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Historic Chaplain’s kit fresh out of the woodwork. KIA 1943 while conducting services in the PTO


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USMC-RECON0321

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.

Thank you.

 

Please be patient as I download many scans and pictures.

 

post-33000-0-05623800-1437529380.jpg

 

post-33000-0-28363700-1437529064.jpg post-33000-0-67912300-1437529188.jpg

 

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Here is the news article I found from his home town newspaper about his death.

 

post-33000-0-82683600-1437529549.jpg

 

post-33000-0-47107200-1437529487.jpg post-33000-0-28482600-1437529515.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Here is the news article in his home town paper telling about him being selected for the 6th War Bonds Drive.

 

post-33000-0-78295900-1437529735.jpg

 

post-33000-0-35851900-1437529742.jpg

 

post-33000-0-87141200-1437529746.jpg

 

 

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Great find.

Do you have pictures of the inside of the kit?

 

Yes. Those are next, I just wanted to get the story out first.

 

Thanks

Troy

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You can see the outline of the small box that is missing that was used to set the cross on at services. Also seen in his war time picture.

 

post-33000-0-92843300-1437530521.jpg

 

post-33000-0-08976400-1437530514.jpg

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This doesn't really seam to have a custom fit in the case, but it was in there and has the same cross at the bottom as on the dish posted above. Gold inside of cup and about 5 1/2" tall.

 

post-33000-0-02508900-1437531016.jpg

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What an amazing, rare and sobering find you made, Troy. Thanks for sharing it with us.

 

Rest in peace and God bless, Capt Munro. Thank you for your service and for paying the ultimate sacrifice.

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Sorry one more.

 

I'm thinking this linen was something he brought with him from home. In one of the news articles it talks about him being a Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church and you can see that written on there.

 

post-33000-0-08287600-1437531956.jpg post-33000-0-78378200-1437531945.jpg

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Here is a cut and paste of his archived obituary I found. Interesting it mentions how he is a direct decendant of Captain William Brackenridge, A Revolutionary Soldier.

 

 

Death struck Capt. Keith Brackenridge Munro,

30, of Berkeley, Calif., U. S. Army Chaplain, while he was

conducting morning prayers at the altar of his chapel in the

southwest Pacific. An enemy bomber crashed near the chapel and

its full bomb load exploded, killing him instantly. The

circumstances of his death were written to his wife of Oakland,

Calif. and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Neil E. Munro of Berkeley.

Capt. Munro was a graduate from the University of California in

1937 and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1940. He was

ordained a Presbyterian minister at Gilroy, Calif. He became a

1st Lieut. in the infantry in Feb 1942 and transferred to the

Chaplain's Corps in Aug 1942. In addition to his wife and his

parents, he is survived by a ten weeks old daughter whom he had

never seen and two brothers, Donald and Neil, Jr. of Berkeley.

About 18 months ago Capt. Munro and his wife visited his aunt,

Mrs. Charles E. Brackenridge and cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Evon Till.

He was a great, nephew of Mr. Charles E. Brackenridge, pioneer

lumberman of Livingston Parish, and a descendant of Capt. William

Brackenridge, Revolutionary Soldier of Ware, Mass.

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Very nice. There is a Chaplain Museum at Fort Jackson. Have you contacted them to try to find out any more information?

 

...Kat

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