Boston, MA Cocoanut Grove Club Fire, Nov 1942

Cocoanut Grove Night Club Fire from wikipedia.org Front View Of Building Side View of Building Memorial Plaque Memorial Plaque

10 FROM GREATER LOWELL LOSE LIVES IN HUB FIRE.

TWO CENTRALVILLE YOUNG WOMEN AMONG NIGHT CLUB VICTIMS.

FOUR WILMINGTON BROTHERS, ON PARTY WITH LOCAL WOMEN, ALSO PERISH -- ONE MISSING, ANOTHER INJURED FROM THIS AREA.

Lowell -- With scores of charred bodies remaining unidentified in Boston morgues, Greater Lowell had already counted 10 dead and one missing in the horrible holocaust enacted at the Cocoanut Grove club Saturday night, as the tragic list kept mounting early this afternoon.

Greater Lowell Victims.
Dead:
KELLY, MARY E., 21 Myrtle street, Lowell.
ROGERS, MILDRED, 50 Varnum street, Lowell.
FITZGERALD, Private HENRY T., 29, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, JAMES J., 39, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, JOHN A., 41, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, Wilfrid A., 31, Lake street, Wilmington.
LOWE, GEORGE T., 45, Frost road, Tyngsboro.
QUINLAN, Sergt, JOHN J., Burnap street, Wilmington.
ALTIERI, Private FRED L., Fort Devens.
ADLER, Private MILTON DAVID, Fort Devens.

Missing:
PEAVEY, JANE, daughter of Col. HARRY C. PEAVEY, Fort Devens.

Injured:
GOODWIN, JAMES, U. S. Coast Guard, Woburn street, North Wilmington, rescue worker.

Other Victims Well Known Here.
Dead:
AMBROSE, MARION, 42 Fine street, Winchester.
GRIFFIN, HELEN C., 330 Primrose street, Haverhill.
WELCH, HELEN, 28 Lebanon street, Winchester.
(All Lowell State Teachers' College graduates)
GILBRIDE, CAROLYN, 20, 44 Grant road, Swampscott.
Injured:
DEE, ANNA, 10 Bromfield street, West Somerville, also a Lowell State Teachers' College graduate.

The pall of grief arising from the unprecedented catastrophe, spread to the families of two Lowell young women, four Wilmington brothers, a Wilmington army sergeant and a Tyngsboro World War veteran. In addition, Lowell relatives and friends mourned the deaths of four young women living in other communities, but well know here as a result of attendance at the Lowell State Teachers' college. At least two Fort Devens soldiers also died.

Six of the local victims were members of a party of 12 men and women, only one of the whom was saved. There included MARY E. KELLY, 21 Myrtle street; MILDRED ROGERS, 50 Varnum street, and HARRY, JAMES, JOHN and WILFRID FITZGERALD of Lake street, Wilmington.
The town of Wilmington bore the brunt of Greater Lowell's losses, for in addition to the four FITZGERALD brothers, Sergt, JOHN J. QUINLAN of Burnap street, Wilmington, stationed at Fort Devens, also died in the club fire. MISS ROGERS was principal of a Wilmington grade school.
Late reports placed among the missing and probably dead, the name of MISS JANE PEAVEY, daughter of Col. and MRS. HARRY C. PEAVEY of Fort Devens. MISS PEAVEY'S father, dental chief at the fort, was leading a search for his this noon, with but scant hope of finding her alive.
Two Fort Devens soldiers were definitely placed among the dead. Officials gave their names as Private First Class FRED L. ALITERI and Private MILTON DAVID ADLER, the former a resident of Somerville. ADLER'S home city was not known at press time.
Several other Fort Devens officers and soldiers may also have lost their lives, and a thorough check was being made today.

Well-known here and all dead, are: The MISSES MARION AMBROSE, 42 Fine street, Winchester; HELEN WELCH, 28 Lebanon street, Winchester; CAROLYN GILBRIDE, 44 Grant road, Swampscott and HELEN C. GRIFFIN, 330 Primrose street, Haverhill. They were graduates of the local Teachers' college. Several have local relatives. Injured, is MISS ANNA DEE of 10 Bromfield street, West Somerville, also widely known and a former Teachers' college student.
The World War veteran who survived German bullets and shells, only to succumb in the Boston fire, was GEORGE T. LOWE, 45, of Frost road, Tyngsboro recently moved to Boston, where he was working at the navy yard.
LOWE'S sister, MRS. JULIA THOMPSON or read 238 Appleton street, heard her own name called out in reports yesterday as being among the dead. The case of mistaken identity caused many calls to come to her home and was apparently the result of her name being found on her brother's body.
The most tragic episode in the greater-Lowell area, was the near wiping-out of a party of 12 persons who had gathered at the club to fete the home-coming for the Thanksgiving holiday of two soldiers, Pvt. HENRY FITZGERALD of Wilmington and Pvt. ROBERT HORRIGAN of Turners Falls.
This group, comprising of six men and six young women, went to the club only a short time before fire broke out. All perished, with the exception of Pvt. HORRIGAN, who lies gravely injured in a Boston hospital.
Throughout the city and its suburbs, grief was widespread. For the first time since Pearl Harbor war was only a secondary topic. The city actually appeared stunned, although the tragedy occurred more than 25 miles away.
Lowell contributed the use of its patrol wagon, converted into an ambulance and several rescue workers while Wilmington supplied its own ambulance and a number of workers, one of whom was injured. He was JAMES GOODWIN, a member of the U. S. coast guard, who was hurt while aiding in removing victims. GOODWIN is belived to be the only Greater Lowell person injured.

Continued

Comments

SSGT James P Kelley & PVT Daniel A Kelley

Jim & Dan were my grandfather's brothers. They were both Marines and perished before I was born. Jim joined the Marines straight out of BC High and had 2 sea tours & a stint at training stateside under his belt by the time he died in the GC Fire at age 25.
Dan enlisted 6 days before his 18th birthday and was active duty 22 days later on June 29, 1944. Dan was KIA on IWO Volcano March 3, 1945, 8 months and 3 days after he went active duty.
But in the Kelley family George, Phillip "Joe", John, Tim & ever Tommy in the Merchant Marine came home. They made sure we all knew of Jim & Dan's heroism.
No one is gone as long as the are remembered. Jim & Dan have a "Hero Square" at the top of Bunker Hill Street. It's the intersection near their home at 244 Bunker Hill St. The building is long gone, but the Hero Square is there.
Also when Charlestown High was naming the new school gym, Dan & Jim's names were selected along with a few others for that honor.
And of course Bill Durette of the Charlestown Historical Society keeps the memory of all who served in World War II from Charlestown alive.

75th Memorial

Mike,
I can not be in Boston for the ceremony. However, I'd be interested in any pictures you or others take. If you wanted to do a small write-up for my very small blog (BostonMaggie.blogspot) I'd love to post it.
My grandfather's brother, SSgt James P Kelley, USMC perished in the fire. He was the with his friends Sgt Anthony Marotta, USMC, Mrs Alice C Marotta and Jim's date. The family was told that Jim got his date out & re-entered the club. I believe Sgt Marotta went back in, both attempting to get Mrs. Marotta & all 3 perished.
My family is 4th generation Charlestown, Jim's father "Big Mike" came over from Ireland and there were 8 children in the family. People came to tell my grandfather Owen "Frank" what they knew. The Marotta's we're from New York.
So, needless to say, I follow this story intently. Any info from the ceremony would be greatly appreciated.
Diane McInnis Miller

Cocoanut Grove 75th Anniversary Memorial

Hello,
I along with a group of Bostonians in 2013 had a street the cut through the footprint of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub renamed, Cocoanut Grove Lane. On November 25, we are hosting a 75th Anniversary Memorial at the Revere Hotel, 200 Stuart Street in Boston from 1pm to 3pm. We would be very pleased to have you join us.
I can be reached via email or call me at 617-924-7613.
Mike Hanlon

Maryalice Klinger Chaifetz

Maryalice Klinger Chaifetz Yes, we are related, I did not know you left a comment until Patty Aronin, Anne's, daughter messaged me. I know the name Klinger, I remember my parents talking about Chickie, but do not know if I ever met him. I am sorry for your loss, I wasn't aware about the scholarship. But have seen the paintings she did. I have not seen or heard from Dolly since around 2001 or so. John and my sister Jeanine, also passed away as well as my mom is 2012, during Sandy. Jeanine the next year and John the year after that. We should stay in touch, Katie Metzger

Coconut grove fire - Dorothy Metzger

Helen, I am your cousin. My mother was Anne, the younger sister of Helen and older sister of Dorothy. I remember attending your wedding, and also remember Chickie. My mom passed away in 2009. I have a few old photos of Dorothy and one photo of your mom and dad that I discovered when cleaning out my mom's things. I'd love to hear from you. I love in Texas now. Do you know what happened to Dotty's daughter, Dolly? I have tried to Google all of you, but could never find anyone.

I believe I am your cousin

My mother was Helen Metzger Klinger. She had a brother John sister Ann and sister Dorothy. I believe your Mother was my aunt Terry by marriage to John. I was nearer in age to your older sister and brother John Michael.
My mother and Dorothy were very close. The things you have mentioned in your comment bring back so many happy and sad memories of Dorothy. When I was eight years old she left for Boston with no adult in her life to protect her.
Did you know she won a full scholarship to college for art but your grandmother encouraged her to turn it down so she could take that job singing at the Cocoanut Grove.
We never know how our lives will change with a simple decision. Are you in contact with Dorothy's Daughter?
I really hope you get this note. I would like to
know if you are my cousin.
Sincerely, Maryalice
PS I had a brother Charles (nickname as a kid Chickie). He passed away last year. He has two sons and three grandchildren.

New Calvary Cemetery and SGT Kelly from Charlestown

Two unrelated thoughts re to the CG fire: I recall a funeral director from South Boston saying how there are upwards of a dozen or more graves in New Cal cemetery right near each other, all with the same date: November 28, 1942. Eerie and sad.

I seem to recall my mother, who was from Charlestown, mentioning that Sgt James P Kelley of Bunker Hill St, a victim of the fire, had a brother, Danny--USMC, who later died at Iwo Jima. How sad.

Jean Marie

After 72 years, Jean Marie and I reunited our family's. Turns out she and her family spend summers 35 miles from where we live. Her father had family pictures I had never seen. And I got to see a picture of Jane Louise Sullivan as a young child. So, thru the pain of this, some good has come. Jean Marie & I plan on a get togeather again this coming year. Thanks to your site Jean Marie in N.Y. and I in Idaho have found each other. Louise O'Brien

Coconut Grove Fire

My aunt and godmother Jane Louise Sullivan I did not see listed. She was with Lawrence T. Ford that night as they celebrated being engaged. Both died that night.
Thru this site I found that I had a scond cousin, and after 72 years I got to meet her family. They live in N.Y. and I in Idaho.
I think of my aunt a lot, and have tried to learn about Lawrence T. Ford. As a 5 year old child, I only remember he had a wire terrier named Bunkie. As we approach Nov. 29th 2014 they are in my heart and prayers.

Thank You

I was contacted by a relative I did not know I had.
Her Father remembered a relative, in the fire. Thru that contact we exchanged picture. And just this August (2014) we met. 72 years later. I had (My aunts) name wrong. The correct was Jane Louise Sullivan. I have been blessed. Thank you!