Keogh, a policeman’s son from Tullow, Co. Carlow. His story has recently
come to light with the publication of his extraordinary memoirs, “With
Casement’s Irish Brigade”. In these pages, Keogh reveals how he saved the
German dictators life, only to narrowly avoid execution by Hitler’s henchman
during the “Night of the Long Knives.” He managed to slip out of sight
twenty minutes before his would-be assassins arrived.
Less fortunate that fateful night was Keogh’s former commander Ernst
Roehm who, as leader of the paramilitary Storm Troopers, had helped Hitler
secure power. Roehm and Hitler subsequently fell out. Keogh estimates that
Roehm was one of 5,000 “political opponents” dragged from their homes and
As Hitler’s Germany slowly goaded the rest of the world into the
deadliest war in our history, Keogh must have had good cause to reflect on
how he should have just let the angry soldiers finish off the troublesome
agent back in 1919.
But when Michael Keogh began to compile his memoirs during the late
1920s, he had many things to reflect upon. His life had been exceedingly
adventurous practically since his birth in Tullow in 1891.
He came from rebellious stock. His Wexford forbears were killed in the
1798 Rebellion. His grandfather Mathew Keogh led the resistance during the
infamous Coolgreany Evictions in Co. Wexford in 1887. His great-uncle Myles
Keogh was Colonel Custer’s second-in-command and died at the Battle of
Little Big Horn. His uncle Jack Tynan was a Fenian who tried to blow up
Westminster Bridge. His father Laurence Keogh (sometimes Kehoe) was an
officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Michael grew up in Tullow and, at the age of 14, won a County Council
scholarship to the seminary school of St Patrick's Monastery. Between 1903
and 1906 he was a member of the O'Growney Branch of the Gaelic League in
Tullow and competed in singing and dancing. In 1907, he sailed for New York
to live with his aunt Mary Keogh. He joined the National Guard, became a
member of Clan-na-Gael in New York and befriended Sir Roger Casement. Their
paths would cross again in Germany during the war.
Michael Keogh died in Sept 1964, and his
widow Annamarie, died in Tallacht Ireland in the 1980's.
Michael Keogh. Private 10687 in Royal
- Annamarie Von Seuffert and Michael Keogh
in formal wedding photograph c.1918
They went on to have 6 children, Roger Casement Keogh, Joseph Plunkett
Keogh, and Kevin Barry Keogh, the three daughters, Rosaline, Margaret
(Renee), Annamarie. Only Roger, Kevin and Renee are living in 2010.