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Name: Rank: Service No: Service: Awards: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Trade: Height: Complexion: Hair Colour: Eye Colour: Next of Kin: Date of Death: Age at Death: Memorial:
Percy Campbell Forsythe
Percy Campbell Forsythe (Forsyth) Messman Z196897 SS City of Atlanta, US Merchant Navy Mariners’s Medal Gallant Ship Citation Bar Merchant Marine Combat Bar Atlantic War Zone Merchant Navy Bar June 10, 1879 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Seaman/Cook 5 feet, 6 inches Black Black Dark Brown Samuel James Forsythe, Jacksonville, Florida (WWII) January 19, 1942 63 United States Navy Memorial, Washington, District of Columbia Percy Campbell Forsythe is listed on the United States Navy Memorial, Washington, DC Percy Forsythe (Forsyth) was the son of Samuel Forsythe and Amelia Dean Forsythe; an African Canadian born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. In May 1898, he immigrated to the United States arriving in Boston, Massachusetts on the SS Boston from Yarmouth, NS. He resided in New York and in Manhattan, NY, on September 27, 1915, he married Lula Bell Bachelor, who was born in Georgia in 1893. He registered, as was required, for the United States Draft for the First World War at the age of 38 in 1917. At that time, he was living at 323 West 37th Street, New York and employed as a Pantryman with Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah, at Pier 35 in New York. A daughter, Mildred, was born on December 8, 1924, in New York. In the years between WWI and WWII, Percy was employed on various ships, including the SS Cristobal (1923) sailing between New York and Port au Prince, Haiti. In 1927, the family lived at 2496 Eight Ave., New York. When Percy completed his Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen on March 22, 1927, he was working as a porter. Sadly, Lula died November 28, 1928, and was interred December 1, 1928, at the Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County, NY. Percy continued his work as a mariner, serving aboard the Gypsum Prince (1931) from the Port of Windsor, Nova Scotia, and New York. In 1941, Percy was a resident of Savannah, Georgia and living at 561 Indian St, Savannah. A Record of Intention dated July 19, 1941 (US Immigration and Naturalization Service) lists his occupation as Cook and confirms his marital status as a widower. His daughter, Mildred was also living in Savannah, Georgia. The SS City of Atlanta was owned by the Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah. In 1941, Percy Forsythe served as a Messman on the ship. In January 1942, the SS City of Atlanta departed New York heading to Savannah carrying almost 3,000 tons of cargo, mostly food, and a few passengers. On January 19, 1942, the SS City of Atlanta was hit by a torpedo from U-123 about twelve miles south of the Wimble Shoals Buoy and about eight to ten miles off the coast of North Carolina. The City of Atlanta was unescorted and unarmed. The ship sank within ten minutes with the loss of forty-four crew members, including Messman Percy Forsythe. Only three of the crew survived the sinking. The sinking of the City of Atlanta resulted in the largest loss of life among the ships torpedoed off North Carolina's coast during WWII. The Congressional Gold Medal for WWII Merchant Mariners was awarded in 2022 and is displayed at the American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point, New York.