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COL  Robert H. KELLY

UNIT: GRP POSITION: COM

 Col. Robert H. Kelly. (Photo courtesy of Kelly family.) 

SERIAL #: O-017318 STATUS: KIA
MACR:

Comments1: GROUP COMMANDER 19 APR 1944 -- 28 APR 1944 (SOTTEVAST 28 APR 44)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW     (28 Apr 44)

COL  ROBERT  H. KELLY                  COM KIA   28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
CAPT  WILLIAM G. LAKIN                     P KIA   28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
LT HERBERT A. ALF                           CP POW 28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL) (formation officer, flew in tail)
CAPT  JOSEPH H. "BUBBLES" PAYNE JR. NAV KIA   28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
LT MAURICE  H. CAIN                      BOM POW 28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
T/SGT LEO R. CANNON                    ROG POW 28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
T/SGT JAMES C. BROWN                  TTE KIA   28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
S/SGT ALBERT M. FREITAS             BTG POW  28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
S/SGT JOHN N. SPIKER                      WG KIA  28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
S/SGT JOSEPH A. RICHARD                WG POW  28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
S/.SGT DELBERT E. BARNHART            TG KIA    28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL) (manned 50 cal in radio room) 

THE ABOVE WERE FLYING WITH LAKIN AND THE NEW GROUP CO, ROBERT KELLY.


COL KELLY COMMANDED THE 100TH FOR ONE WEEK AND TWO DAYS.  HE WAS LOST ON HIS FIRST MISSION TO SOTTEVAST. AT TAKE-OFF TIME THE NEW COMMANDER ELECTED TO BUMP THE 100TH'S BEST FLIGHT LEADER (CAPT JACK SWARTOUT) AND LEAD HIMSELF. THE RESULTS WERE A DISASTER, TWO SHIPS WERE LOST WHEN THE COL ELECTED TO MAKE A SECOND RUN OVER THE TARGET AT THE SAME ALTITUDE AND ON THE SAME HEADING. AMOUNG THE KIA'S WAS CAPT LAKIN WHO WAS ON HIS LAST MISSION AND THE 100TH'S BELOVED LEAD NAVIGATOR JOSEPH "BUBBLES" PAYNE; SAID BY JIM BROWN AND HARRY CROSBY TO HAVE BEEN THE BEST.

This was what can best be called a "pick-up" crew of veteran airmen, with the exception of Col. Kelly fresh from the States and had became the 100th's Commanding Officer only nine days prior to the mission. Joe "Bubbles" Payne was a member of the original air echelon of the Group as were T/Sgt James C. Brown and S/Sgt Albert M. Freitas.  With the exception of Magee Fuller, they were the last of the "Original 100th" to become casualties.  T/Sgt Leo R. Cannon joined the Group in August 1943, his orginal crew (F.H. Meadows) was shot down at Bremen 08 Oct 1943. Capt William G. Lakin had been with the Group prior to October 1943.  The following from MACRs:  "....On 02 May 1944, at 0730 hours an American Airman was captured by two German soldiers on the street of Rochville, Sottevast, France. The Germans record the following
data: Name: Cain, Maurice # 0-681859. According to his statement he rescued himself from the burning aircraft on 28 April 1944. Sent to Airbase Command, Paris, France..Date 3 May 1944 @ 1320 hours."
                           The Originating German Officer is not identified..pw



EMAIL = cannon@rabun.net
UNAME = Michael A. Cannon
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
TAPS_PERSON = Leo R. Cannon
TAPS_DATE = October 24, 1997
TAPS_UNIT = 350th
TAPS_POSITION = Radio Operator
TAPS_RELATION = Child
QUESTION = Question: 
FEEDBACK = Feedback:Leo R. Cannon joined his second crew after his 1st was shot down. He was in the hospital with the flue when his 1st crew was shot down. 
 
 
Mr. Faley
Yes, I do have a copy of my Dad's first crew. He was assigned to this crew when they were first organized in the states. I know that he told me that his second crew was a pick up crew, but I do not know if he had flown with them since his first crew was shot down. His first crew was shot down on their 8th mission. My Dad was shot down on his 14th mission. Therefore he flew 7 mission after his first crew was shot down.  I will send individual pictures of the first crew later. A fact that you may not know. Delbert Barnhart was not the Tail Gunner on the last crew. He was an extra crew member. He was in the Radio Room with my Dad using the gun in that compartment. When the plane was first hit, they both were not hit. They were attempting to get out when the plane was hit a second time. At this time my father was hit. He fell on the floor & Barnhart fell on top of him. When he awoke some time later Barnhart was gone and so was the rest of the plane about six feet from his head. He some how got out of the plane, pulled his rip cord,  made one oscillation & hit the ground. And was later captured by two German officers. Thanks Mike Cannon




HEADQUARTERS
AAF STATION #139
APO 559

                                                  26 April 1944

SUBJECT: Commendation.


To : Commanding Officer, 351st Bombardment Squadron, APO ,#559.


1.  The official records of the Headquarters 3rd Bombardment Division indicate that during the month Of January, February, and March 1944 the 100th Bombardment Group led a11 other groups in the Division in the following respects:

(a)  Percent of aircraft on hand on station per day which were operational.  The 100th Group was 7% higher-than the division on average

(b) Percent of aircraft on hand on station per day which were non- operational because Or battle damage. The 100th Group was 6%  lower than the Division average.

(c) Percent of aircraft on hand on station per day which were non-operational because of maintenance and repair. The 100th Group was; 3% lower than the Division average

2.  The above outstanding accomplishments are the direct result of efficient performance of maintenance activities under your supervision.

3.  I desire to commend you and all the personnel under your direction who shared in the responsibility for this excellent record.  It is further desired that you personally bring this commendation to the attention of the engineering officer and enlisted personnel under your jurisdiction.




                                                                       R. H. KELLY
                                                                       Colonel, Air Corps
                                                                       Commanding



From the little research I have done his burial site is at Arlington Section 12 Site # 5186 if we have someone in the area for a grave photo.  
 
Regards,
Jack
 

From what I found so far was from hometown when KIA
Col Robert H. Kelly
ID 0-017318
US ARMY
HOMETOWN  BERGEN COUNTY, NJ
KIA  April 28, 1944

Was wondering what he was awarded the Legion of Merit and DFC for
Also Awarded Purple Heart Posthumously 

2 years Bolling Field
Office of Asst Chief of  Air Staff,War Dept

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Sottevast DATE: 1944-04-28  
AIRCRAFT: (42-107024) CAUSE: FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

One of the many verses to An Airmans Lament. This was a tragic incident that never should have happened yet in the fog of battle and lack of significant combat experience, errors like this happen.  The cost was high, Col Kelly, Capt Lakin and Capt Bubbles Payne all KIA.    

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 2

ID: 2747