Bio: Staszak, Albert George (Survivor – 1941)
----Source: Staszak Family Memoirs Collection by Agnes Staszak Schanen
Staszak, Albert George (Survivor –1941)
Following are various newspaper accounts of the survival of Staszak with the Merchant Marine in World War II -
From La Crosse Tribune: Albert Staszak, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Staszak, of Hatfield, near Merrillan, was a member of the Cities Service Empire tanker who escaped uninjured when the vessel was torpedoed in Atlantic waters recently. He was brought ashore at Fort Pierce, Fla., authorities said. Prior to his assuming a position on the ship he attended a cooking school at Gallup Island where bakers and chefs for Uncle Sam’s Merchant Marine ships are trained.
Black River Falls Man Survives Sinking – West Palm Beach, Fla.
Albert Staszak, of Black River Falls, Wis., was one of five uninjured survivors of the torpedoed tanker Cities Service Empire who were brought ashore at Fort Pierce, authorities said last night. Staszak was listed as a galley boy.
Miss Agnes Staszak, a WPA worker in the courthouse at Black River Falls, was elated today when informed by The Tribune of an Associated Press dispatch stating that her brother Albert had survived the torpedoing of the tanker Cities Service Empire.
Albert, 21, is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Staszak, who live on a farm near Merrillan. He attended Merrillan High School one year and was graduated from Black River Falls High School. He had been on the tanker since Dec. 11, according to his sister. She said the last word had been received from him about a week ago.
Albert Staszak on Torpedoed Tanker –
Albert Staszak, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Staszak, of Hatfield, was one of five uninjured survivors on the S. S. Empire, torpedoed by an enemy submarine off the Atlantic coast. Seven men, including the captain, were killed; four reported missing and 29 survivors from the flaming wreckage of the vessel were brought to Fort Pierce, Florida, according to newspaper accounts. Albert’s family had been sick with anxiety since learning of the fate of the Empire, on which they knew he was sailing.
He was promoted to second class cook February 1st, and had returned to New York December 4th where his boat was supposed to have gone into dry dock for six weeks. His family was surprised to have a card from him last week from Fort Arthur, Texas. Miss Agnes Staszak, who works in the courthouse, is a sister of Albert and is pretty happy today when word comes through that he is one of the few uninjured.
Another account of the incident:
Albert Staszak, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Staszak, of Merrillan, has been in the Merchant Marine since Dec. 4th, 1941, three days before Pearl Harbor disaster. He has had a world of experience besides going to cook’s school and learning to be a first class ship’s cook. He had his ship blown out from under him and was saved after floating in burning oil. The boat he was on took part in the D-Day invasion of France and his boat was hit by a small bomb but no special damage was done. He has not been home since deer hunting season of 1943 until now, in spite of the fact that he would have loved to have been here for the season this year. He has a 30-day leave, part of which was spent before he arrived home. He came from Charleston, S.C., and will return to New Jersey. It was his first Christmas at home in four years. No small part of the pleasure of being there was the presence of his sister, Miss Agnes who is spending a week here on a transfer from the U. S. Army Engineers office in Eau Clarie to Milwaukee, and Miss Mary, who returned Tuesday to Chicago where she worked in the Dodge plant building B-29 engines. The Staszak home has been a happy place while they were home.
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