October 2, 1916 (Norwalk, CT) – March 26, 1942; 25 years old
Engaged to Irene E. Domonkos (1922-1995) of 15 Lincoln Avenue in Norwalk, December 17, 1941; she never married.
Last local address: 92 Winfield Street, East Norwalk
Enlisted September 7, 1937; reenlisted December 27, 1941
Service number: 2072076
USS Atik (AK-101)
Parents are Hungarian-born Stephen G. (1885-1977) and Erzsebet “Elizabeth” Redele Czinky (1895-1990). Brother Stephen (1913-?).
Awarded Purple Heart Medal.
From the Connecticut Military Portrait Collection, Connecticut State Library, Identifier: PG570; used with permission
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.
From The Norwalk Hour May 9, 1942
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Czinky of 92 Winfield Street yesterday received word from the War Department that their son, William Joseph, was “missing in action.” Czinky had been in the U.S. Navy about four years and was home a few weeks ago on a furlough. The missing sailor attended the Norwalk High School and was graduated from the Bridgeport Trade School, Class of 1935. A machinist by trade, he was employed several years ago, before enlisting in the Navy, at the Hat Corporation of America. Mr. and Mrs. Czinky, also employees of the Hat Corporation, were at work yesterday when they received the telegram from the War Department. Czinky was engaged to Miss Irene Elizabeth Domonkos, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Domonkos, of 15 Lincoln Avenue. The engagement was announced last December 17 and they were to wed soon.
From The Norwalk Hour June 1, 1942
William Joseph Czinky, Machinist’s Mate Second Class in the U.S. Navy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Czinky of 92 Winfield Street, is still listed by the Navy Department as among those missing. As previously printed in The Norwalk Hour, Czinky was first officially reported as missing on May 8 when his parents were notified in a telegram from the navy Department. Czinky attended Norwalk High School and was graduated from Bridgeport Trade School in 1935. He was formerly employed at the Hat Corporation of America where his parents are now employed. Czinky and Miss Irene Elizabeth Domonkos of 15 Lincoln Avenue, were engaged to wed. Announcement of the couple’s betrothal was made last December 17.
Memorialized at East Coast Memorial, Baterry Park, New York, NY