Ben Bayles

Full Name:  Benjamin Franklin Bayles, Jr.


Date of Birth:  1924


Place of Birth:  Topeka, Kansas


Father and Mother’s Names:   Benjamin Franklin Bayles, Sr. and Lota May (Cooper) Bayles


Service Branch:  Navy


Rank/Specialty:  Seaman Second Class


Service ID:  3426167


Division/Company/Unit info:  Seaman aboard the Steam Tanker Patrick J. Hurley.


Riley Connection:  Enumerated 1930 in Manhattan, Kansas while living at 901 Kearney.  Also, Enumerated 1940 in Manhattan, Kansas living at the same address and listed as working as a drug store clerk.



Date of Death (and Age):  Offially listed as September 14, 1942.  However the sinking reportedly took place on September 13, 1942.  Bayles was only 18 years old.


Place of Death:  Tanker Partrick J. Hurley was sunk carrying 75,000 barrels of high octane gasoline and 60,000 barrels of diesel oil at 22.59N, 46.15W - Grid DQ 6417 northeast of Barbados by Wolfgang Schultze U-512.  The Hurley carried 62 sailors when it sunk, 17 of which were killed.  Bayles and the others who died that day were reported as Missing in Action.  Bayles's body was never recovered. Bayles and others who were listed as MIA were officially declared dead 1 year and 1 day after the Hurley was sunk.


Grave Location:   Body was burried at sea.  Listed on the Tablets of the Missing at East Coast Memorial, Battery Park, New York City, New York.  Locally memorialized in Gold Star Mothers Memorial, Sunset Cemetary, Manhattan, Kansas.


Bio: TBD


Story of Sinking:  At 01.35 hours on 13 Sep, 1942, the unescorted Patrick J. Hurley (Master Carl Stromgren) was attacked with all guns by U-512 about 950 miles northeast of Barbados just when a lookout spotted the U-boat about 150 yards off the starboard bow, running parallel to the ship. The U-boat had missed the tanker with a torpedo during daylight the day before and apparently had a long time to catch the tanker, which was running at 15 knots. The gunfire hit the midships cabins, destroyed the radio antenna, wrecked the lifeboats, destroyed the forward 3in gun (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in, two 50mm and two 20mm guns), damaged the engine room and holed the tanker at the waterline, starting a fire in the cargo. The tanker increased speed to about 17 knots and tried to escape by evasive maneuvres, while the armed guards fired six rounds from the stern gun and the 20mm guns, but to no avail. The U-boat fired about 30 shells, which turned the ship into a flaming inferno within ten minutes and caused her to sink shortly after dawn. The most of the ten officers, 34 crewmen and 18 armed guards on board abandoned ship in two lifeboats and two rafts when she was still under way and later redistributed into the two boats. The master, three officers, nine crewmen and four armed guards were lost. 18 crew members and four armed guards in one lifeboat were picked up seven days after the attack by the Etna in 23°21N/49°40W and landed at New York on 2 October. 13 crew members and ten armed guards in the other lifeboat were picked up on 4 October by the British steam merchant Loch Dee and landed seven days later at Charleston, South Carolina. ***Wolfgang Schultze (U-52) and 50 men from his crew died when the boat was sunk on 2 Oct 1942 north of Cayenne, in position 06.50N, 52.25W, by depth charges from an American B-18 A aircraft (US Army Bomb. Sqdn. 99). There was only 1 survivor.




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