Walters, Eugene Weaver

Eugene Weaver Walters
Born: July 20, 1920
Hometown: Brownsville, PA
Class: 1944
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Deck Cadet
Date / Place of death: January 9, 1943 / North Atlantic,
56-15 N, 22-00 W
Date / Place of burial: January 9, 1943 / North Atlantic,
56-15 N, 22-00 W – Lost at Sea
Age: 25

 

 

Eugene Walters signed on aboard the SS Louise Lykes as Deck Cadet on October 18,
1942 at New York, NY. He was joined by three other Kings Point Cadet-Midshipmen,
Charles Gassner (Deck), Allen Miller (Deck) and Robert Vancure (Engine). In addition,
the ship’s Third Assistant Engineer, Frederick Baumann and Third Mate, Harry Wolfe,
were former U.S. Maritime Commission Cadet Officers. The Louise Lykes made one
voyage to the Mediterranean and returned to New York on December 12, 1942. A fifth
Cadet-Midshipman, Marion Chrobak (Engine) joined the ship for its next voyage. The
ship sailed on January 2, 1943 loaded with general cargo and ammunition bound for
Belfast, Northern Ireland. For unknown reasons the ship did not sail in a convoy and
was not escorted. On January 9, 1943 the ship was in mid-Atlantic several hundred
miles south of Iceland.

On the evening of January 9, 1943, U-384 located the solitary ship and fired four
torpedoes while surfaced. Two torpedoes hit the ship which, according to German
Navy records, disintegrated in a massive explosion. The captain of the U-384 reported
that he had to submerge the submarine to prevent damage from falling debris. When
the submarine re-surfaced 5 minutes later there was no sign of the ship or its crew.
There were no other witnesses to the disaster, and there were no survivors among the
50 merchant crew, 34 Naval Armed Guard, and 10 U.S. Army personnel aboard,
including the five Cadet-Midshipmen and two Cadet Officers. This was the single
deadliest sinking in the Academy’s history.

Cadet-Midshipman Eugene Walters was posthumously awarded the Mariners Medal,
Combat Bar with star, Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential
Testimonial Letter.

Eugene Walters was the eldest of Theophilus D. Walters and Hazel W. Walters’ three children. The younger Walters were Dan (seven years younger) and Nancy (twelve years younger). His father, who went by “T. D.”, was the manager of an A&P grocery store in Brownsville, where Eugene also worked as a clerk. A good student, Eugene enjoyed relaxing after school with his dog, Rex. After graduating from Brownsville High School, Eugene attended Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania for two years. He then accepted a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. In Washington, Walters continued his education with evening classes at George Washington University, before enrolling at the Merchant Marine Academy. Eugene’s
sister Nancy said of Eugene that,

“Patriotic service of this country was always foremost in his mind!”

Photos of Eugene (back) with Sister Nancy and Brother Dan; at High School Graduation;with Sister Nancy, Brother Dan, Father & Eugene (right)

Photo of SS Louise Lykes

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