Shirt - Kelley B. Gilbert
Shirt - Kelley B. Gilbert
This officer's summer shirt, which was acquired several years ago at one of the US auction portals. As it was already visible on the portal at that time, the 2nd Infantry Division patch was sewn on this shirt. That was the decisive factor for us to purchase it.
Unfortunately, the seller himself did not have any further information so it was a question and a sizeable risk whether it really is an original shirt belonging to a member of the "Indianheads" or the patch was added by someone for example for reenactment purpose.
When the shirt was delivered and could be examined in detail, it was found that the signature "Kelley" is clearly visible on the fastening and also there is the sign "Kelley Gilbert B." containing even obvious parts of Army Serial Number (with officer's prefix O) of the original owner below the label near collar. This alone gave us hope that we could find out more information and confirm or refute the originality of the Division´s patch. Thus began another research, which took several months but eventually brought some great results.
We managed to find the summary report “Headquarters Second Infantry Division, Office of the Surgeon - Medical Bulletin, DEC 1944”, which describes the health condition and care of the Division´s members in the critical December of 1944 when the individual units were suffering from the so-called "combat exhaustion" syndrome. This part of the report providing a partial analysis of the issue of non-combat losses is signed by neuropsychiatrist Major GILBERT B. KELLEY. That was an amazing find which confirmed originality of our shirt!
From further information it was subsequently found that Major Gilbert B. Kelley was born on April 7, 1913 in Savannah, Missouri. Also, it appears he have lived there most of his life. According to other records, before war he studied medicine at Saint Louis University and as a doctor he was inducted into the Army in January 1941, namely to the Medical Reserve Corps located in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. At that time, this base was also the home of the 2nd Infantry Division, and therefore it can reasonably be assumed that his war route with the 2nd ID began there. Unfortunately, we still have only brief information about his service during war. According the known sources, he was a respected doctor who had devoted himself to his medical practice in his native district for decades.
Mr. Gilbert B. Kelley passed away on January 16, 2000 and was buried at the Savannah Cemetery in Missouri. We honor his memory.
Daniel Maly (Founder of the project - Men of the 2nd Infantry Division)