World War II: A Sweet Reminder of Home


Corporal Arthur J. Kiely Jr. of West Hartford (left), a marine combat photographer stationed in Saipan during World War II. PG 42, Kiely Photograph Collection, 1944-45, State Archives, Connecticut State Library

By Arthur J. Kiely Jr.

(c) Connecticut Explored Inc. 2003 Nov/Dec/Jan 2004 

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Sometimes a sweet little reminder of home meant a great deal to a soldier in the battlefield. In June 1944 Corporal Arthur J. Kiely Jr. of West Hartford, a Marine combat photographer, was so moved by one such reminder in his “K” rations that he wrote the following note to Beatrice Fox Auerbach, president of G. Fox and Company, Hartford’s flagship department store.

To start with my name is Arthur J. Kiely Jr. Before I entered the Marine Corps I was a photographer at the Hartford Courant, and I have been a customer of G. Fox and Company for many years. I have also dined the Connecticut Room [G. Fox’s dining room] many times. The reason for this letter is to tell you about the thrill I got during the battle of Saipan. The first day I hit the island, I of course had to dig a foxhole right away. It was in the foxhole that the memory of G. Fox and Company was brought back to me. I was opening a box of “K” rations and to my surprise I found four sugar tablets wrapped in paper advertising Connecticut Room Coffee. That same night we were strafed by a Jap[anese]plane. …Well, now the battle of Saipan is over and I suppose we will start and get ready to hit somewhere else still nearer to Japan. I sure wish this war would end so I can get back to ‘good ole Hartford.’


Read more stories from the 2003 Nov/Dec/Jan 2004 issue

Read more stories about Connecticut in World War II in our special 75th anniversary issue, Fall 2020

Read more stories about Connecticut at War on our TOPICS page. 

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