In Memory of
US Navy Storekeeper Third Class
Robert MacLean Brown
Doland, South Dakota
Spink County
March 10, 1916 – February 14, 1944
Died of Pneumonia while a Prisoner of the Japanese

World War II Memorial hrozontal rule image

Robert MacLean Brown, commonly known as Bob, was born March 10, 1916, in Mitchell. His adoptive parents were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Brown of Doland.  Robert was raised and educated in Doland. He graduated from high school in 1933 and then attended Brookings State College and the University of Missouri.

On August 29, 1939, Robert enlisted in the Navy at Omaha, Nebraska, and was attached to the USS Penguin, stationed on Guam when it fell to the Japanese early in December of 1941, according to the local paper. His name was first released as a POW around the end of February of 1942. During his time of captivity, Storekeeper Third Class Brown wrote home several times using the standard, impersonal “cards” that were issued. Additionally, a broadcast from Tokyo picked up in California at the end of April, 1942, carried messages from three “midwestern naval and marine boys captured at Guam.” One was from Robert:

Dear Mother: This is to let you know I am safe and well. Please inform my friends.
Hope you are well too. I miss you all very much and am looking forward to the time
when we can be together again. Tell our friends I  think of them often. Give my love
to all the family and relatives. Take good care of yourselves and lots of love. Bob

The last communication his mother had received from him was written in December of 1943. A cablegram arrived from the Red Cross dated April 30, 1945, which informed a family member of the death of Robert M. Brown, Storekeeper Third Class, of acute pneumonia on February 14, 1944, at Osaka POW camp in Japan.

At the time of the telegram, his father was dead and his mother had been hospitalized in Mitchell for over a year, soon to succumb.

A death record card obtained through the Department of Navy indicates that after Robert died, his remains were cremated by the Japanese. The ashes were subsequently recovered after the war. The ashes of Robert MacLean Brown are interred at Plot E, Row 3, Grave 35, Manila American Cemetery, Manila Philippines.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator, Spearfish, South Dakota. Information for this entry was provided by the Department of the Navy, Mortuary Affairs Section, and the Redfield Press, issues 4/28/42 and 6/7/45.