29 March 2017
Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out April 2017
This week in 1943, the PC 552 docked in Tompkinsville, New York after completing a convoy run from Cuba to New York. What did you do this week?
High above Tompkinsville, the northern base of the PC 552, lived a man who had an excellent relationship with his neighbors. Ernest Frederick Lehmitz lived on Oxford Place at the top of the hill. He was known for his wonderful victory garden and served as the neighborhood air raid warden, where he performed flawlessly. He was the kind of neighbor anyone would want.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lehmitz was also a German spy. He prowled the waterfront, drinking with sailors and gathering information. He wrote typewritten letters to a friend in Spain which gushed about his progress with his victory garden. In between the lines, with invisible ink, he reported on the comings and goings of the navy ships. He probably reported on the PC 552 itself from the top of the hill.
He plea bargained for a thirty-year sentence instead of the electric chair his behavior warranted.
This week in 1943, we leave the crew of the PC 552 shaking its collective heads at the Tompkinsville spy.
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