November 26, 2014 at 2:43 am #718
When anyone contacts this web site via e-mail, their message is forwarded to me for review and response.
I have in my research files a copy of the complete Leopoldville army casualty lists prepared on 12/29/1944 and 01/05/1945 provided to me from the National archives. I have been able to refer families who have e-mailed this web site to survivors who were in the same Company and platoon as their loved one and to the Panther Veterans Organization (PVO) which has a periodic newsletter and reunions. I also am able to provide other information from my research files that families did not previously have access too. This web site is giving some measure of peace and comfort to a number of families that for far to long were in the dark concerning the true circumstances of the death of a beloved relative or friend.
I am both honored and proud to be able to be a part of this effort as well as to assist this web site in promoting public awareness of the Leopoldville disaster. The freedoms and liberties which today we take for granted have been bought and paid for by those brave armed forces members who have gone before us. Freedom is not Free!
Leopoldville disaster author/historianJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm #745
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.. . . .March 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm #759
First of all let me say that this website is a wonderful testimony to what occurred so many years ago. My father in law, Gary Lynn Stewart, was the son of PFC Donald Lynn Stewart. Gary was born on October 19th, 1944 so he has no knowledge of his father. This site has helped fill in some of the missing information, and although it’s painful to learn what happened, I think it does give him some comfort.
Does anyone have any information about what specific unit he was a part of, if there are any more pictures of him, or if any of his fellow soldiers survived?
Ray YarnellMarch 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm #864
My father; Bruce E. Ziegler was in 262nd Co I mortar squad and survivor of Leopoldville. His mortar Squad leader Sgt. Ray Richards, was not with unit after the sinking and my father always thought he perished in the disaster. Upon recent visit to the Memorial at Ft. Benning and additional internet research I am not finding his name any where among victims or else where. All else he remembers is believe from Philadelphia or that area possibly NJ or some other close state. Any information is appreciated. Beth Ziegler; proud of my father’s service and thankful for the French Tug that rescued him from the Channel that Christmas Eve.March 5, 2016 at 3:24 pm #865
Good morning Lizzie,
In Ancestry.com I found some information that may relate to the Raymond Richards that you are asking about.
per the 1940’s census there is an 18 year old who lived near Philadelphia.
Name: Raymond Richards
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1922
Marital Status: Single
Relation to Head of House: Son
Home in 1940: Darby, Delaware, Pennsylvania
Map of Home in 1940: View Map
Street: Pine Street
Inferred Residence in 1935: Darby, Delaware, Pennsylvania
Residence in 1935: Same Place
Resident on farm in 1935: No
Sheet Number: 18A
Attended School or College: Yes
Highest Grade Completed: Elementary school, 8th grade
Then in the US Army enlistment records…
Name: Raymond C Richards
Birth Year: 1922
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Pennsylvania
State of Residence: Pennsylvania
County or City: Delaware
Enlistment Date: 3 Nov 1942
Enlistment State: Pennsylvania
Enlistment City: Philadelphia
Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: Grammar school
Civil Occupation: Attendants, filling stations and parking lots
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
But then I saw that the state of PA gave a bonus to a Raymond C Richards who appears to be the same person as the above but on the bonus application listed his dates of domestic service as 11/10/1942 through 5/04/1943. In the section where it asks about his period of overseas service it states ‘None’. So based on that I don’t think this is the correct person.
Do you have anything else that you could add? There is actually a surprising amount of Raymond Richards or Ray Richards…
Ray YarnellMarch 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm #866
Mr. Yarnell, thank you for this information it really does all fit. Not sure when the form for PA bonus would have been completed but the “overseas” service if this is him with the 66th would not have started until Nov of 1944 when they shipped out of NYC to England.
My brother did find in an Alan Alandre book a list that indicated Raymond Richards was aboard the Leopoldville and indicated hospitalized. So thinking maybe did not perish but was injured enough did not rejoin his unit. Is there a method to track beyond the war?
Thank you so much for the information you provided; home location, age etc all match.March 9, 2016 at 3:36 pm #867
Mr. Yarnell: See in the book passenger listing that it is Sgt. Raymond R. Richards. Father says he was drafted at 35 and talked of his wife and two young sons. So appears the one you found is not our man, based on age and middle initial. Thanks and if you find anything more let me know and I will keep you advised if we find anything on our end.August 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm #902
Cousin Edward M. Cavalcante Pfc (McClellandtown, PA) Company H, body never recovered.
Mr. Andrade, your book is incredible. I am stunned to learn all of this so late in my life. My father was 6 when his cousin boarded the Leopldville. He remembers conversations, but never a full story. I can’t imagine my great Aunt Lucy and Uncle Joe not knowing the truth when they died. Please let me know if anyone else has information on Edward. I am visiting Normandy next week, and will be the first in my family to do so. God bless.
October 28, 2016 at 12:24 am #987
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by acavalcante.
Pfc. Bruce E. Ziegler was assigned to Company I, Weapons platoon, 262nd regiment, 66th Infantry Division. He was one of 23 survivors from his platoon and one of 16 survivors from his platoon hospitalized. There were 4 bodies from his platoon recovered and the bodies of 5 from his platoon were never found. His name is listed in my book, Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret, among the list of survivors on page 343.
Leopoldville Disaster Author/HistorianOctober 28, 2016 at 12:42 am #988
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Leopoldville disaster author/historianApril 13, 2017 at 1:13 am #1048
I just found this site, WOW.
I have always been interested in WWII and this ship. I became much more interested when I found out my great uncle, S Sgt Michael Cammarano NY was on it. I don’t know exactly HOW he died, my grandmother couldn’t really speak about her little brother, but I do know that he was recovered and returned to our family.
Thank you to everyone who is involved with this great site and with honoring these men and all our families. Thank you.
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