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15 October 2014
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The Kelly family of Whitehaven during World War Two

by ritsonvaljos

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Archive List > United Kingdom > Cumbria

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Patrick Kelly 'Pat', Corporal Henry Kelly MM, Joseph Kelly 'Joe', James Kelly 'Jimmy', Catherine Kelly, Hannah Kelly, James Kelly (Senior), Isabel Kelly.
Location of story: 
Whitehaven Cumbria, Burma, Somme, Normandy
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
28 March 2005

Remembrance Sunday, November 2004. Pat Kelly, one of five siblings who served in the Armed Forces during World War Two lays a poppy wreath and salutes to remember fallen comrades at the World War Two Memorial, St Begh's Church, Coach Road, Whitehaven, Cumbria.


This account is submitted on behalf of Mr Pat Kelly from Whitehaven, Cumbria. Pat served in the with army during World War Two between October 1941 and May 1946. In 1944, Pat was part of the 11th Armoured Division and took part in the Normandy Landings, arriving at Juno Beach on 17 June.

Pat was one of a family of four sons and two daughters: Jimmy, Henry, Joe, Pat, Catherine and Hannah. Of the six children of James and Isabel Kelly of Whitehaven, Cumbria, the four sons and one daughter served in the Armed Forces during World War Two. This article is mainly about Pat’s siblings.

Pat signed a form agreeing that I could write about his memories of the war, that they could be donated to an archive and that others could read them if they wished. The terms of “The People’s War” website have been read and understood.

The Kelly family of Whitehaven during World War Two

"Of my three brothers and one sister who were in the Armed Forces, two of my brothers were in the Border Regiment and one was in the Pioneer Corps. Then I had a sister in the A.T.S. Two of my brothers, well they both went with the Border Regiment to Burma. One of them, Henry, he won the Military Medal in Burma. I have a few photographs and newspaper cuttings of my brother Henry who won the MM.

He was a corporal in the Border Regiment, and my other brother was with him at the time. They were in the same Regiment in Burma. According to the citation, they were in an upper Tai-wy village and they withdrew a short distance. Then they tried to bring in the body of a scout under fire. I think that was what they seem to have done.

Then I had another brother before then in the Border Regiment. He was in the Somme area when the Dunkirk retreat was going on in 1940, before I had joined up. He got a special medal for the Somme. That was my brother Joe who received the commemorative medal of the ‘Battles of the Somme’.

Then there was my other brother James, or Jimmy as he was known, who was Rosemary‘s Dad so you would know him fairly well. He was in the Pioneer Corps during the war. Then, as I said I had a sister who was already in the A.T.S."


In the above account, Pat mentions one of his elder brothers, Henry was awarded the Military Medal while serving in Burma during World War Two. In the 'Supplement to the London Gazette' dated 5 October 1944 (Page 4571) among the announcements of the award of the Military Medal to service personnel is: "No 3599479 Corporal Henry Kelly, The Border Regiment (Whitehaven, Cumberland)".

During World War Two and for some years afterwards, privates and NCOs were awarded the Military Medal rather than the Military Cross which went to officers. This distinction between officers and other ranks no longer exists in the Armed Forces.

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