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USS LEOPOLD DE 319

Fireman 1/C Kenneth Jack Johnson was a member of the crew of DE 319. The mission of USS Leopold was to escort convoys to Great Britain and the Mediterranean protecting the ships from German submarines and U-boats.

On March 9, 1944, Leopold was on such a mission and came under attack by German U-255. USS Leopold was the first destroyer escort to be sunk by the German U-255 torpedo, which was one of the German's new munitions and at that time not detectable. After being struck by a torpedo late in the day on March 9th, the ship finally sank early the next morning in the stormy icy waters in 30 to 50 foot seas south of Iceland on March 10, 1944. 171 sailors were killed with only 28 surviving the attack.

Unfortunately the US Navy, US Coast Guard or Department of Transportation did not recognize the USS Leopold and the men with a unit citation, who gave the ultimate sacrifice. F1/C Johnson was killed in action during the attack and lost at sea.

USS Leopold DE 319 Launching

USS Leopold DE 310 at launching, 12 June 1943, just before leaving the ways, Consolidated Steel Corporation, Ltd., Shipbuilding Division, Orange, Texas

Information and photo submitted by Johnson's nephew,
Ronald D. Lowrance, MAJ, USAR, Ret.

Visit the Lowrance web site for more information

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