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LCDR Benjamin Bogdan

LCDR Benjamin Bogdan

Death 30 Aug 1942
At Sea
Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Plot Tablets of the missing
Memorial ID 56119495 · View Source
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Captain Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Bogdan KIA Buried at Sea
Hometown: New York
Service # 0-090392
Awards: Purple Heart

Ship: West Lashaway Steam merchant
Mission: Freighter
Mission Date: 30-Aug-42
Cargo: 7670 tons of tin, copper, cocoa beans and palm oil
Location: 375 miles east of Trinidad
Fate: Sunk by U-66 (Friedrich Markworth)
Complement: 56 (38 dead and 18 survivors).

The web site lists Bogdan as a Merchant Marine master, ABMC lists him as Navy Lt. Commandeer.

Notes on event
On the night of 30 August 1942, West Lashaway was struck on the starboard side at around 2:30 pm by two torpedoes fired from U-66.
At 19.30 hours on 30 Aug, 1942, while returning to the United States from Matadi Congo the unescorted West Lashaway, with nine civilian passengers and a cargo of 7,670 tons of tin, copper, cocoa beans and palm oil, was hit on the starboard side by two torpedoes from U-66 while steaming on a zigzag course at 7 knots about 375 miles east of Trinidad. The first torpedo was spotted by a lookout but the evasive turn to port came too late and it struck amidships forward of the fire room, followed by the second torpedo nearby. The explosions blew off the #3 hatch, destroyed the engine room and the bridge area and flooded the ship so rapidly that she rolled to starboard and sank within one minute. Fortunately, equipped with a number of prepared wooden rafts which floated free when the ship went down, allowing the survivors to board them. The ten officers, 28 crewmen, nine armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and two .30cal guns) and nine passengers (including two missionary families) jumped overboard and swam to the rafts because they had no time to launch the lifeboats.

Survivors' ordeal
Shortly after the sinking, U-66 surfaced and briefly opened fire with small arms, but soon departed, leaving a total of 42 survivors on four rafts from the ship's original complement of 56. The rafts stayed together for the first few days, but then two became separated in heavy weather and were never seen again. The remaining two, which had been lashed together, later decided to separate in hopes of increasing their chances of being found.
One of these rafts contained 19 survivors, including the ship's captain, 11 crew, two armed guards, and five of the ship's original nine passengers including a missionary's wife, Mrs Bell, and her two children aged 13 and 11, and two children from another family. The captain and one of the armed guards died within the first few days and were buried at sea, leaving a total of seventeen. The occupants of this raft initially assumed they would be rescued quickly, but two weeks went by until even with strict rationing they were running low on food and water. The raft was spotted and supplied by an aircraft on 13 September, but the next day a destroyer (possibly USS Barney (DD 149)) passed the raft twice without locating them. On 18 September, the raft was sighted by three aircraft that escorted a small convoy of four ships and HMS Vimy (D 33) (LtCdr H.G.D. de Chair, RN) was sent to investigate it.
After nineteen days on the open sea, they were rescued by the destroyer HMS Vimy (D33. The destroyer thought that it was a disguised U-boat and opened fire, fortunately missing with 16 rounds and immediately stopped fire after the sail was cut down. One officer, ten crewmen, one armed guard and five passengers (one woman and four children) were picked up by the escort, transferred to the Dutch steam merchant Prins William Van Oranje and landed at Barbados. One of the children, Robert Bell, would later write a book, In Peril on the Sea: A Personal Remembrance, about the ordeal.

25 days after the sinking of West Lashaway, the raft which had been cut loose washed up on the island of St. Vincent, with the body of Gunner's Mate 3/C Dalton Munn, and the sole survivor of this group, boatswain Elliott Gurnee. A West Indian fisherman towed the raft into Old Sandy Bay on St. Vincent. The other survivors on the remaining two rafts were never seen again.

USN Personnel associated with West Lashaway
Robert Lee Acord
Andrew Clyde Adams
Ansley Legare Alsbrooks
William Madison Arnold
Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Bogdan
William Louis Britt
Guy Rex Bulloch Jr.
Thomas Ernest Caddigan
Earl Louis Koonz
Dalton Leslie Munn

Merchant Marine
Viggo Svenning Valdemar Andersen (Danish)
Eugenio Arangote
Ernest S. Ashley
Ethel G. Bell (Civilian. Canadian)
Mary Ruth Bell (Civilian. Canadian)
Robert William Bell (Civilian. Canadian)
Harald Magnus Bjørkmann (Norwegian)
Benjamin Bogdan
Erwin A. Bousman
Michael J. Byrnes
Jacinto Fernandez
Frank S. Flavor
Frank S. Flavor
Elliott Gurney
Lars P. Jelle
Roberto F. Jimenez
Axel Anton Johnson
Sam Kaplan
Knut E. Larson
Andrew C. Liskay
George Marano
John W. Max
Elmer L. McCredie
Robert McDaniel
Isabelino Pacheco
Pearson, (Civilian. Canadian)
James Peifer
Woodman Ray Potter
Victor M. Rega
C.J. Rosibrosiris
Emanuel Schlager
Servior Seramos
Carol Shaw Civilian
Georgia Shaw Civilian
Harvey Shaw Civilian
Richard Shaw Civilian
Vera Shaw Civilian
Frank S. Stone
Charles W. Taylor
Gerald S. Thomas
Harold Scales Van Cott
John Vargas
Louis G. Vega
Herman Voilmuth
Alton B. Walker
Levi Walker
Dudley S. Wiltshire

Gravesite Details Entered the service from New York.




  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56119495
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LCDR Benjamin Bogdan (unknown–30 Aug 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56119495, citing East Coast Memorial, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .