Last Shore Leave

2476490680_f931b62532_o.png

Location: 350 Clay Street
Date: June 3, 1946

In the not-quite-twelve hours since John M. Kelly was discharged from the Marine Corps, he somehow took up with Henry Ehlert, 44, and Dwight C. Lester, 23, of this address and John Graham, 43, a Naval chief petty officer stationed in San Diego.

Kelly’s first night as a civilian was a notable one: he and his pals drew the attention of Traffic Officer F.J. Rees, investigating reports of a holdup in an alley between Main and Spring, and when Kelly made a funny move when ordered to put ’em up, Rees shot half his face off.

Kelly survived long enough to be booked on robbery charges in the prison ward of General Hospital, while his pals cooled their heels in County Jail. But the lack of any follow up to this story makes one wonder if Rees had an itchy finger, and the arrests were meant to cover up an accidental shooting of an innocent man.

The previous November 10, hapless Dwight C. Lester, then residing at 300 S. Olive Street, somehow lost his footing, fell under the up-bound Angels Flight car and was dragged about 60 feet before engineer Elmer Miller heard him hollering and braked. He escaped with friction burns and lacerations. Below, a photograph of his rescue.

mm

Author: Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *