Wallace (Bud) Streed escapes fate of Leopoldville ship

By KBJR News 1

Credit: Bud Streed

Wallace (Bud) Streed escapes fate of Leopoldville ship

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May 19, 2014 Updated May 19, 2014 at 10:59 AM CST

Wallace (Bud) Streed:
Entered the Army June 2, 1943, Fort Snelling, MN.
Home at Entry: Proctor, MN.
Served as a Private First Class with Company L of the 264th Infantry Regiment of the 66th Infantry Division.
Awarded: Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star, World War II Victory Medal, and two overseas service bars. Honorably discharged March 12, 1946, Camp McCoy, WI.

“November 15, 1944, the Division left for England aboard a captured World War II-era German passenger liner renamed the SS George Washington. We arrived in Southampton, England, on the 22nd and were billeted at Dorchester until December 25. We left our Christmas dinner on the table to return to Southampton to guard two English wooden canal ships, one of which was the Leopoldville which later was torpedoed and about three miles off Cherbourg, France, with a loss of more than 500 lives. I was supposed to be on the ship but a mix-up in boarding caused me to get another ship.”

“We landed in Cherbourg on December 26 and from there went to Arles until the 31st. Next, we were committed to the front line at St. Nazaire and Lorient on the Buest Peninsula where about 50,000 Germans were bottled up. I was a runner for L. Company, 264th Infantry Regt. We were on frontline duty continuously until the end of the war. As a runner, I was running messages and papers to the command post of the 264th. The Germans surrendered to us May 10 and 11, 1945.”

“There was an underground tunnel and pillboxes all around Lorient and St. Nazaire. With another GI and a lieutenant, I was given the duty of going through this fortification to make sure no one was in there and also to look for booby traps.”

“On VE Day, a truck loaded with spirits came to our bivouac area. Almost everyone drank more than they could handle. Our officers had their command post in what looked like a root cellar. One of our guys, who had too much to drink, began jumping up and down on the command post, calling the captain names and demanding he come out so he could shoot him. The rest of the company was standing around in a big circle. I decided something had to be done, so I laid down my rifle, walked up to the man and said: ‘Give me your rifle.’ He looked at me for a minute, and then handed over his weapon. I led him back to the table of booze and we walked for a while. As far and I know, nothing was done about this incident.”

“Our next move was to the Rhine River at Remagen and then to Koblenz and on to Winnenden. In June 1945, the Division went to Southern France to process troops to be sent to Asia. In September, after V-J Day, the camp was closed. I was sent to the 42nd Infantry Division in Austria. On February 26, 1946, I was shipped to LeJavie, France, and arrived in the U.S. on March 7.”

Bud Streed
Hermantown, MN