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Remembering World War II
Kenneth Irving LeGay
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Name: Kenneth Irving LeGay Rank: Seaman First Class Service Number: 7620963 Service: SS Sumner I. Kimball United States Naval Reserve Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: 1925 Place of Birth: Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Complexion: Ruddy Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown Marital Status: Single Next of Kin: Mr. and Mrs. Percy LeGay (Parents) Date of Death: January 16, 1944 Age: 18 Cemetery: Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England Grave: Tablets of the Missing Kenneth Irving LeGay was the son of Percy Henry LeGay Sr. (1888–1946) and Delia Edith (Parker) LeGay (1891-1933). His father was born in Mount Pleasant, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, and his mother was born in Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Kenneth had four siblings – Frances Evelyn LeGay (1913- 1987), Dorothy Eleanor LeGay (b. 1916), Percy Henry LeGay Jr. (1918–1944), and Malcolm Herbert LeGay (1922 – 1981). Kenneth registered the US Draft on February 15, 1942, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and was working at the Keystone Silk Mill at the time. Kenneth’s brother Percy Henry LeGay, Jr., also served in the US Navy in WWII (Service No. 8013063). He died October 25, 1944, serving on the USS Johnston when it was lost in the Battle of Samar in the Pacific. He is remembered on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial on O’ahu, Hawaii. Seaman First Class Kenneth Irving LeGay was a member of a US Navy Armed Guard crew that had been assigned to the American steam merchant SS Sumner I. Kimball, a newly-built Liberty ship. He was on board on Jan 8, 1944, as the ship left Loch Ewe, Scotland with convoy ON-219, bound for New York. On the morning of Jan 16th, the steamer straggled from convoy in mid-ocean, probably due to bad weather and heavy seas. That evening, German submarine U-960 spotted the ship about 900 miles east of Belle Isle Strait and began chasing it. After being hit by one torpedo and missed by two others, the ship tried unsuccessfully to ram the U-boat. Two more torpedoes were fired, both hit amidships, but the steamer stayed afloat. An hour later the Sumner I. Kimball broke in two but still did not sink. Although U-960 searched for survivors none were found. Next day, the U-boat found the forward section and sank it. The stern was found by HMS Forester H-74 and it, too, was finally sunk. A distress signal had been received but neither U-960 nor the Forester reported seeing any survivors, lifeboats or rafts. There were 39 Merchant Mariners and 30 US Navy Armed Guards on board; none survived. Kenneth Irving LeGay has no known grave and is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridgeshire, England. He is also remembered on a family grave marker at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.