1917 (Hungary) – March 26, 1942; 24 or 25 years old; unmarried
Last local address: 92 Winfield Street, East Norwalk
Enlisted September 7, 1937; reenlisted December 27, 1941
Service number: 2072076
USS ATIK (AK-101)
MIA (at sea)
Awarded Purple Heart Medal
William served on the USS Whitney, confirmed by muster rolls June and September 1939, the USS Warrington confirmed by muster rolls March and December 1940, June and October 1941, then assigned to the USS Atik from muster roll, March 5, 1942, and died 3 weeks later when the Atik was sunk on March 27, 1942.
Mission: Q-ship armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks; Ship: American Q-ship USS Atik AK 101; Loss Date: 27-Mar-42
Cargo: Pulpwood as floating cargo; Location: 35.38N, 70.14W – Grid CA 9578 300 miles east of Norfolk; Fate: Sunk by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen); Complement: 141 (141 dead – no survivors)
At 0237 hours on 27 Mar 1942, USS Atik (AK 101) was hit on the port side ahead of the bridge by one G7e torpedo from U-123 about 300 miles east of Norfolk. The ship caught fire where it was hit and settled by the bow with a list to port. When Hardegen observed how the crew abandoned ship on starboard he went closer to finish off the vessel. Waiting for this moment, USS Atik dropped her concealment and opened fire from all weapons including depth charge projectors. The U-boat immediately ran off at utmost speed and was only hit at the bridge by .50 caliber fire which fatally wounded Fähnrich zur See Rudi Holzer. U-123 dived when out of range and approached the Q-ship which did not sink due her floating cargo. At 0429 hours, a coup de grace was fired into the engine room and the ship settled by the bow until the screw was out of the water. The U-boat observed how the crew abandoned ship again and waited nearby for the vessel to sink. At 0550 hours, USS Atik was gone after several heavy detonations, probably the fire had ignited the ammunition aboard and the depth charges went off when the ship sank. About 0800 hours, the Germans buried Holzer at sea in position 35°38’N/70°14’W. After receiving her distress signals USS Noa (DD 343), USS Sagamore (AT 20), her sister ship USS Asterion (AK 100) (LtCdr Legwen, USN) and several aircraft conducted a fruitless search for survivors the next few days, the only signs found were debris and five empty rafts sighted by aircraft at 34°52N/69°58W on 30 March. All hands were lost, either in the explosion when the ship sank or during a gale that hit the area shortly afterwards.