S1 Ralph Hardwick

S1 Ralph Hardwick

Birth
Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky, USA
Death 2 Jul 1944 (aged 20)
At Sea
Burial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Tablets Of The Missing ~ Navy
Memorial ID 56779248 · View Source
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Having actually gone "Missing" on the above date, he was not officially declared by the military as being dead until July 3, 1945, 1 year and 1 day after he went missing as was the custom.

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Ralph served as a Seaman First Class and Armed Guard, S.S. Jean Nicolet, U.S. Navy during World War II.

He resided in St. Louis, Missouri prior to the war.

The S.S. Jean Nicolet, a Liberty ship built in Portland, Oregon, in October 1943, was operated for the War Shipping Administration by the Oliver J. Olson Company of San Francisco and under the command of " Captain David Martin Nilsson " of Oakland, California.

The S.S. Jean Nicolet departed from San Pedro, California, on May 12, 1944 enroute to Colombo, Ceylon. She first made one stop in Fremantle, Australia and then departed from there on June 21, 1944 to continue on to Ceylon.

On board was a complement of 100 men consisting of 41 merchant crew, 28 Naval Armed Guard, and 31 passengers. The passenger list was made up of six U.S. Army officers, 12 U.S. Army enlisted men, eight Navy technicians, four civilians, and one U.S. Army medical corpsman.

Approximately 700 miles south of Ceylon she was struck by two torpedoes fired from the Japanese submarine I-8. Because of the ship's listing the Master (Captain), David Martin Nilsson, ordered everyone to "abandon ship" which it is believed everyone did safely.

Japanese submarine I-8 surfaced and called to all of the survivors to come over to their submarine. The majority, but not all, did so. Those that didn't tried to swim away and some of them did indeed survive. Approximately " 75 " of the survivors then boarded the submarine.

Captain Nilsson, Gus Tilden (radio operator), and Francis J. O'Gara (War Shipping Administration representative) were taken to the conning tower and shoved below deck. Of the three only "O'Gara" survived the ordeal.

The crew were held in two different locations ~ some on the fore deck and others on the after deck behind the conning tower of the submarine. Those on the fore deck did not realize that those on the after deck were being "executed" and thrown over board. Many were led, one by one, from the fore deck to the after deck to suffer that fate.

Soon a Liberator aircraft was detected by the submarine's radar and the commander of the submarine decided that he need to submerge. About 30 of the survivors, with their hands tied, were still on deck when the submarine went down into the sea. Some of them survived ... and some didn't.

Ralph was declared "Missing In Action" in this incident during the war.

He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Service # 8729109

( Bio & Family Links by: Russ Pickett )


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  • Maintained by: Russ Pickett
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56779248
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for S1 Ralph Hardwick (19 Aug 1923–2 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56779248, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .