Robertson, James “Curley” Franklin (P2, C3, L41)
Private First Class James F. Robertson, 24, of Russellville, Logan County,
Kentucky enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard on 29 December 1940, at Russellville, for Company M, 3-149th 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.
On October 20, 1944 U.S. forces landed on east coast beaches of Leyte as part of the Allied invasion of Leyte. The 38th Infantry Division including the 149th Regiment moved from New Guinea to Leyte in a convoy of ships. There were frequent aerial attacks by Japanese aircraft including kamikaze attacks,
On December 5, 1944, the convoy was north-east of Mindanao when they were attacked by Japanese aircraft again. Around 3 p.m., the SS Marcus Daly, a liberty cargo ship converted to troop transport duties, was struck by a kamikaze. The dive bomber crashed through the deck into the forepeak area and a 500 pound bomb it was carrying exploded. The explosion made a hole on the sides of the ship described as "large enough to drive a train through". A significant fire was started by the aircraft impact which was not brought under control until midnight.
AT RIGHT: Photo of S.S. Marcus Daly bow damage. Date and location of photo unknown.
Some 200 of the 3-149th troops aboard were listed as killed, wounded or missing. The ship continued to Leyte arriving on the 6th of December 1944. No list of casualties from that attack has been found.
Co. M Loses First Man in Leyte Landing
Logan County 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.
SEE The Kentucky Guard Dive Bombed Off Leyte .