferred into the 2/2nd Field Regiment at Puckapunyal and embarked from Melbourne in April 1940 on board HMT Dunera. After landing in Egypt, he served with the 2/2nd Field Regiment during training in northern Africa, the campaign in the Middle East, in the Tobruk area, and in Greece and Crete. By the time the regiment was recalled to Australia in 1942, Keith had been transferred from his original clerking duties to surveying. He served in various places around Australia including Greta in New South Wales in late 1942-1943 and the Atherton Tablelands from March 1944.
In December 1944, Lewtas moved with the unit to New Guinea and part took in the Aitape–Wewak campaign, serving there until the end of the Second World War. In August 1945, instead of returning to Australia, he applied to be part of the newly formed Japanese Occupation Force and was assigned to canteen duties in the 67th Battalion. He served with this unit in Japan until September 1950 when he enlisted for service in the Korean War as part of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR).
Keith served with 3 RAR in Korea until July 1951 and, alongside the rest of his unit, earned the United States Presidential Citation. He then returned to Japan and served with the 1 Reinforcement Holding Unit until December 1951, when he enlisted in the Regular Army. He transferred to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps and returned to Australia in February 1952. Keith served with this unit as a clerk until 1964 when he retired at the age of 55.
Keith Lindsay Lewtas died on the 10 August 1984 at St Kilda, Victoria.


Date of birth 07 May 1909
Date of death 10 August 1984