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My Uncle Henry Nigbor was with your Uncle Billy. They perished together as members of Company F. We also never received an official explanation of Henry’s death. His mother Belle never gave up hope he would return. She watched the TV programs with WW II vets who had amnesia, hoping Henry would be there. Growing up my father knew his brother was on the Leopoldville. I do not know how he found that out. Maybe because he was already in France with the First Army.
At the time of 50th Anniversary of WW II, I talked to a survivor who told me that Company F was in the hold where the torpedo struck the ship. Later in 2006, I talked to SGT Walter Brown at the Arlington National Cemetery commemoration ceremony. Walter was in Company F and survived because he went to the head a minute before the explosion. He believed that the men in the hold could not survive the explosion.
I created this website with the help of my son Peter and Allan Andrade because the lost soldiers and their families deserved better treatment. We believe there are hundreds of families that still never got the true story about their lost soldier. We hope they find this website.
Your Father was certainly very brave and willing to risk his life to save the soldiers in the water.
At the 60th Anniversary Commemoration in Arlington National Cemetery, one survivor commented that, when he was in the water, he was more frightened than cold. He was wearing his winter underwear and speculated that soldiers who were not wearing their winter underwear would experience the effects of the cold water sooner. There is no way to know if this played a part in your father’s situation.
The inspiration for this website came from the professor and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. He was the commencement speaker at the 1971 graduation ceremony at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In his speech that day, he said that in the future we would not need to travel to see the sights. One wall in your house will be a large screen that can take you anywhere you want to go.
The challenge with memorials is that they are wonderful and in historic locations, but they are not easily seen by the public. The goal of leopoldville.org is to bring the sights and information to the families of the victims, survivors, and the interested public using the modern technology available today.
We want express our appreciation to:
Allan Andrade the dedicated historian/author of the book “Leopoldville:A Tragedy Too Long Secret” for supplying much of our content.
Peter Nigbor webmaster and great-nephew of victim Pvt. Henry Nigbor.
Justin M. Batt, archivist, at the National Infantry Museum provided the photographs of the Leopoldville Memorial at Ft. Benning, GA.
Laura Coldewey, Graphic Designer, Sunray Graphics & Print Co did the poster design and printing.
John Rattle, our professional photographer in France, accepted a difficult task of photographing the “Wall of the Missing” with great results.
I want to thank all the contributors.