My Father, Cpl. Robert W. Hindman, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a Leopoldville survivor. The following is an excerpt from his Eulogy. He died, on January 7, 2014, after a long bout with dementia, but I grew up with a plethora of interesting WWII bedtime stories. Thank you, Mr. Andrade, for telling this story in such an interesting manner and for your interest.
. . .He [Robert Hindman] was part of that rapidly-diminishing group of World War II veterans who unconditionally-served their country. As a catharsis, he shared child-appropriate versions of military stories with me at bedtime. To this day, I don’t know fairy tales, but can readily describe life after midnight creeping behind hedgerows in enemy territory and developed a vibrant picture of life in post-World War II Marseille, France and Vienna, Austria. I visited both cities, but discovered romantic recollections through my Dad’s filter of World War II did not match present-day realities.
Dad told me the horror and cold of being on the sinking Troopship Leopoldville in the English Channel on Christmas Eve after it was torpedoed by a German submarine. He credits being seasick and staying above-deck as God strategically-guiding him. He had other encounters, during World War II, that resulted in him being awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star; honors that were also awarded to his sister, Ruth Hindman Balch. His military service with the Army’s Black Panther unit and tales of recognizance missions behind German lines at night was a great source of pride and his exploits and pictures are included in a Black Panther book by William Maynard. Craig and I were so honored to accompany Dad to the World War II Memorial Dedication in Washington, D.C.. . . .