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Remembering World War II
Name: George Bradford Patterson Rank: Lieutenant, Junior Grade Service Number: O-95848 Service: US Navy Armed Guard, SS Mary Luckenbach, US Naval Reserve Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: December 5, 1916 Place of Birth: Morristown, Morris Co., New Jersey Date of Enlistment: March 18, 1941 Place of Enlistment: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Address at Enlistment: Pennsylvania Age at Enlistment: 24 Occupation: College student Marital Status: Single Next of Kin: Rev. Patterson, (Father) Cynwyd, Pennsylvania Date of Death: September 13, 1942 Age: 25 Cemetery: Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Cambridgeshire, England Reference: Tablets of the Missing George Bradford Patterson was the son of Reverend William Christy Patterson (1886-1961) and Dorothy Bradford (Cooper) Patteson (1889-1972). His father was born in Aylesford, Kings Co., Nova Scotia. His mother was born in New York. George had a brother, Philip Cooper Patterson (1916-1988). George’s grandfather was Admiral Philip Henry Cooper (1844-1912) who commanded the American Asiatic Fleet in the Russo-Japanese War, and was superintendent of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, from 1894-1898. George attended St. Andrews School in Middleton, New Castle County, Delaware, graduating in 1935, and was at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1940 prior to registering under Selective Service in the Naval Reserve the summer he graduated on July 24, 1940 (US Naval Reserve Class V-7). He then enlisted in the US Navy March 18, 1941, prior to the US entering WWII in December 1941. He served on the USS Abermarle (AV-5) from March of 1941 until January 30, 1942. The USS Albemarle was one of only two Curtiss-class seaplane tenders built for the United States Navy just prior to the United States' entry into WWII. Transferring from the USS Abermarle, George was then stationed in Norfolk, Virginia from January 30 to February 18, 1942, when he transferred to the Armed Guard Centre in New York on February 19, 1942 for transatlantic duty. By September 1942, George was serving in the US Navy Armed Guard aboard the US merchant navy vessel, the SS Mary Luckenbach. He was lost with all hands on the Mary Luckenbach when it was attacked and sunk in the Arctic Ocean, off the North coast of Norway. When the ship was hit by an aerial torpedo its cargo of TNT exploded. The ship, all of its crew, and its cargo disintegrated. The Mary Luckenbach was part of Convoy PQ 18, a convoy of 40 merchant ships under heavy escort transiting the Barents Sea en route to Murmansk in the Soviet Union. On September 13, 1942 (some sources list September 14), the convoy was west of North Cape, Norway, when Mary Luckenbach was attacked by several German Junkers 88 torpedo bomber aircraft and was hit by an aerial torpedo. The impact of the torpedo detonated the ship's 1000 tonnes of TNT cargo, vaporizing her along with her entire crew of 41 and the 24 personnel of the United States Navy Armed Guard assigned to her. George’s date of death is recorded as a year and one day later, September 14, 1943, on some records, because he was missing in action with no known grave. Without confirmed information to the contrary, a War Department Review Board established the official date of death of those missing as one year and a day from the date on which the individual was placed in missing status. Lieutenant JG George Bradford Patterson is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridgeshire, England. There is also a memorial at the Church of the Messiah Cemetery in Gwynedd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The inscription reads, IN MEMORIAM GEORGE BRADFORD PATTERSON LIEUT. OF USNR BORN DECEMBER 5, 1916 LOST IN ACTION AT SEA SEPTEMBER 14, 1942 [Sept. 13, 1942] Of valiant heart who to your glory came Through fire of conflict and through battle flame
George Bradford Patterson
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Senior class 1940 yearbook photo
Sailor statue, Tablets of the Missing, Cambridge American Cemetery