Kelly, Patrick R. ’43

Kelly, Patrick R. ’43 or ‘44 had he graduated

Kelly served as deck cadet on the Maiden voyage of the James B. Stevens in 1942. He had his preliminary training on the west coast. He joined the ship in Portland, OR; there were 2 deck and 2 engine cadets. The Captain was John Edward Green Jr. One engine cadet was Henry R. Orndorff and the other deck cadet was Ed Kavanagh.

The ship was loaded with tanks and lumber on deck. After his ship delivered the cargo to Port Said, they departed for the states via Durban. On March 8, 1943 the ship was torpedoed off of South Africa, about 150 miles from Durban. Orders were given to abandon ship Kelley headed for lifeboat #4 but, having forgotten some clothes, he ran back to get them. Captain saw him and thrust on him ship’s papers and navigation equipment. His boat was lowered with him in it but when the 2nd torpedo struck, the explosion blew him out of the boat causing him to loose all the papers and equipment. The ship split in half and was on fire. The Captain came in another lifeboat and picked him up. Kelly was in a lifeboat with other crewmembers for 4-5 days when an English corvette picked them up and took them to Durban where they stayed about six weeks. One of the boats with the Mr. Clayton, Chief Mate in charge made it to within one mile of Durban since the Mate had stowed navigation equipment in the lifeboat when they were being fitted out in Portland.

When he got to NY he reported to 45 Broadway and was told to get out of the office and come back when he was in uniform. He was not content with how things were going when we got back to the Academy so he began looking for a job as a Mate without the license. One company offered to hire him as 2nd mate as they were desperate so he went back to the Academy to resign and asked for a release from his appointment since the company hiring him wouldn’t accept him without that paper. Commander Pat Brennen told him to forget it; you can’t think you can defy the Maritime Commission. Brennen would only give him a release to get a job as an AB. On one of the trips that followed when Kelly was sailing as OS he remembers being on forward lookout and reporting torpedoes streaming toward his ship but while Kelly was running aft he realized the torpedoes were a school of porpoise! He was not ridiculed for his incorrect observation.

Kelly made enough trips to get time to sit for his 3rd mate license; he did so in San Francisco. He signed on a ship in S.F. heading for Galveston where the whole crew except Kelly was signed off, as they were the original crew whose articles called for being paid off and signed off articles. Since Kelly joined in S.F. the Captain wouldn’t sign him off. Instead he told him to study for his 2nd mate license while the ship was in port; the Captain went to the CG with him and Kelly did get his license and sailed 2nd mate. On one of the trips he sailed on a troop ship to Okinawa during the heat of battle when a kamikaze plane nearly hit his ship but was shot down by the ship next to his. He got his Chief Mate license in 1944 in S.F; after the war he went to night law school and while waiting to hear if he passed the bar he sailed for APL.

Pat Kelly enjoys getting literature from Kings Point but doesn’t know why the Alumni consider him to be a graduate!



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