The big push in World War II against the Germans was at a fever pitch. Troops were being transported across the English Channel to replenish the troops at the Battle of the Bulge. Hastily and without proper documentation the 66th Infantry boarded the SS Leopoldville in the middle of the night and headed for Cherbourg France. The Belgium ship was overcrowded, didn't have enough life boats and no safety drills.
On board were over 2,235 soldiers rushing to the front. By the end of the night, over 800 would be dead. Including PFC Joseph P Miscone from North Billerica, Tec4 Ernest D Valle and PFC Russell E Wintle of Lowell, Ma. By the end of the night they would be dead. The US Army refused to tell the American people what happened until 1996. Over 50 years after until the files were released. They were all listed as MIA or KIA with little facts.
One half of the Normandy MIA memorials are those of those that died on the SS Leopoldville. Including our local guys.
We will never forget what sacrifices have been made for us. Rest in peace.
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