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This Day in Norwood History-December 26, 1944-Francis C. Heylin Serves Hospital Ship In English Channel

Francis C. Heylin Serves Hospital Ship In English Channel

ABOARD THE USS LST 28 IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. Nov 22 (Delayed)—Nights when German planes roared in to attack their ship, while below decks surgical operations and care of wounded soldiers went on without interruption, are vivid in the memory of Francis C. Heylin, 20, quartermaster. first class. USN. of Norwood, and his shipmates aboard this Landing Ship Tank, the USS LST 28.

A floating arsenal of supply on its way to France, a ship of mercy on its return to England, the 28 today finished her 25th round-trip run to Continental Europe.

Since D-Day. she has plied a perpetual course to Normandy, unloading men. ammunition, tanks and guns, returning with wounded Allied soldiers and wounded prisoners of war. She is one of numerous LST’s used as converted hospital ships.

“For seven months we fought the battle of Chesapeake Bay.” Heylin said on board today, recounting the 28*s career since she went into commission early in 1943.

“Our ship cruised in the Chesapeake. training other crews for LST duty. Until we left for Africa in March of ’44. we didn’t know what it was to be ‘at sea’ in an LST They rock like a cradle gone crazy.

Most of us had six meals a day coming across. Three down and three up.”

The Germans weren’t fooling when their bombers gave the 28 her first taste of action on April Fool’s day in the Mediterranean The thrill of that battle made the crew’s first real invasion. France, less terrifying — even though at one time they watched four surrounding ships sinking at once.

Only out of action once, while repairs were made following a collision. the 28 lias rocked her way through nine months of European war without suffering a single casualty. Hcylin disclosed with satisfaction.

The son of Thomas F. Heylin of 70 Nichols street. Norwood. Hcylin joined the Navy in July. 1942.

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