It was early in the morning, of August 27th, 1944. Those of the crew not on watch on this return trip from supplying the troops on the French coast, the 327 was struck by an acoustic mine. Most of the crew were in their sacks getting much needed rest. This area was directly overhead the munitions locker, which was directly over the twin screws.
As is the operation of acoustic mines, they detonate wherever the noise is the loudest, and that was where the screws were grinding away.
The munitions locker exploded first, and of course took the crew’s quarters with it. Men literally were torn apart. Bodies were thrown into steel bulkheads. Decapitation, loss of extremities were commonplace. 22 enlisted men were killed outright. 26 additional men were seriously wounded. The ships baker Tom Redmond was in the galley making the next days bread. Of course the galley went with a large explosion, as this was directly over the crew’s quarters where most damage occurred. Tom lost a leg and as he said he also lost 240 loaves of bread ready for baking.
Casualties and dead and wounded were everywhere. Those few men getting a few breaths of night air that were standing on the fan-tail, were catapulted overboard into the water. Some had both legs broken by the force of the explosion and the expansion of the steel decks upward.
Many brave acts of courage were extended by crew members such as Sal Trioli, Jack McCullogh, John Santorelli who managed to launch an LCVP, and try to rescue as many that were in the water. It was nighttime and darkness was also a problem in locating those still alive in the sea.
In the log of the USS LST 346, (a rescuing vessel) is this notation. "2010: muffled explosion heard off our starboard quarter, concussion felt aboard ship, assumed to be an exploding mine. We were approximately 200 yards ahead. Smoke seen rising from the stern of LST 327. Visual and radio message from LST 327 that she had struck a mine. This vessel swinging to port and proceeding to render assistance to LST 327. Port and starboard running boats lowered into water with rescue parties. Nets rigged over side."
The log proceeds to describe rescue efforts that her boats, and others launched from the 327 were picking up survivors and that lines were rigged to the 327 alongside now, and towing her to the Needles. Men in the water were being taken aboard.
Art Rosenstein was the radioman on watch aboard the 327, at the time of the explosion and he along with Lt. Jack Spelman, were instrumental with quick efforts to obtain assistance.
Immediate medical assistance was given to the wounded by medics immediately brought aboard. They were taken to British hospitals for life-saving treatment, and then sent home.
The 327, was towed to Plymouth England where she remained for 6 months before being towed to Norfolk, Virginia. There on November 19th, 1945 the 327 was de-commissioned.
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