Keller, Rodney “Rod” Frederick Leopold, born 02-10-1900, in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England, entered the Royal Military College in Kingston Ontario , in the last years of the First World War. Upon graduating, he joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry , one of the regiments of the Canadian Permanent Force under command of Brigadier General Andrew Hamilton Gault . Like many other promising Canadian officers of that era, he attended Staff Collega, Camberley in England. Andrew Hamilton Gault died 28-11-1958, age 76 in Mont Saint Hilaire, Quebec
Canada went to war, Rod Keller was sent overseas as a Brigade Major. He rose to the command of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 1941 and was promoted Officer Commanding the 1st Candian Infantry Brigade a few months later. Keller was made a Major General and, between 08-09-1942, and 08-08-1944, he served as General Officer Commanding the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Major-General Keller was popular with his troops, who appreciated his manners and outspoken language; however, a drinking problem and several breaches of security measures before D-Day cost him the support of both his superior officers and his own staff.
During the first month ashore in Normandy, it was noted he was “jumpy and high strung”. His immediate superiors in I British Corps under command of Lieutenant General John Crocker and 2nd British Army under command of General Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson
considered him unfit to command the division, but Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, who was scheduled to command II Canadian Corps upon its activation in Normandy, held off on making a decision about his relief, even refusing a resignation by Keller who himself admitted to the strain. During the Battle for Caen , Keller handled Operation Windsor poorly, sending a reinforced brigade in to handle a divisional operation and delegating the planning to one of his brigadiers. Keller was also reportedly shell-shy by August, and rumours began to spread among the division that “Keller was yeller.”
Death and burial ground of Keller, Rodney “Rod” Frederick Leopold.
Despite the continued complaints from above and below, Simonds, and General Harry Crerar, another of his admirers, refused to relieve him. Fate intervened when he was wounded by friendly fire on August 8. US bombers accidentally carpet bombed his divisional headquarters during Operation Totalize . Keller received no further active military command. He died ten years later, on 21-06-1954, age 53, while visiting Normandy.
Rodney “Rod” Keller is buried on Kelowna Memerial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, Central Okanagan Regional District, British Columbia, Canada, Plot S-B.