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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Robertson, James “Curley” Franklin (P2, C3, L41)

Robertson, J F 003Private First Class James F. Robertson was born 5 November 1920, in Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard on 29 December 1940, at Russellville, for Company M, 149th Infantry. Robertson was killed in action on 5 December 1944, when a Kamikaze plane hit the ship in which he was aboard, SS Marcus Daly. He is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Russellville, Kentucky.

    The SS Marcus Daly

    In early December the ship sailed from Tacloban in a convoy of 40 ships bound for Leyte. On December 5, 1944, the convoy was north-east of Mindanao when they were attacked by Japanese aircraft. Marcus Daly shot down two aircraft, but at around 1530 was struck by a kamikaze which made a hole "large enough to drive a train through" and set the ship on fire. Three crew members - one Navy Armed Guard and two Merchant Marine - were killed, and 7 wounded, and 200 troops aboard were listed as killed, wounded or missing. The blaze was finally brought under control around midnight, and the ship limped into Leyte the next day.

    Co. M Loses First Man in Leyte Landing

    News Democrat, 4 January 1945.

    News was received here Saturday of the death of Private Jas. Franklin Robertson, member of the 149th Inf. Co., who had been overseas since January 1 of last year.

    Private Robertson was the only casualty, though at least one other man suffered serious burns in the bombing of the ship, as the men were attempting to land Dec. 5. No further details are known at this time.

    Private Robertson was 23 years of age November 5. He was the son of Elvis Robertson, who survives him. Also surviving are his wife, the former Josephine Gore of Corinth, and two small daughters, one of whom he had never seen; four brothers at home: Bobbie, Donald, Junior and Marion; a brother, Clarence, who suffered wounds in Italy and has been returned for hospitalization
    and one sister, Mrs. Cleo Robertson.

The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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