Walter Keil (Lt. Col. Yesu Patham)
Among the first converts under Major Tucker’s ministry in Bombay in 1882 was Walter Keil, a young telegraphist, a Burgher from Ceylon of mixed Dutch and Singhalese ancestry. With a crowd of miscreant friends he had gone, out of curiosity, to see The Salvation Army. At the close of the meeting Major Tucker had put his hand on the shoulder of the young Walter and asked, ‘Where will you spend eternity?’ It made the young man think, he realized the need for a purpose in life and decided to follow Jesus and serve Him in the Army.
Within a few weeks, as Lieutenant Yesu Patham, Walter Keil was actively engaged in full-time service for God and the Army. He served faithfully for 41 years as an officer, mostly in south India and Ceylon, and received from the hand of General Bramwell Booth the Order of the Founder, a worthy recognition of a long life of self-sacrifice and devotion.