Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost Purple Heart Is Found-- Part 1: Battle of the Atlantic

From the 4-24-13, Jacksonville (NC) Daily News "recently discovered Purple Heart belonged to New Bern man lost in WW II" by Julian March.

Nearly 70 years after Clude Ballenger's ship was sunk in the North Atlantic, a Wilmington mother, Sylvia Jabaley, doing spring cleaning found his Purple Heart medal.  Her husband had found it in 1998 in the belongings left by renters at a house he owned at the corner of Wrightsville Avenue and Audubon Boulevard.

Inscribed on the back was name and rank "Clyde E. Ballenger, boatswain's mate second class USCG."  He did an internet search, but found no family that could be confirmed.

Some 73,000 Americans never returned home from the war.  Clyde Ballenger was one of them.  He was on the USS Leopold when it was sunk 400 miles south of Iceland March 9, 1944.  The Leopold was one of 30 destroyer escorts built in 1943 by the Navy and manned by Coast Guard crews for Atlantic convoy duty.

In the winter of 1944, after two weeks of training off the coast of Maine, the Leopold escorted a 27-ship convoy across the North Atlantic.  On March 9th, they made contact with a German U-boat and the Leopold and USS Joyce attacked.  The submarine managed to dive and then shortly after, the Leopold was hit by a torpedo.

Mighty Cold Water Out there in the North Atlantic.  --GreGen

No comments:

Post a Comment