The USS Block Island, part of a hunter-killer group of escort carriers providing cover for convoys moving across the mid-Atlantic, is north-west of the Canary Islands on 29 May 1944. On board were 957 crew, including my grandfathers first cousin John J Schlenker. At 20:13, German U-boat U549 slipped through the screen and fired four torpedoes, three hit the Block Island. John and five other men were killed in the attack.
John was the son of John Joseph Schlenker and Bernice O’Brien. He enlisted just before his 37th birthday in September 1943. John worked as a shipping clerk at the Gonic Manufacturing Company, a woolen mill in Rochester, NH and was married to Myrtle Lamprey. They had no children.
It’s Memorial Day and John is the only person I’m aware of in my tree that died in service after the Civil War. I’d written about the Bowen family in the Civil War before here and here, so I thought I’d remember John and say thank you to him and all the men and women that have paid the ultimate price fighting for our country.
Ancestry.com. U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2011.
Original data: United States Navy. Various U.S. Navy Cruise Books. Navy Department Library, Washington, D.C.
Block Island Photo By US Navy Employee – U.S. National Archives photo #80-G-87149., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6338946