THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, was on the Channel Island of Jersey this week. As part of his itinerary, he attended a memorial service at Noirmont Point, a memorial paying tribute to 16 American sailors who lost their lives off the coast of Jersey during the Second World War. (See main phot below.)
The sailors who lost their lives were serving on on Patrol Torpedo boats PT 509 and PT 503 when, early in the morning of August 9, 1944, they encountered a German convoy. The battle took place firstly off La Corbiere, and continued on towards Noirmont Point. The PT boat 509, nicknamed the Sassy Sue, was lost. Her sole survivor, John L. Page, becamed a prisoner of war on Jersey after the incident and was only able to tell his story when the island was liberated in 1945. The website navsource.org has a detailed write up of Page's account.
14 men were lost from PT 509, including Lieutenant Harry M. Crist, Lieutenant Junior Grade James M Mathes, Lieutenant Junior Grade John K. Paylis, William S Ausley Gunner’s Mate, 3rd Class, Alfred A Ricci Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, Walter P. Wypick Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, Richard E. Horsfield Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class, Marvin W. Lossin Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class, Kenneth R. Line Ship’s Cook, 3rd Class, Edward C. Thale Quartermaster, 2nd Class, Charles A Kornak Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, Darrel A Bricker Radarman, 3rd Class, Rudolf W. Schaffroth Torpedoman’s Mate, 2nd Class and Tony S. Reynolds Radarman, 3rd Class.
From PT 503, Elmer F. Albright Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class and Boyd W. Brumm Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class were lost.
The visit, which was the Ambassador's first official visit to Jersey, also saw him meet with senior political figures from the Island to improve inter-governmental ties between the US and Jersey.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said “It was a great pleasure to welcome the US Ambassador, Mr Robert Johnson to Jersey. This visit gave us the opportunity to discuss how we can continue to strengthen the links between our Island and the USA.”
Ambassador Johnson added that "It was terrific to come to Jersey, to learn about the Island’s history, and to discuss what we can do to enhance and strengthen our already very special partnership. I’m excited for what the future holds for both of us."
More information on the story of PT509 can be found on the Jersey War Tunnels website, www.jerseywartunnels.com/history-stories/a-daring-raid/