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James Robert Feeney

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial


James Robert Feeney

"Your son died the death of a real man, the perfect plane commander that he was."

Sam Grundy (co-pilot)

James Robert Feeney was born on August 29, 1919, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, the son of Cecil F. and Anastasia Murphy Feeney. He had a sister Louise.

"Bob" attended Weston High School where he was a member of the Photography and Athletic Clubs. He was also a member of the Stamp Club and the Boy Scouts. Bob graduated from Weston High in 1937, then attended Greenbrier Military School for a year before going to West Virginia University in 1939.
James Robert Feeney
James Robert Feeney

Bob Feeney enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet on February 5, 1942. Inducted in March, he was called to active service on August 21. After training at various air corps schools in the United States, he was sent to England for further combat training in November 1943.

By December, then Lieutenant Feeney, a member of the 565th Bomb Squadron, 338th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force, was flying missions over Germany as chief pilot of a B-17. After five successful missions he was awarded the Air Medal.

On February 25, 1944, Lieutenant Feeney was reported missing when his plane failed to return from a mission on which he had left earlier in the month. It was later learned that Lt. James Robert Feeney was killed on February 10. It was reported that he was flying his 17th mission when his plane came under attack by German planes in Holland while returning from a bombing mission over Brunswick, Germany. Due to damage, the plane was forced to fall behind, and Lieutenant Feeney was attempting to get the plane to the English Channel when the men were ordered to bail. During the evacuation, he stayed at the controls until the last man parachuted. As Feeney attempted to leave, the plane exploded and it is thought he was killed instantly when he was thrown from the plane and his harness became entangled in part of the fuselage.

The body of Lt. James Robert Feeney was returned to the United States and in March 1949 was interred in Machpelah.

Louise Gilloly with monument
Louise Gilloly with monument,
Weston Democrat
In April 2001, Lieutenant Feeney's sister, Louise Gillooly, was invited to attend the unveiling of a memorial to her brother and the other crewmembers of the B-17 near Uitgeest, Holland. She and the niece of the radioman unveiled the monument, designed and built by Bram Kemp, on the same day and at the same hour the crash took place.

Information from the Weston Democrat.


West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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