McElyea, Robert H

Robert Harold McElyea was born on April 5, 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Vadie McElyea, who lived in Chadron,   Nebraska. Robert was one of five children. By 1935, the family had moved to Newlin Township, Chester County. Robert had a grammar school education. 

Robert worked at the Worth Steel Company in Edgemont, Delaware.  

In January 9, 1942, Robert entered service in the Army Air Corp, receiving training in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Michigan, as a tail gunner in a B-24 Liberator bomber. 

Robert went overseas to England in February 1943.
Army Logo Shadow

Technical Sergeant Robert Harold McElyea was killed in action July 7, 1944, over Munich, Germany. His mother received the following telegram from the War Department on July 22:

  We regret to inform you that your son, T/Sgt. Robert McElyea, has been missing over Germany since July 7.

The American Air Museum in Britain adds the following:

 Killed in Action (KIA) on 7 July 1944, while flying B-24 Liberator 44-0086 on a mission to Bernburg, Germany.

 His aircraft came under attack by enemy fighters, but was ultimately hit by flak and crashed near New Wegeleben after exploding in  mid-air. German authorities reported the aircraft completely destroyed except for the tail. 

Three months later, Robert’s mother received another telegram that her other son, Ralph was missing in action. He was also a gunner on a B-24 Liberator, but flying for Italy. He failed to return for a mission over Germany. It was later discovered that the aircraft was badly damaged so they headed for Switzerland since they knew they could not make it back to their original destination. The crew went down in Germany, and Ralph became a Prisoner of War. Fortunately for the McElyea family, Ralph escaped and would make it home. 

In 1948, Robert’s grave was discovered in Belgium. His remains were returned home where he was buried with full military honors at the Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square. 

Robert was survived by his wife and a young son.