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PFC Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr. 1923-1944

February 2, 2016

Bill Moomey said this photograph was probably taken when Carl graduated from Army Basic Training.  The location is not stated on the photograph, so it remains a secret.

My bitterness of the loss of this handsome man, my Uncle, galls me today, in 2016.  All of this grief stems from a German submariner’s pulling a trigger to release a torpedo from U-Boat 486, commanded by Uber-Lieutenant Gerhard Meyer.  This on Christmas Eve, 1944.  The U-Boat sat on the bottom outside Cherbourg.  This tactic had been employed often without any success.  Until then.

Carl and many of his fellow soldiers of Company E, the 262nd Regiment of the 66th Panther Division, were trying to sleep deep within the troop ship following an exhausting hike with all of their equipment from Camp Piddlehinton to a railroad station some kilometers distant, thence to the port of Southampton.  There they boarded a ship, the HMS Cheshire.  Wrong ship.  Then they disembarked and waited hours on the pier.  Later, they boarded another ship.  This one was the SS Leopoldville.  December 24, 1944.

As they walked up the gangway, someone was heard to shout, “To hell with this rusted piece of shit!  I’m going to swim to France!”

Another hollered, “This won’t get us where we are going.” Another cried, “But where are we going?”  The answer:  “To the bottom!”

The second wise-ass remark was accurate.  The SS Leopoldville did indeed reach the bottom without ever reaching France.


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