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Remembering World War II
Percy Henry LeGay, Jr.
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Name: Percy Henry LeGay Jr. Rank: Machinist’s Mate First Class Service Number: 8013063 Service: USS Johnston (DD-557), United States Navy Awards: Purple Heart Date of Birth: August 7, 1918 Place of Birth: Norwood, Norfolk County, Massachusetts Date of Enlistment: Jan 25, 1943 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Address at Enlistment: Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 24 Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Complexion: Ruddy Hair Color: Black Eye Color: Hazel Marital Status: Married Date of Death: October 25, 1944 Age: 26 Cemetery: Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines Grave: Walls of the Missing Percy Henry LeGay Jr. 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. Percy had four siblings – Frances Evelyn LeGay (1913-1987), Dorothy Eleanor LeGay (b. 1916), Malcolm Herbert LeGay (1922 – 1981), and Kenneth Irving LeGay (1925–1944). Percy married Helena Claire Walsh in Walpole, Massachusetts in 1939. He registered for the US Draft on October 16, 1940, in Norwood, while working at Morse Lumber Company at the time. Percy and Helena had a daughter born November 1, 1940. Percy’s brother Kenneth Irving LeGay also served in the US Navy in WWII (Service No.7620963). He died January 16, 1944, serving on the SS Sumner I. Kimball when it was torpedoed by U-boat U-960 and lost in the Atlantic. He is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridgeshire, England. Percy enlisted in the US Navy in January 1943, and go on to be assigned to the USS Johnston, a Fletcher-class destroyer, appearing on the ships muster rolls in October 1943 until the time of his death in 1944. Machinist’s Mate First Class Percy Henry LeGay Jr. died in the Philippines during the Battle of Samar in October 1944. On October 25, 1944, while assigned as part of the escort to six escort carriers, Johnston, two other Fletcher-class destroyers, and four destroyer escorts were engaged by a large Imperial Japanese Navy flotilla. In what became known as the Battle off Samar, Johnston and the other escort ships charged the Japanese ships to protect nearby US carriers and transport craft. After engaging several Japanese capital ships and a destroyer squadron, Johnston was sunk with 187 dead. Percy Henry LeGay has no known grave and is remembered on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines. He is also remembered on a family grave marker at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The wreck of USS Johnson was discovered on October 30, 2019 but was not properly identified until March 2021. Lying more than 20,000 feet (6,100 m) below the surface of the ocean, it was the deepest shipwreck ever surveyed until the discovery of USS Samuel B. Roberts on June 22, 2022.