When Sevens Weren't Lucky

By Father Patrick W. Kemp

one of the crew members of the LST-528

My navy assignments were the navy's choice, not mine. When I was undergoing training at New Orleans in 1943, I made the only duty-related request of my service time, and it was made in prayer. A number of submarines came in to put provisions aboard before leaving for the war zone. I thought to myself, "Oh, dear God, I don't want to go in one of those things." That prayer was answered when somebody told me, "Don't worry. If you don't volunteer, you don't go." I said, "Thank God for that." Little did I realize what lay ahead above the surface.

Soon I was sent to Little Creek, Virginia, for amphibious warfare training. After that, at New York, I joined the crew of LCT-.'528, a brand-new tank lighter. At two hundred tons and only 187 feet long, the landing craft was not designed to cross the ocean on its own. So it was hoisted onto the deck of an LST for the trip. The LST had some mechanical problem and thus missed two convoys before finally joining a group of ships at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the trip across the Atlantic.

The LCT had a dozen men in the crew; we rode as passengers in the ship while our landing craft was up on deck. Our skipper was Lieutenant j.g.) Allen Crowther, a very lovely man who had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He and his brother came from a family of means in West Virginia; I'll tell you more about his brother later. We got to Britain in late November or early December to begin training for the cross-Channel invasion.

(read the complete account by clicking HERE)

Originally published in Assault on Normandy, First Person Accounts from the Sea Services, edited by Paul Stillwell, published by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1994

republished here with permission of the author and publisher.

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