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Published: July 31st 2019
aka Private Kelley
Doug was the third eldest of the 6 Kelley children that reached adulthood. The eldest 4 were all boys the youngest 2 - girls - Ruth (1928 - 2018) and Dorothy (1934 - ) nicknamed tiny by her elder brothers.
Doug first enlisted July 20, 1941 at 16 - he lied about his age and used his father’s name. He was trained/training to be a vehicle mechanic. His father wrote a letter to the Minister of National Defence asking that Doug be kept in Canada - he in fact was discharged for being underage - Saving private Kelley part 1....
He re-enlisted less than a year after being discharged - he was 17 - this time he got his wish and made it overseas. He like so many other young men felt it a sense of civic duty and pride to serve. I also believe having 2 older brothers already overseas played a huge role in his thought process.
Bob (1916-1999) enlisted as soon as war broke out in September 1939 - he was 23. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps - an army paymaster for the Eighth Brigade - he also prepared “situation reports” on
casualties and helped find replacements for twenty categories of skills - he travelled with the troops serving in Dieppe, Brussels and the Netherlands - to name a few. He was wounded twice 1) his Jeep strafed by a German fighter plane - a bullet in his shoulder, another in his hip and shrapnel in his knee - only two survivors - took 3 months to recover in England and 2) in Brussels he received leg wounds from machine gun fire - again when healed he went back to the front line.
George (1921-1997) - enlisted June 1940 at age 19 after drowning the family horse - story goes he’d rather enlist than face his dad’s wrath. - he was with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa sent to defend Iceland’s fiords. Bob - as was allowed “claimed“ George for his division - George joined the service corps in Europe even taking Bob’s place when Bob was injured. When the war was over George worked with Major Salisbury recording grave registrations and the names and locations of Canadian soldiers who died in Europe. He was the last non - commissioned officer in the Canadian Army to leave Europe.
Doug - Bob also “claimed“ Doug - as such Doug ended up in the service corps as well. He ended up training in England and found himself in Bournemouth leading up to D-Day. Being in the service corps Doug was aboard ship as battleships bombarded the coastline and countless landing craft unloaded troops. It was as evening fell that the trucks, jeeps, tanks and their drivers (including Doug) unloaded onto the uncleared beaches of Juno. Did Bob’s ”claiming“ Doug keep him out of mortal danger or was it fate ? - Saving private Kelley - part 2.
Today kind readers no the good, bad, ugly or funny event.
A few notes:
I throw out a big thank you to Rob Kelley whose “History of the Kelly/Kellie/Kelley family Ottawa Valley 1834-1999 published in 1999 provided a lot of the information I used above - with out permission - also Family members if there are any errors in this data please contact Rob directly.
Don Kelley (1926 - ) joined the army in 1942. He took basic training at Camp Borden at age 16. When his mom Louisa heard that her last son had
enlisted underage she wrote a letter to the Camp Commander - wartime mothers were allowed to request that their last son be kept out of war to carry on the family name. Don was sent back to Aylmer on a bus. Don worked until the legal military age of 18 and joined the Navy. On Christmas Eve 1944 he left as a deck gunner on the H.S.C.Cobalt. He served 1 & 1/2 years completing 2 cross Atlantic trips and also aboard small convoy escorts from Halifax to Newfoundland. After WW2 ended Don joined the permanent Navy having tours that included Bermuda and Jamaica - he even fell off a destroyer once rescued by a buddy who grabbed his hair to pull him aboard - there is a rumour Jamaican rum may have been involved.
3 ) and lastly some facts I did and did not know re: WW 2 -
WW 2 broke out on September 1, 1939 - Britain the First to declare. Newfoundland (did not join confederation until 1949) declared the 4th and Canada followed suit September 10th.
Over the course of the war the two combatting forces were the Axis powers - Germany, Italy
and Japan and the Allies - Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Soviet Union, United States and to a lesser extent China.
The war lasted 6 years from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945.
It is estimated approximately 85,000,000 people perished including 25,000,000 military and upwards of nearly 60,000,000 civilians - including 30,000,000 due to military strikes and crimes against humanity (including Holocaust victims) and 30,000,000 from famine and disease.
Over the course of the war over 1,000,000 young men and woman from Canada served - just under 10% of Canada’s entire population. Over 700,000 were under 21. Some young boys as young as 13 lied about their age to try to enlist. By wars end 45,000 Canadians lost their lives and 55,000 more were wounded.
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