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Cornelius Hays Kelleher


Retired with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant from the USAF.



  • Orrin Merrill

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

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Units served with

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 562nd Bomb Squadron


  • 42-97210 Jamaica Ginger

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/2/44; Kearney 27/2/44; Grenier 9/3/44; Assigned 563BS/388BG Knettishall 22/3/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 28/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 21/10/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA)...

  • 42-97760

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 16/2/44; 1SAG Langley 12/3/44; Dow Fd 29/5/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 31/5/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 11/1/46.

  • 43-38385

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/7/44; Hunter 5/8/44; Dow Fd 18/8/44; Assigned 563BS/388BG Knettishall 22/8/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 21/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 30/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA)...

  • 43-38873

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 2/10/44; Dow Fd 23/10/44; Assigned 385BG Gt Ashfield 25/10/44; transferred 561BS/388BG Knettishall 26/10/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 7/1/46.

  • 44-8146

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 20/6/44; Langley 6/7/44; Dow Fd 7/9/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 9/9/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 28/2/46; RetUS, 613 BU Phillips 29/4/46.

  • 44-8251

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 26/7/44; Hunter 25/8/44; Grenier 16/9/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 19/9/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 20/6/45; Sth Plains 3/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 25/11/45.

  • 44-8549 Just Joyce

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 12/10/44; Hunter 5/11/44; Grenier 3/12/44; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 16/12/44; RetUS, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 8/1/46. JUST JOYCE.

Associated Place

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...


Event Location Date
Born Waterbury, CT, USA 15 December 1921
388th BG Combat Tour Knettishall, Diss IP22 2TH, UK 17 October 1944 – 30 March 1945

30 combat missions

Died South Hadley, MA 01075, USA 13 October 2013

Cornelius Hayes (Neil) Kelleher, 91, of South Hadley, MA died on October 13, 2013. Neil is prede-ceased by an infant granddaughter, Elizabeth M. Bernard in 1994. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Margaret (Sutton) Kelleher of South Hadley, originally from Norwich, England. Also by their three children: Margaret E. Bernard and her husband, Ray, and their son, Nicholas, of South Hadley; Patrick J. Kelleher and his wife, Meg, and their three children, Patrick, Christopher and Haleigh, of Marshfield, MA; Timothy J. Kelleher and his wife, Lauren, and their three children, Devon, Graeme and Eva, of Watertown, MA; also two sisters-in law and several nieces in England. He was born on December 15, 1921 in Waterbury, CT and lived briefly in nearby Naugatuck. From 1930 he grew up in the Saugatuck section of Westport, CT where he graduated from Staples High School. He attended St. Michael's College in Vermont and enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942, training as a radio operator and aerial gunner. After 30 combat missions over Germany as a T/Sgt. in the 8th Air Force, 388th Bomb Group B-17s, he volunteered for advanced radio school. After graduating and awaiting assignment to the Pacific, the war ended. An honorable discharge followed in Oct. 1945. A year later he reenlisted in the Air Force. For over 9 1/2 years he served on select crews in Strategic Air Command B-29, B-50 and B-36 aircraft attaining a superintendent rating as radio operator and electronic counter-measure operator. Another 32 months were spent patrolling the North Atlantic Ocean in RC-121 radar reconnaissance aircraft. His next assignment required attending two weather observer schools. Following graduations and qualifying as a chief weather observer he earned his second superintendent rating, eventually becoming the chief weather observer superintendent for the 8th Air Force when the 8th was headquartered at Westover AFB. He retired there as a Senior Master Sergeant in Nov. 1965. Thereafter he belonged to the Air Force Reserve until honorably discharged in Mar. 1974. Meanwhile he became locally employed, including 12 years serving as industrial engineer at the former Adams Plastics Co. in Holyoke, until retiring in 1986. In his retirement, he enjoyed watching his family grow, spending time with his grandchildren, pursuing his love of Traditional Dixieland Jazz and was always the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. He was very proud to be a lifetime member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society. The funeral for Neil will be held Thursday morning at 8:30 am from the Ryder Funeral Home, followed by a Funeral Mass at 9:30am in St. Patrick's Church both in South Hadley. His burial with full military honors will follow in the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. Calling hours will be held Wednesday evening from 4-7pm in the funeral home. Memorial contributions can be made to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, P.O. Box 1992, Savannah, GA, 31402 or at For more details, please visit RYDER FUNERAL HOME

Buried Agawam, MA, USA 17 October 2013

Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery • Agawam, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Sec. 10, Row K, Site 26


Date Contributor Update
31 December 2017 01:34:09 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, highest rank, biography, events, place associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:06:38 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /