Famous, Frank R

Frank Richard Famous Jr. was born on June 18, 1923 to Frank and Mary Famous who resided in Broomall, Pennsylvania. Frank was the oldest of three children. Frank's father was a WW I vet who suffered grievous injuries during the war that left him unable to work. Because of this, the children had to sent to live with relatives.

Frank moved to West Chester in 1939 to live with his grandmother. He graduated from high school in 1942. He was known as easy going and a good mixer. After graduation, Frank obtained employment at the Montgomery Ward Department Store in West Chester. Frank dated his high school sweetheart, Jane Logue, who lived across the street. It was love at first sight. They had similar backgrounds, but opposite personalities - Frank was happy go lucky, fun loving, outgoing, and Jane was quiet and reserved. Jane says “There’s never been much joy in my life”…  “And he was the greatest joy I’ve had”.

Frank received a draft into the Army Air Corps on February 8, 1943. He received training at Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado, Drewfield, Tampa, Florida,  and Peterson Field, Colorado Springs Colorado. Frank was attached to the 32nd Photographic Squadron, 5th Reconnaissance Group. In October, he returned home to marry Jane on October.

Frank was sent to Hampton Roads, Virginia where his unit embarked on the SS Paul Hamilton, a Liberty ship. The ship was loaded with high explosives and bombs, and 500 Army Air Force personal. The Hamilton sailed on April 3, 1944 in a convoy for Italy via Bizerte, Tunisia, in Convoy UGS-38.

On April 20th, off the coast of Algiers, the convoy was attacked by 27 German torpedo and dive bombers. A JU-88 German bomber came in low to attack the Hamilton, gunners on the British tanker Athelchie hit it and the enemy plane caught fire, but it was too late; the bomber launched its torpedo less then 150 feet from the Paul Hamilton. When the torpedo hit, there was a tremendous explosion, flames reached almost a 1,000 feet in the air. The remnants of the ship sank in thirty seconds. Hero John Pulinka, a Merchant Marine crewmember, also perished. There were no survivors. 580 men lost their lives. It was the worst Liberty Ship disaster during the war.
Private First Class Frank R. Famous died on April 20, 1944. Jane received a telegraph dated April 30th that he was Missing In Action. A second telegram dated May 16th notified that her husband was Killed In Action. Jane received a sympathy card (left) from Chief of Staff of the Army, General George C. Marshall, who was born and raised in Pennsylvania.

Frank is honored on the Tablets of the Missing at the North Africa American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia. A memorial service was held at the Marple Presbyterian Church on September 30th, 1945 to honor Frank and three other church members who gave their lives in the war.

His wife, Jane resides in West Chester. She still remembers the short 12 days they were together as husband and wife, during Frank’s leave in October 1943.

Frank's father spent most of his time in the Coatesville Veteran’s Hospital due to injures received during World War I. When Frank received his draft notice, he was greatly distraught, and cried on Jane’s shoulders because he did not want to go to war. He wanted to serve his country, but he was so afraid of returning a broken man like his father. Despite his fears, he did not shirk his responsibility. He gave his life for his Country.


Research by Don Wambold, WCSMC