Corporal Robert E. Field Collection, 1928-2005 (bulk 1938-1949)

Vault A45, Field, Unit 1


Corporal Robert E. FieldEXTENT: Two record cartons.

ORGANIZATION: Organized in three series. Series I: Personal papers and related materials, 1928-2005; Series II: Correspondence, 1942-1944; Series III: scrapbook, photographs, artifacts, 1938-1948.

BIOGRAPHY: Robert Edward Field, son of Margaret Dee Bent and grandson of Joseph Dee, was born on April 6th, 1921. President of his 1939 graduating class at Concord High School, he delivered the salutatory address. When the superlatives were handed out he was voted the “most popular boy,” as well as earning recognition as an outstanding athlete. After graduation he completed a two year post-graduate program in business administration at The Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey, where he was the center on their championship hockey team and a varsity football letterman. He graduated from Peddie in June 1941.

In December of that year, as the United States prepared to enter the war, Bobby enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. On Christmas Eve he and Miss Jane Kerrigan of Stoneham became engaged, and a few weeks later he reported for basic training at Parris Island before being transferred to San Diego for additional training, becoming certified in radio communications. In July 1942 he shipped out to the Pacific, where he was stationed for the duration of his war service. Among the locations where he served were British Samoa, Kwajalein, Okinawa and Guam. He was killed in action by sniper fire on July 21st, 1944, the first day of the Second Battle of Guam. Corporal Field was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

Originally buried in the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps Cemetery on Guam, Corporal Field was re-interred at the National Memorial Cemetery, Punchbowl Crater, Honolulu, Hawaii when it opened in 1949. His mother, Mrs. Margaret Bent, made a visit there for a Memorial Day ceremony in May of 1959.

SCOPE & CONTENT: The collection provides an overview of the life of young Concordian Robert E. Field, with an emphasis on his service in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and subsequent death on the first day of the second battle of Guam in 1944. It contains childhood memorabilia, including photographs, a class picture, and a certificate of confirmation; documents related to his Concord High School years and post-graduate education at The Peddie School include yearbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs, and diplomas. Materials related to Corporal Field’s service in the Marines include a certificate and a commendation, photographs, newspaper clippings and two diaries. Documents relating to his death include a telegram, official communications from the military and the U.S. government, obituaries and related materials. Documents related to his burial on Guam and re-interment in Hawaii include official communications from the military, information on National Memorial Cemeteries in general and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in particular. His awards and commendations include two medals, one ribbon and associated paperwork. Materials from Mrs. Bent’s trip to visit her son’s grave in 1959 include photographs of the cemetery and the grave marker and travel-related ephemera.

Correspondence: The majority of the letters in folders 12 and 13 were written by Robert E. Field  to his mother, Mrs. Margaret Bent; two are directed to Mr. John “Jack” Bent (his stepfather).  Folder 14 contains letters from Robert to Mr. Joseph Dee (“Pa”) (his grandfather) and the others to Joseph Dee and Lydia (his housekeeper). Folder 15 contains letters from Margaret Bent to Robert, indicating that she had not heard from him. Folder 16 contains letters written by Robert’s friend and fellow Concordian Joseph V. Mara to various people. There are four folders of letters, notes, cards and Mass cards sent to Margaret Bent following Robert’s death, as well as a folder of miscellaneous correspondence.

Artifacts include an American flag, two medals, a pin and a ribbon.

SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Donated by Susan Dee on behalf of the Dee family, 25 February 2013.

NOTES: A 1939 Concord High School Yearbook that was donated with these papers has been added to the CFPL yearbook collection.

PROCESSED BY: C. Manoli-Skocay, January 2014. Preliminary organization by Pete Funkhouser.


Container List

SERIES I: Personal papers and related materials, 1928-2005

Box 1, Folder 1: Childhood, 1928, 1934 and undated
Photographs of young Robert E. Field at camp; with family members, undated; photograph of Joseph Dee, undated; class picture, grade 1, Emerson School, 1928; Certificate of Confirmation, St. Bernard’s Church, 23 May 1934.

Box 1, Folder 2: Concord High School, ca. 1938-1939
Typescript: salutatory address written and delivered by Robert E. Field, June 1939; photographs of individuals and groups related to Concord High School, ca. 1938-1939; newspaper clippings and ephemera, ca. 1938-39; diploma awarded to Robert E. Field, Concord High School, 23 June 1939.

Box 1, Folder 3: The Peddie School, 1939-1944
Three letters from Robert E. Field to Mrs. Margaret Bent, 1939-1941; The Peddie News, 27 May 1939; hockey and football team photographs featuring Robert E. Field; group photograph, Fourth Hall, Peddie, 1940; snapshots believed to have been taken at Peddie, undated; newspaper clippings featuring Robert E. Field’s athletic achievements, 1939-1941; diploma awarded to Robert E. Field from The Peddie School, 23 June 1941; letter from Peddie Headmaster Dr. Wilbour Eddy Saunders to Mrs. John J. Bent, 20 September 1944; The Peddie Chronicle, October 1944, Spring 1958.

Box 1, Folder 4: Photographs, ca. 1942 and undated
Various photographs of Robert E. Field alone, with his grandfather, Joseph Dee, with his fiancé, Jane Kerrigan; unidentified photo of Robert Field with a group of men and boys.

Box 1, Folder 5: United States Marine Corps, 1942-1944
Certificate of Completion, USMC Signal Schools, Field Telephone School, Private Robert E. Field, USMC(R), 15 May 1942; greeting cards given to Bobby Field, ca. 1941-1942; Commendation of 22d Marines, 16 April 1944; photographs: color portrait and B&W snapshots, undated; poem, In Protest, undated; newspaper clippings, May 1944 and undated.

Box 1, Folder 6: Military diaries, 1942-1943
Five Year Diary, entries: 18 July-6 September 1942; My Life in the Service, 1942-1943 (two photographs and a memorial card for Caleb Kendall Wheeler enclosed).

Box 1, Folder 7: Materials relating to the death of Corporal Robert E. Field, 1944-1961 and undated
Telegram (with envelope) announcing the death of Corporal Robert E. Field, undated; USMC certificate verifying the death of Corporal Robert Edward Field at Guam, Marianas Islands on 21 July 1944; official letter from the United States Marine Corps, Commandant’s Office, 29 August 1944; Headquarters and Service Company, Twenty-Second Marines (reinforced); inventory of personal belongings of Corporal Robert E. Field, 20 September 1944; obituaries and related newspaper clippings, 1944, 1961 and undated; Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps notification of return of Robert E. Field’s personal effects, 5 February 1945; brief newspaper article that may be a description of the death of Robert E. Field by a Japanese sniper, undated; certificate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts acknowledging the death of Robert E. Field, undated;  document signed by Franklin Roosevelt acknowledging the death of Robert E. Field in the service of his country, undated.

Box 1, Folder 8: Materials related to the interment and re-interment of Corporal Robert E. Field, 1943-1949 and undated
First Interment (Guam, 1944): Program: Memorial Service for Our Honored Dead, Guadalcanal Military Cemetery, 9 March 1943 (2 copies); information card on the burial location of Corporal Robert E. Field at the Army, Navy and Marine Corps Cemetery, Guam Island, undated; remarks by Commanding General, First Marine Brigade, at the Dedication Ceremony, Army, Navy and Marine Cemetery Number Two, Guam, 21 August 1944; newspaper clipping: “U.S. Marine Cemetery on Guam,” undated. Second Interment (Honolulu, Hawaii, 1949): Official letter from the Department of the Army informing Mrs. Margaret Bent of the re-interment of her son Corporal Robert E. Field at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl Crater, Honolulu, Hawaii, 6 May 1949; general informational material on the Punchbowl, ca. 1949; related newspaper clippings, undated; color photographs of the cemetery and Corporal Robert E. Field’s grave marker, 2005 and undated; general informational materials relating to American military cemeteries and burials, 1944-1947.

Box 1, Folder 9: Awards/Commendations, 1944-1948
Certificate, Purple Heart, 30 September 1944; letter from Major P.H. Uhlinger, U.S. Marine Corps to Mrs. Margaret J. Bent regarding the awarding of the Purple Heart to Corporal Robert E. Field, 16 October 1944; letter from Colonel A.E. O’Neil, U.S. Marine Corps, regarding the awarding of the Victory Medal, World War II, 25 July 1947. (Medals housed in Box 2).

Box 1, Folder 10: Insurance Documents, 1944-1947
Documents relating to the pursuit, processing, and granting of insurance settlements following  the death of Corporal Robert E. Field on 21 July 1944.

Box 1, Folder 11: Mrs. Margaret J. Bent Hawaii trip, May 1959
Travel-related materials: itinerary, airline information and enclosures, maps, menus, brochures, postcards, and newspaper clippings relating to a trip made by Mrs. Margaret Bent to Hawaii to attend a Memorial Day ceremony and visit the grave of Corporal Robert E. Field in May 1959.

SERIES II: Correspondence, 1942-1944 and undated

Box 1, Folder 12: Letters from Robert E. Field to Margaret J. Bent and John Bent, January 1942-June 1943.

Box 1, Folder 13: Letters from Robert E. Field to Margaret J. Bent and John Bent, July 1943- June 1944.

Box 1, Folder 14: Letters from Robert E. Field to Joseph Dee and Lydia, May 1942-May 1944.

Box 1, Folder 15: Letters from Margaret J. Bent to Robert E. Field, July 1944-August 1944.

Box 1, Folder 16: Letters from Joseph V. Mara to Mr. and Mrs. John Bent and Mr. Joseph Dee, March 1943-September 1944.

Box 1, Folder 17: Letters, notes and cards sent to Margaret J. Bent on the death of Robert E. Field, August-September 1944.

Box 1, Folder 18: Letters, notes and cards sent to Margaret J. Bent on the death of Robert E. Field, October-November 1944.

Box 1, Folder 19: Letters, notes, cards and Mass cards sent to Margaret J. Bent on the death of Robert E. Field, undated

Box 1, Folder 20: Letters, notes, cards and Mass cards sent to Margaret J. Bent on the death of Robert E. Field, undated; related materials: Certificate: Purgatorian Society under the direction of the Redemptionist Fathers, enrolling Robert E. Field as a member, given by the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Roxbury, Mass., 29 August 1944; Mass card enrolling Robert E. Field in the Seraphic Mass Association by the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, 29 December 1944.

Box 1, Folder 21: Miscellaneous correspondence, 1942, 1944.

Box 1, unboxed: Peddie School Yearbooks: The 1940 Old Gold and Blue. Published by the Junior Class, The Peddie School, Hightstown, New Jersey; The 1941 Old Gold and Blue. Published by the Senior Class, The Peddie School, Hightstown, New Jersey.

SERIES III: Scrapbook, photographs, artifacts, 1938-1948 and dates unknown

Box 2, unboxed: Scrapbook (in handmade wooden binding), 1938-1939, includes photographs and newspaper clippings related to Robert E. Field’s senior year at Concord High School.

Box 2, unboxed: Matted photographs relating to Robert E. Field’s senior year at Concord High School, ca. 1938-1939.

Box 2, Box A: Corporal Robert E. Field’s dog tags, ca. 1941-1944.

Box 2, Box B: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, 1941-1945.

Box 2, Box C: Purple Heart medal, October 1944.

Box 2, Box D: Navy Unit Commendation with ribbon bar, First Provisional Marine Brigade, service on Guam, Marianas Islands, 21 June 1948.

Box 2, Box E: U.S. Marine Corp pin, date unknown.

Box 2, Box F: American flag, date unknown.


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Mounted 29th January 2014   rcwh.