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I find Carl Bonde’s WW II Army Buddies

February 19, 2013

I searched the internet frequently in 2005 until I found Allan Andrade, author of several books about the SS Leopoldville.  We exchanged email and a few telephone calls.

 

(Note that I use my spouse’s email account):

 

—– Original Message —–

From: PENNY STRUCKMAN

To: agandrade37@msn.com

Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:10 PM

Subject: SS LEOPOLDVILLE

 

Sir,

 

My uncle, PFC Carl Ralph Bonde Jr., Co E, 262nd Inf Regiment, was probably

killed instantly by the torpedo, I am told.  Bonde was the only boy in my

mother’s family, so I heard much about him while growing up, and I played

with his belongings at my grand parents.  He died 5 years before I was born,

but I feel close to him anyhow.

 

I want to visit the site of the SS Leopoldville sinking near Cherborg and

deliver to my uncle’s body some soil from his Kalispell, Montana, home.  I

got permission to collect the dirt from a 10-year-old boy who must have

thought I was crazy, especially when I started to cry while trying to

explain.

 

If I can find anyone willing, I would really like to meet and speak with or

write to a survivor from the Leopoldville sinking.

 

Thanks for lifting up these people.  It was war, after all, and we know what

happens!  However, I don’t want any one from the Leopoldville to be

forgotten!

 

Sincerely,

 

Dan Struckman

215 Burlington Ave

Billings, MT 59101   406-256-3588

 

 

From:

Allan Andrade (agandrade37@msn.com)

Sent:

Thu 11/10/05 5:22 PM

To:

PENNY STRUCKMAN (pstruckman@hotmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Hi,

Your uncle, Pfc. Carl R. Bonde Jr., serial #39616683, was assigned to Co. E, Weapons platoon, 262nd Regiment, 66th Infantry Division. There were 10 survivors from his platoon of which 3 were hospitalized. No bodies from Weapons platoon were recovered. Your uncle’s body was among the 23 from his platoon never found. They were quartered near where the torpedo struck the ship. Stats are from my copy of National archive official army Leopoldville casualty list prepared on 12/29/1944.

 

I have been in touch with most of the survivors from his platoon. Unfortunately, a number of them have passed away including the 2 Lieutenants from his platoon who I were in contact with. I will need some time to phone the numbers I have for the others to see if my numbers are still correct & they are alive.  

 

I will also need time to check the boat charter I knew in England that takes charters to the wreck site.

 

There is a Leopoldville Memorial Association (LMA). They will have a reunion of survivors & relatives of soldiers killed at the Holiday Inn in Harrisburg, PA from 10/12-10/15/2006. You & your family would be welcomed to attend. I am the LMA’s historian.

 

Have you visited my web site? http://www.msnusers.com/ssleopoldville I would welcome a photo of your uncle, if available, which I will post on the site In Memoriam page. Also any info about him you can provide for my research files.

 

If interested, I have just published a picture book about the disaster.  You can view the cover & selected pages from the galley proofs on my “pictures page”.

 

In Meantime, suggest you contact the following survivors who I know will be happy to speak with you.

 

Jack C. Randles, Fallston, MD #410-879-8403

Vincent Codianni Waterbury, CT #203-754-5360

Walter T. Brown Lynn, MA #781-593-0627  (Sgt. Brown was assigned to Co. F, 262 Regiment which was quartered where the torpedo struck the ship. Of 175 men assigned to Co. F, Walter was one of only 19 survivors.)

 

Please e-mail me again.

 

Allan Andrade

Leopoldville Disaster Author/Historian

 

—– Original Message —–

From: PENNY STRUCKMAN

To: agandrade37@msn.com

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 12:55 PM

Subject: Re: SS LEOPOLDVILLE

 

Mr. Andrade,

 

I will always be grateful to you.  I phoned Mr. Bill Moomey immediately and

had a good talk with him.  Happy Veteran’s day.  Of coincidence, I am on my

way to the funeral of a soldier who served on the honor guard which

dedicated the cemetery in France with the Wall of the Missing.  I hope to

participate in some get togethers with the survivors and family of the 66th

Division.

 

I will contact the 4 other boys and 1 neice of Carl R. Bonde and I know they

will be greatly pleased.

 

Sincerely,

 

Daniel Struckman, nephew of Carl Ralph Bonde Jr.

 

Hi,

Glad I could help.

Suggest you contact Jane Ferentzi-Sheppard in England who lives near former base where 66th Division stayed while stationed there. Recently 800 trees were planted on the site as a living memorial to the soldiers of the 66th who were killed. When you make your trip to Europe to scatter the dirt from your uncle’s home ground on the waters over the wreck site, I know she would be a great resource in planning your trip & meeting with you during your stay in England.

Also suggest you contact Bertrand Sciboz who is a French research diver who has dived the Leopoldville wreck.  I know he would want to meet you & could help you in getting a charter boat to take you to the wreck site.

 

Allan Andrade

 

 

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