Amazingly this Chaplain’s kit just recently surfaced in a Goodwill store in Spokane Washington.
With the unique to quickly research and also some help from Scott (Bugme), I was able to positively ID this Chaplains kit to Chaplain, Capt. Keith B. Munro, (Keith Brakenridge Munro, to be precise). But what I didn’t expect to find is the history attached to Chaplain Munro and this kit, not to mention even a field picture of him kneeling next to this Chaplain’s kit.
Keith Munro, Was born in Berkely CA. June 25th 1913
Graduated from the University of Ca. in 1938
Graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1941
Ordained in August 1941
Became a pasture of the First Presbyterian Church of Gilroy Ca.
He first received his Army Commission into the Infantry 2 months after the Pearl Harbor Attacks and shortly thereafter transferred to the U.S. Army Chaplains College.
He was assigned to the 871st Airborne Engineer Aviation Bn. and deployed overseas to the Pacific Theater of operations.
Chaplain Munro, while conducting Sunday services in the jungles of New Guinea, on August 15th 1943 was killed in action. A news release I found from Brig. General Stuart C. Godfrey, describes this incident:
“While a fighter airdome was under construction in New Guinea a flight of 12 Japanese medium bombers, escorted by 20 to 25 fighters, slipped in to bomb the field. They were intercepted by p-39 Airacobras, who shot down all 12 bombers and three fighters. We lost four fighter planes.” “The Raid occurred on a Sunday morning just after Chaplain Keith B. Munro of California had finished conducting services. Chaplain Munro was helping get the men safely into foxholes when one of the Japanese bombers crashed and exploded on the field. The Chaplain was killed and several of the men were injured.”
Chaplain Munro had just received news a few day earlier of his first child being born and he was killed just days before his 2nd wedding anniversary.
Chaplain Munro’s story went nationwide and he was also selected to be one of the service stories used for the 6th U.S. War Bonds Drive.
Chaplain Munro is buried in the Manila American Cemetery, Manila Philippines, Plot D, Row 5, Grave 187.
I will be attaching several archived news articles and pictures.
You will see the kit is identical to the one in the news articles except for missing the cross and 2 candle sticks, which is most likely due to those items being out of the kit while conducting his services that fateful day. The kit must have been sent or brought home and returned to his family with his personal belongings.
Very sad, but amazing piece of WWII history. It’s not very often so much information and documentation can still be found like this. I hope some of you take the time to read all this and keep this Chaplains story alive.
Please be patient as I download many scans and pictures.