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Chester County Press

Landenberg author to lecture at presidential library

09/08/2015 02:04PM ● By Richard Gaw

Courtesy art Landenberg author and historian Allan Andrade will be giving four presentations in Texas later this month, as part of his research on the sinking of the Leopoldville troopship during World War II.

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

On Dec. 24, 1944, 501-foot-long Belgian troopship named the Leopoldville left a pier in Southampton, England at the height of the Second World War. It contained more than 2,000 American soldiers who belonged to the 66th Infantry Division, who were about to be transported across the English Channel to their next destination in Cherbourg, France.

Just five-and-a-half miles from landing, the troopship was torpedoed by the German submarine, U-486. In the course of that bitter cold night, the Leopoldville slowly disappeared into the 48-degree Channel waters.

In all, 763 American soldiers died, and the bodies of 493 American soldiers were never recovered. All told, every state in the nation lost at least one soldier, except Delaware and Wyoming. In total, 74 soldiers from Pennsylvania perished in the disaster, including ten from Philadelphia.

This story, which as considered "classified" until 1959, would probably have never fully been told in full detail, were it not for Landenberg resident Allan Andrade.

After years of exhaustive research and writing, Andrade published "Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret," published in 1997, that featured illustrations by Richard Rockwell, the nephew of artist Norman Rockwell. The book was revised in 2001, updated to include two new chapters and was republished in 2008. It is generally considered the definitive document of the disaster, written through the hundreds of personal stories the survivors and families of the deceased told Andrade.

Later this month, Andrade will be able to tell that story again.

In association with – a website devoted to the history of the troopship disaster – Andrade will be making a four-stop lecture tour of Texas, which will include a presentation at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum in College Station, Texas on Sept. 22.

Andrade will extend his tour on Sept. 23, with an appearance at the HEARTS Veterans Museum in Huntsville, and complete his tour on Sept. 24, with presentations at the Houston Maritime Museum in Houston, and the Brazoria County Historical Museum in Angleton.

For more information about the Leopoldville disaster, visit Andrade's book "Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long secret" is available on

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected].