We were asked to review a number of photographic images of “Sergeant” Robert Kelly who resides in the Leamington, Ontario area.
Our review identified many inconsistencies in his dress / appearance and, when combined with his confusing claims of service, that has given us cause to question his entire military narrative.
Our team conducted a thorough review of all available records, this included websites, newspaper articles, photographic images, regimental tour books, searchable data bases of medal recipients and extracts from military documents in Canada in order to determine the legitimacy of his claims.
SV-C then reached out to the regimental associations, their museums and other organizations in which Kelly has claimed to have served. The publicly accessible records, that we have had the opportunity to review, do not support the majority of his claims. That being said, the absence of verifiable records alone does not conclusively prove that an individual is a fake or embellisher, it just indicates that there are no records…
Kelly has alluded to being a WW2 Veteran yet, he was born in Douglastown, New Brunswick in 1936. Now, we are not mathematical geniuses but, those numbers just don’t work… Therefore, question becomes, is he a legitimate Korean War Veteran, a Cold War era Veteran or, is he a Veteran at all?
In addition to his World War 2 foolishness, he has also claimed over the years to be an infantryman with The RCR “SPECIAL FORCES” (1953-1959), a “sky trooper”(whatever the hell that is!), a “NATO Peacekeeper” in Europe, a Code Talker, a Korean War Veteran, a British trained commando and, quite amazingly, he claims to have served in the Canadian Airborne Regiment over a decade before it was formed in April 1968.
Judging by the extensive press coverage he has received over the years, it appears that he’s being pimped as the veteran “go to guy”. The leadership of the Windsor Veterans Memories Project have showcased Mr Kelly at many of their events so, one would assume that they must have verified his military service. Factual errors and omissions occur due to misremembering & that can be forgiven. However, complete fabrications, not so much…
In the old style Battle Dress uniform image, he’s wearing a highly unlikely, and quite confusing display of medal ribbons including the (1) unofficial Aboriginal Millennium Medallion in the senior position, (2) followed by the 2 x WW2 ribbons (including the France & Germany Star), (3) the Special Service Medal NATO, (4) the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal without any accompanying tour medal , (5) the Coronation Medal, (6) the Canadian Decoration indicating a minimum of 12 years of good conduct and loyal service, (7) the Commissionares Long Service Medal, (8) the Service Medal of the Order of St John (without its accompanying ribbon) is often worn on his right lapel & there’s are some sort of parachutist wings on his left breast pocket.
On a stand up poster prominently displayed in the Windsor area, Kelly’s story included the following -“While in Europe, his tours included Germany, England & Holland. A highly trained reconnaissance soldier, as part of a 30 man reconnaissance team. He would gain information on Germany during the day, and then inform his Commanding Officer in the morning”
Was he alluding that he’s a WW2 vet who gathered information on the Nazis or, is he implying that he crossed the IGB and was gathering intelligence on Warsaw Pact Forces? Wearing the France and Germany Star leads us to believe that he was proclaiming himself to be a WW2 Vet!
In the more recent/current images, he’s wearing a maroon blazer along with maroon beret & any evidence of his claimed WW2 service has been removed.
The constant on his many make-believe uniforms is the Queen’s Coronation Medal. That particular medal was presented to just 15 junior ranks of the 2nd Bn of The RCR, all combat veterans/paratroopers who were members the Canadian Contingent in London, England during the 1953 ceremony. Not surprisingly, Mr Kelly’s name is not on that list…
He also says that he met the Queen in Picadilly Circus, and he talks about JOHN Prince (Does he mean Sergeant Tommy Prince MM of the 2nd Bn PPCLI?) who he claims he was forgotten by his regiment and family!
Other than the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, which he is a bonafide recipient, and the Special Service Medal (NATO) which he would have been awarded for his limited service in Europe, what’s the story regarding the other medals he’s been sporting?
This includes the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD), which requires 12 years of qualifying service and good conduct so, how can an individual who claims only 6 years of service (1953-59) be entitled? Additionally, there’s absolutely no evidence that he’s eligible “peacekeeping service” to wear the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal.
We believe Mister Kelly may have found himself in a situation in which his stories, unchecked embellishment & outright lies finally caught up with him, and he was finding it difficult to extract himself. SV-C was prepared to assist with correcting this situation if and when Kelly made contact with us.
*What we do know.*
Private Bob Kelly, actually served in the Canadian Army as an infantryman with the 2nd Bn, The Royal Canadian Regiment in NW Europe. This was followed by a number of short time periods of service as a reservist in the Royal New Brunswick Regiment and the Windsor Regiment. He never advanced past the rank of PRIVATE during any of his actual service nor, did he get anywhere near the 12 year threshold to be awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD).
SV-C reached out to Kelly in order to clarify the situation & he has not responded. But, the President of the Windsor Historical Society – Veterans’ Memories Project jumped into the discussion, vouched for Kelly’s service, and states he has all the paper work to back it up his buddy’s claims. However, he has refused to release the information so it could be independently verified and, has threatened SV-C with legal action, because we had “slandered an innocent soldier”!
What’s particularly disturbing, his supporters were actually going turn a blind eye to Kelly’s military fairytales and allow him to escort Hockey’s Memorial Cup, a trophy that is dedicated to all Canadian Armed Forces members who gave their lives in the service of our great country.
*The bottom line*
PRIVATE Robert Kelly had legitimate military service during the Cold War, that’s something in which he should have taken great pride. He had no need to embellish his time in the Army but, by doing so, he stood in the blood of our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price for our freedom during the period 1947-1991!
All of our research was provided to the law enforcement agencies which would have jurisdiction(s) in the area in which the alleged violation of s419 CCC had occurred. Additionally, we provided them with the contact information for the Library and Archives – Canada and the CF’s Directorate of Honours and Recognition so, a formal request for relevant documents should they so desire to further investigate Mister Kelly’s bogus military narrative.
Regardless, it’s been a long slog with former Private Kelly as a number of his supporters and enablers interfered with our activities, this entire situation could have been wrapped up a year ago!
We have no doubt that the demand for an apology has now been taken off the table.
The truth was always out there, now a friend and supporter of SVC has Kelly’s medals in his care and custody, the bogus medals will be removed from the group, and the legitimate medals will be returned in the very near future.
SVC also expects a public apology will be made to everyone who has been negatively impacted by Mr Kelly’s medallic fuckery™.
Lest We Forget indeed.