Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd

The world’s most famous explorer made a discovery in Richmond that didn’t make the history books.

Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd did more than anyone else to explore and map the planet’s frozen Arctic and Antarctic wastelands in the years between 1928 and 1957.

While he was in Richmond as a guest lecturer of the Richmond Lions Club on October 15, 1941, he made a discovery at a local drugstore outside the Leland Hotel that did not make the history books.

He’d forgotten his wallet and couldn’t pay for his meal.

Richmond resident Russell Krelle was honored to find himself find himself sitting next to the Admiral after the lecture, and loaned the noted explorer what he needed.

Byrd repaid him later.

Rear Admiral Byrd toured the country, speaking on “National Unity” and fielding questions by an anxious public concerned about America’s entry into World War II.

Byrd believed emphatically “in backing the government” …and had needed some backing earlier himself when he forgot his wallet in Richmond.


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June 19, 2012