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Found letter answers 60-year-old questions

Found letter answers 60-year-old questions Found letter answers 60-year-old questions

Childhood memories are often extraordinary. But as the years pass by, they can sometimes become foggy. Such is the case for one of my childhood memories, which has been very vague for 60 years.

From the time I was quite young, I remembered my father telling me a story about when he was in WW2. I recall him saying something to me about seeing a ship being torpedoed while he was at sea. This story has stuck with me all these years, but I have often wondered if my dad really told me the story.

Because of some luck and the kindness of a Dorchester resident, I was finally able to discover the truth. Several weeks ago, Jessica Lueddecke, who lives in my childhood home in Dorchester, sent me a Facebook message.

Jessica told me her family was removing some drywall in my old family home in Dorchester when they made an intriguing discovery. Behind the drywall, they found a letter written to my mother, Agnes Anderson, by my father, Carl Anderson. The letter was dated December 1944. It was written while my father was aboard a transport ship crossing the Atlantic, taking the U.S. Army 66th Infantry Division to Europe.

Because the letter was dated in December and was written aboard a ship, I was able to do some research that solved my unclear childhood memory. The first thing I learned was my father’s ship left New York for England on November 26, 1944.

When the 66th Infantry Division reached England, they were transferred to two transport ships, the Cheshire and the Leopoldville. The ships set off across the English Channel on their way to France, where their role would be to engage the remaining pockets of German soldiers in France.

As they approached the coast of France on Christmas Eve, the Leopoldville was struck by a German submarine and sunk. This resulted in the most significant loss of life on an American troopship in World War 2. Fortunately, my father was aboard the Cheshire, and he reached France safely.

Thanks to Jessica Lueddecke’s kindness in sending me that letter, I am finally able to rest all the years of wondering if I really heard that story from my father. My father died when I was very young. Like most soldiers returning from a war, he spoke very little about his experiences. But now I know for sure that he did tell me the story of the torpedoed ship. And I also know for sure that his story was true.

Ken Anderson, the “Mayberry Guru,” can be reached at and www.themayberryguru. com




A letter dated December 1944