Re: George Wyville in “Exercise Tiger” on LST 531 - April 28, 1944
My father George Wyville was aboard LST 531 that was cut in half by two torpedos during Exercise Tiger. He never wanted to talk about it much (The Navy told him not to), but he did recount a few times what he remembered.
On April 28, 1944, he and some shipmates were sitting on the fantail of LST 531 that night playing cards, when German Schnellboots (E-boats) launched a sneak attack on the American convoy. The first torpedo hit at 0218, the ship rolled over and sank at 0224.
The ship was packed with hundreds of men, tanks, trucks etc. I believe what saved his life, was that after the first torpedo hit, he went topside immediately, his buddies went back down to get some gear, and were never seen again. The second torpedo hit a minute later, and he was blown into the water. After many hours in the ice cold water, he only remembers being pulled up onto the deck of a British ship like a “drowned rat” by a seaman called “Deckleman”, being wrapped in blankets and given a large mug of Vat 69. I believe that the final toll was nearly 700 dead.
He was awarded The Purple Heart, spent the next few weeks in a hospital in England ; then put back on a ship in the first wave on June 6, 1944..
My father had “adjusted” his birth certificate from 1926 to 1925, so he could follow his older brother in to the war in 1943.
This all happened before his 18th birthday.
My father died in 2000 and age 74.
p.s. I have declassified documents that the Navy sent me with a minute by minute account by the highest surviving officer onboard if you are interested.