Leo E. "Buster" Engelbert

Date of Birth:  July 8, 1918


Place of Birth:  Beloit, Kansas


Father and Mother’s Names:  Leo August Engelbert and Sarah Alvieretta "Alva" (McKnight) Engelbert


Spouse’s Name:  Zelda Anita Anderson


Date Entered Service:  TBD


Service Branch:  Navy Reserves


Rank/Specialty:  Signalman Third Class


Service ID:  TBD


Division/Company/Unit info:  Stationed on (OAG) Gasoline Tanker.


Riley Connection:  Enumerated 1920 in Manhattan, Kansas while living at 1219 Houston St. Enumerated again 1930 in Manhattan, Kansas living at 1314 Fremont St.


Date of Death (and Age):  October 26, 1943 (age 25)


Place of Death:   Lost at sea off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida.


Grave Location:  Body lost at sea off Florida coast, Specifically: Tanker collision, loss not confirmed for 2 1/2 months. No recorded burials.


Bio:  Leo was born in Beloit, KS to Leo and Sarah Engelbert and moved to Voltaire, KS not long after his birth. The family spent a few years in Junction City, KS and by 1940 he and his parents were living in Zeandale, KS and Leo was working at a Sand Pit trench digging. He married Miss Zelda Anita Anderson on June 26, 1943. He left for the next tour of duty in September, 1943.


Signalman third class; U.S.N.R., he lost his life in a collision of tankers off of the Florida coast. He was presumed missing at the time of the accident and confirmed dead early January, 1944. Eighty-eight people were killed by an explosion and fire that happened when two gasoline tanker ships collided off of the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. The two vessels, an empty tanker with 73 people on board and a fully loaded ship with a full load of gasoline and a crew of 43, had been unable to see each other because they were blacked out as a precaution against a submarine attack. There were only 28 survivors, most of whom had been able to jump overboard and swim away from the burning pool of aviation fuel.



The information available for this veteran is incomplete.  We would like to include as much information about all our veterans as possible, so if you or someone you know has any additional information we encourage you to contact us at: peacememorialmanhattan@gmail.com.  Thank you for your support.



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