Plymouth County

Cpl. Bob Kelly



YOUTHS JOIN ARMY AIR CORPS--Here is the first contingent of Sioux City's contribution to Uncle Sam's program of raising the United States air corps by 18,000 men in view of the present European conflict. The Journal's photographer snapped their pictures just before they scrambled aboard a bus Monday morning on the first lap of a journey to the Pacific coast where they will undergo training. These seven of 12 youths who have enlisted here in the last two weeks at the army recruiting office in the federal building, will make their first stop in Omaha. From there they will continue to Moffet field, Sunnyvale, Cal., for intensive aeronautic training before they are assigned to posts.

Reading from left to right in the front row are Ray V. Hensman, Neal E. Erickson, Dean M. Warwick and William E. Low, all of Sioux City. In the back row, left to right, are Robert J. Kelly of Remsen, Dwight H. Goff of Sioux City, Leo A. Mack of South Sioux City and Recruiting Sergeant Abbate.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, (latter half of year) 1939 (photograph included)

Bob Kelly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orrin Kelly, is in the supply department of army aviation and was in Manila, Philippine Islands, until recently when he wrote his parents he had been ordered to another field about 900 miles south of Manila. He has been in the army two or three years and trained on the Pacific coast.

A number of other Plymouth County boys who enlisted or were called for selective service training were assigned to duty on the West coast and it is probable some of them are now in the Philippines, Hawaii or other islands now in the Pacific war zone.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel,
December 9, 1941

Stories of personal heartbreak and of relief from word are coming out of the war situation. Among those who are breathing easier are Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly, who son, Bob Kelly, was last reported to be in Clark Field, near Manila, P.I.
Naturally, they supposed he had undergone the air raid by the Japanese, which caused heavy causalities at the airport. The next day, however, they received a letter, mailed December 3, which stated that Bob was sailing on a transport for the island of Mindanao, 900 miles to the south.
Mindanao is a large island, very strongly fortified, and there has been little if any Japanese action there, so there is good reason to suppose that young Kelly has so far seen no action.

The letter stated that a new airfield is being established on a large plantation, where the pineapples came from, and while the Japanese doubtless will get around to air fighting there sooner or later, they have their hands full elsewhere at present.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post,
December 11, 1941


Mrs. O. M. Kelly said this morning that so far no word has been received of the probable fate of Bob Kelly, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly, who was in charge of an airplane supply depot on the Philippine island of Mindanao, when the war began.

Mrs. Kelly said she had received a report from Mrs. O. D. Hart, local Red Cross executive, saying that the national Red Cross office is working hard trying to race the present whereabouts of young Bob, and other soldiers who have not been heard from since the Japanese attacked.

In his last letter to his parents, received early in December, Corporal Kelly reported that his organization was being moved from Manila to the interior of Mindanao.  He said that a new airport was being built on the site of a big pineapple plantation.

However, the Japanese must have attacked just about the time the Americans got to Mindanao, and government censorship has prevented any information from coming out.  It is quite possible that a large part of the American forces on Mindanao were flown to safety, as there were supposed to be plenty of big bombers there.

It is also possible that the Americans managed to escape to the interior of Mindanao, which is a very large island, and where the Americans, if helped by friendly natives, could live indefinitely.  The Japs do not have sufficient troops to completely occupy the big island, but only have forces in the principal ports.

Despite these favorable circumstances, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly are seriously worried over the fate of their son.  They can only hope that he will eventually make his way to some part of the western Pacific still controlled by the whites, and that in due time he will have a chance to write home.

Source:  LeMars Globe-Post, February 19, 1942 (photograph included)


Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly have received their first direct word from their son, Bob Kelly, a prisoner of war in a Jap prison camp.

The joy was dampened by his report that he had been sick. The post card gives the additional information, however, that he is in a hospital and getting better.

The card was handled by the Red Cross through the Swiss legation. The Swiss are neutrals and maintain diplomatic relations with Japan. The card bears some neat Japanese lettering which nobody can read and the stamp of the U. S. Censor.

A space is provided for the signature of the prisoner, and Mr. and Mrs. Kelly say that the writing is unquestionably Bob’s. It is in ink and quite firm and clear, and not the writing of a very sick person.

Prisoners are not allowed to write their own messages. The Japs apparently fear that code might be worked in. Instead, there are various stock messages and the ones not applying are x-ed out with a typewriter.

The message came through was as follows:
1. I am interned at the Philippine Military Prison Camp # 1.
2. My health is poor.
3. I am sick, in hospital.
4. I am improving.
The prisoner was also allowed to add two lines of personal information or greeting to his family; nothing relating to his experiences of his present situation.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post,
August 12, 1943

Victor Peters, Norman DeJager Wounded

Edward Kelly Missing

Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly were notified by the War Department on Thursday that their son, Pfc. Edward Kelly, is missing in action in Germany since April 12.

Pfc. Kelly entered the service in June, 1942, and was sent overseas in January, 1945. His parents believe he is either a member of General Patton’s Third Army or the Seventh Army but have no definite assurance of this fact.

Their other son, Pfc. Robert Kelly, has been a prisoner of war in Jap territory since the spring of 1942 and word received in January this year stated he had been moved to a prison camp on Honshu Island.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 27, 1945