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James A. Kelley Second World War correspondence

 Collection — Box: WWII 24, Folder: 11, Folder: 1
Identifier: 2019-010-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains two letters from T/Sgt James A. Kelley, USA during the Second World War. Also included are a biographical note and photocopies of the letters and photocopies of service documents for T/Sgt. Kelley.

The first letter is a typed segment of a larger letter sent to "Dutchy" on December 8, 1944 from Palestine. In this segment he describes Tel Aviv, Haifa and the new city of Jerusalem, as well as the Jewish people, though he acknowledges early that "generalizations are not good." He compares the people of these cities to Americans in a negative way, being very depricating about Americans. He likes Haifa the most because it is more green and reminds him of home.

He then describes, in some detail, his visit to a kibbutz called Ramat Yohanon and the origins of the settlement. He spends the last several pages giving his opinion on the state of the Arab-Jewish conflict, the involvement of the British, and the future problems and oppression for the Jews in Palestine. Of note, he mentions being there for the US presidential elections, and the settlers were "all very much pro-Roosevelt. In fact they were inclined to believe that the US would one day take over the Palestine mandate -- so were some British police that I met. I hope it never happens because we'll make more enemies."

The second letter is missing the third and final page, but there is a photocopy of that page. It is written to "Ted" on December 11, 1944 and describes in some detail the early conflict in Greece, what would turn out to be the precursors to the Greek Civil War, 1946-1949. He discusses the negotiations between the EAM (National Liberation Front) and the (Georgios) Papandreou government, describing the government and the fascist remnants from the Germans as having "practiced deceit in executing the agreement." Also mentioned are several other groups involved in the conflict, including: ELAS, PEAA, EDES, the Greek Middle East Army consisting of the Rimini Third Mountain Brigade and the Sacred Battalion, General Ronald Scobie of the British Army, and the Security Battalions formed by Ioannis Rallis, the prime minister of the collaborationist government during the Nazi occupation.

Of note, T/Sgt. Kelley desribes the violence of December 3, 1944 during which the government disbanded a demonstration by the EAM and "poured thousands of rounds into a totally unarmed crowd including many children. The aggression of the Greek fascists and royalists against the Greek people had been launched." He went on to admit that his account was "probably one sided and a little emotionally written but I think it represents a point of view you are not at all likely to encounter in the" local newspapers.

The photocopied service documents include one certificate of honorable discharge, one record of separation qualification, one report of separation, two pages of soldier's individual pay record, and two pages of an immunization register.


  • 1944 December 8 - 11

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Technical Sergeant James Arthur Kelley, United States Army (7/9/1923 - 2009) was born in Burlington, Vermont and raised in Bennington, VT. He enlisted in the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor on January 13, 1942 and trained to be a Weather Observer. Kelley left the United States for Greenland in the Atlantic Theater of Operations (ATO) in September 1942 and returned to the States before arriving in Europe in December 1943.

T/Sgt. Kelley served first as a Weather Observer and after returning to the States, endured two months of training in August 1943 and was promoted to Technical Sergeant, working as a Radiosonde Operator for the remaining two years and three months of his service. He served in North Africa and the Middle East and was in Palestine in December 1944.

He earned the European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon, the American Theater Campaing Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal. He was separated from service on November 24, 1945. He married his wife Sondra in 1947 and passed away in 2009.


.025 Linear feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains two letters from T/Sgt James A. Kelley, USA during the Second World War. Also included are copies of the letters and photocopies of service documents relating to T/Sgt. Kelley.


This collection is arranged by material type and topic. Biographical note, correspondence, photocopies of correspondence, photocopies of service documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sondra Kelley.

Finding Aid for the James A. Kelley Second World War correspondence
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States