In Memory of
US Navy Storekeeper Third Class
Robert MacLean Brown
Doland, South Dakota
March 10, 1916 – February 14, 1944
Died of Pneumonia while a Prisoner of the Japanese
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
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
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
when we can be together again. Tell our friends I think of them often. Give
to all the family and relatives. Take good care of yourselves and lots of
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.