Leopoldville Troopship Disaster

“The commanders whom [soldiers] admire are not so much those who distribute honors and riches as those who take a share in their hardships and their dangers; they have more affection for those who are willing to join in their work than for those who indulge them in going easy.”

— Plutarch, “Gaius Marius”


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— Michael Franti


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On Christmas Eve 1944, the Belgium troopship Leopoldville, left the pier at Southampton, England with over 2,000 American soldiers assigned to the 66th Infantry Division and crossed the English Channel to France. Just 5 1/2 miles from its destination, Cherbourg, the Leopoldville was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-486. There were 763 American soldiers killed and the bodies of 493 were never recovered from the Channel’s frigid 48 degree waters. This site is dedicated to remembering and honoring the sacrifice of those who died in the disaster and the valor of those who survived.


The above is in Ft. Benning, Georgia

S.S. Leopoldville Tragedy Memorial – April 25, 2015 at 11:00am

I am so excited to share this with you!! Mr. Negrey is 93+ years old and with the help of author, Mark Cubbedge, Mr. Negrey will be coming down to Titusville’s Veteran’s Park at 11:00 am to see the monument of his ship the S.S. Leopoldville. As you have or will read, 763 men were lost on the Leopoldville on Christmas Eve 1944 by U-Boat 486.

George Cipolletti, the original Flag and Memorial Chairman, was on this ship as well. It is through his efforts, money and assertiveness that we have this beautiful monument in our Circle of Honor in Veteran’s Park. Mr. Cipolletti has passed but his wife and family will be in attendance.

Please share this with any/all folks you think may be interested. Our WWII Veteran’s are becoming fewer and fewer. Statistics show we are losing WWII Veterans at a rate of 493 everyday.

I am so honored to be a part of this event! I hope we have a great big showing for Mr. Negrey this Saturday. Please come down a help us honor him.

Barbara Kauffman McGillicuddy
Flag and Memorial Committee, Chair
City of Titusville

Monument dedicated January 30, 2005

Christmas 2004 is the 60th anniversary of the torpedoing of the Leopoldville. The ship and the division she was transporting was sunk off the coast of Cherbourg France while on the way to relieve the troops at the battle of Bastogne.

History RevisitedOn Christmas eve, 1944, the S.S. Leopoldville made her final crossing of the English Channel. The Belgian passenger liner was converted into a troopship and carried 2,235 men from the 262nd and 264th Regiments who were known as the 66th Infantry Division. The men were headed to Cherbourg from Southampton to serve as reinforcement in the Battle of the Bulge. Within five and a half miles from shore, the Leopoldville was struck by a torpedo fired by U-boat 486. Two and a half hours later, the S.S. Leopoldville sank.By the end of that night, 763 soldiers were dead. Many of those killed were only 18 to 21 years old and 493 bodies were never recovered.

The ship’s clock showed 10 minutes to 6, Christmas eve. Panthermen were about to get their first taste of war. The enemy torpedo struck…

The Leopoldville disaster was the worst tragedy to ever befall an American Infantry Division as a result of an enemy submarine attack.

The above memorial is in Titusville, Florida.