Not too many people know about the sinking of the Leopoldville on Dec. 24, 1944 in the English Channel and the cover-up that followed. I have written about it on my blog before and it is very moving to read some of the comments left on those posts, many of them from the relatives of the survivors or the relatives of the men who died from this ship. http://georgiagirlwithanenglishheart.blogspot.com/2012/01/leopoldville-disaster.html
(There, you should be able to click on that link to see my Leopoldville post.)
Allan Andrade wrote a book, "S.S. Leopoldville Disaster Dec 24, 1944" with lists of all the survivors that he could find.
He later added new material with photographs along with a revised list of the survivors in a book entitled "Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret". I have read these books and I am grateful to Allen Andrade for them both. If you click on this link: http://leopoldville.org/ you will see a list of all the men who died along with drawings by Richard Rockwell, depicting the tragedy.
How did I find out about it? When I worked as a travel agent, one of the army veterans came in to arrange his military reunion and told me that he had survived the sinking of the Leopoldville and that I wouldn't have heard about it because it had been kept top secret for over 50 years. That army vet's name was W. S. Connor. He told me that there was a book about it but somehow, his name was not listed as one of the survivors. The author, Allen Andrade, was kind enough to inform me that Mr. Connor's name was now listed in his second book and I am very grateful that this is so.
"Forgotten by many, remembered by few", that is the quote from Clive Clessler about this tragedy...you may read an article about it here.
In Allen Andrade's introduction to his book, he tells us that in research for a book he was planning to write he found that in one American business, over 700 employees served in the military during World War II. (The Oneida Company). Thirty two of them were killed. One of them, was an orphan who celebrated his 20th birthday on board the Leopoldville on Dec. 1, 1944. He perished in the tragedy. His name was Staff Sergeant Benjamin J. Blaskowski and it is to his memory that this book is dedicated.
|The ship was torpedoed and sank just five miles off the coast of Cherbourg, France.|
There are so many personal stories that Allen Andrade shared and I found them to be so moving that I have found it very difficult to write a post about this book. I am in tears as I write this. Please know that this is a book that I will treasure and one that I think that everyone should read. Like the story about Mr. Louis Zamperini, it is my hope that one day, someone will make a movie about this true story. Allen Andrade was involved in the documentary about the Leopoldville which was on the History Channel here in the USA and there is also a monument to the memory of the men, one here in Georgia and also, one in Florida. I hope to visit both of them one day and when I do, I will show you the photos and will mention the men from the Leopoldville again.
I will never forget them.