Memorial Stories

Leopoldville Forums Post A Message Memorial Stories

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #405

    Please post any memorial stories in this topic, or create a new topic.


    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 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.
    Don Nigbor


    PFC James E. Hutchens died on December 24, 1944. Earlier, on August 8th of the same year, he married Lois Marie Lindberg.

    Lois passed this year on March 1 and while going through her belongings, we found pictures of James and mom along with their marriage certificate. We also found the locket (shown in the photograph published on this website) worn by my mother.

    This year, December 24, on the 70th anniversary of this tragedy, we will be visiting Cherbourg, France to commemorate the death of James and that of my mother by spreading her ashes near the site. We will also be visiting the Wall of the Missing in Normandy shortly thereafter.

    We only know James through the memorabilia left by our mother, and now, we know so much more of the tragic events due to the efforts by Allan Andrade and now this website. I can’t thank Allan enough for his writings and the knowledge he has shared with me and our family.


    Edward M. Cavalcante
    Company H, Body never recovered.

    I’ll never be the same after seeing our family member on the Wall of the Missing, The pain my great aunt and uncle must have lived with is a heart wrenching thought.


    I think my maternal Uncle Warren “Dutch” Gresham was on the Leopoldville, and he did survive. His sister, my mother, served as a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps Womens’ Reserve and was stationed at Marine Corps HQ during the war. His brother Wayne Gresham was also in the Army.

    My mother told me that he’d been on a troop carrier that had been torpedoed in the North Sea or the English Channel during WW II.

    Just tonight I found a letter my grandmother wrote saying that he’d been on a troop carrier that was torpedoed on Christmas Eve of 1944 and when I did some Googling – I found this site.

    Does anyone know if there still exist ship manifest for the men on board that night? Does anyone know if any combat ribbons or medals were ever awarded for this incident to any of the survivors?

    Thank you for any insight anyone can offer. I may not check back to this forum very often but I can be reached at the e-mail address below.

    Best Regards,

    Kathleen O’Brien Blair
    595 SW Ruby Court
    McMinnville, OR 97128

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.