The following article by David Strange originally appeared in The Courier-Journal on 28 Aug 2013. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.
Walk around the Lebanon Junction Cemetery, and you might come across a simple tombstone, maybe three feet tall, with an unusual bronze plaque mounted on the front.
Look closer at that plaque, and you will see a long list of names.
A list of eighty-seven men who were never heard from again when their submarine, the S.S. Kete, disappeared.
Here is a little of the remarkable story of that plaque and of the Lebanon Junction man who was part of that lost crew:
Paul O'Bryan Hayden was a Lebanon Junction man who had joined the Navy in 1934, serving on surface ships such as the cruiser Augusta, on which he earned the Purple Heart when a shell blew up on deck in 1937, injuring him and several others.
Hayden briefly left the service in 1938, but re-enlisted the same year, going into submarine school. He first served on a couple of older subs, the SS 45 and the SS 42. While training in torpedo school in 1943 or 44, he met a fellow submariner by the name of James Haywood, and they became friends. Shortly thereafter, Hayden was assigned to the new submarine, the Kete, also known as SS 369. His friend, James, would likely have gone with him to the same boat, but, having some extra shore leave, James stayed behind for a while and was assigned to the next completed sub.
That was a fateful choice that would eventually result in a little bronze plaque being in Lebanon Junction Cemetery.
On March 20, 1945, the Kete, heading from Calnett Straight to Midway Island, radioed headquarters with a routine weather report.
It was never heard from again.
Due at Midway on March 30, it never showed. On April 16, the sub was declared overdue, and eventually it was recorded as "all hands lost."
Now fast-forward to just a few years ago. John Hayden Newton, a nephew to Paul Hayden, was vacationing in Hawaii. By chance, he met a man by the name of James Haywood; the very man who had been friends with Uncle Paul back in the war. Because Haywood had missed being assigned to the Kete, he had survived the war.
James Haywood happened to belong to a submariner's organization. Around the year 2002, a little while after meeting his World War II friend's nephew, Haywood was involved in replacing a bronze marker at Pearl Harbor that listed those who died on the Kete. Surprisingly to him, someone mailed the older plaque to him. He immediately sent it to Paul's nephew, who in turn sent it on to Charlie Newton, another of Paul's nephews, who told me this story.
Charlie tells me that Hayden's mother, Mattie Hayden, never gave up hope that her son would somehow return, saying that she just knew one day "he would walk through that door."
Paul O'Bryan Hayden never walked through that door. Nor did any of his boat mates.
About 1946, a memorial marker was placed in the Saint Vincent De Paul Cemetery in New Hope, Nelson County, where some of Hayden's ancestors were buried. Eventually, Mattie Hayden passed away and was laid to rest next to that memorial marker of her son.
Long, long after, when the bronze plaque appeared from Pearl Harbor, a special new stone was made and set on an empty grave plat owned by the family, next to Paul Hayden's sister at Lebanon Junction. The top of the stone says,
In Memory of Paul O'Bryan Hayden
August 6, 1916 – March 1945
I suppose that we will never know what happened to Paul Hayden and his mates on the Kete. Then again, maybe his mother already does.
So, when you see that small bronze plaque in the Lebanon Junction Cemetery, know that it came from Pearl Harbor.
And by the oddest chance, or by fate, it ended up in Lebanon Junction, as part of a memorial stone to Paul O'Bryan Hayden, Torpedoman's Mate First Class. Father of Sharon Joan. Son of Mattie Hayden. A local man who died with all hands somewhere in the Pacific during a terrible war.
Never heard from again, but always remembered.
Here is a list of names on those lost on the Kete.
|LeRoy Albert Abts||Edward Ackerman||John Clausel Adams|
|John David Apking||Donald Lee Bergadine||Leonard Eugene Blodgett|
|Francis William Braniger||Carl Brooks||William Henry Burnside|
|Perry Charles Callahan||Bernard Cobrin||Hugh Mack Cole|
|Edward Cooper||Robert William Crowley||Charles Randolph Crutchfield|
|William Howard Dawson||Frederick Robert Deininger||Harold William Derrah|
|Helmut Otto Dietrich||Calvin Frederick Dortche||Donald Lincoln Drake|
|Willis Dul||Manuel Lawrence Efferson||Donald Paul Egen|
|Douglas Grant Fenton||Hugh French||Ben Friesen|
|Robert Stephan Fuller||John Francis Glynn||Fred Joseph Griswold|
|Joseph Henry Gunzinger||Elmer Ellsworth Gwinn||Bernard Henry Haag|
|Robert Arthur Hart||Glenn Edwin Hartbank||Paul O'Bryan Hayden|
|Earl Henderson||James Lowell Hines||James Russell Holshouser|
|Stanton Lee Hooper||Abraham Joseph Katz||Norbert William Kelly|
|Elmer Neil Kensler||Walter Ernest Kotelman||Richard Paul Kraut|
|Jack Lee Lasiter||Frank Litzenburger||Earl Logsdon|
|Billie Barton Lowery||Charles Wesley Lynn||Glenn Raymond Malko|
|Anthony Thomas Marsico||Frank Martini||Bernard Eugene McLendon|
|Grant Richard Messenger||Samuel Arnold Moccabee||Charleton L. Moore|
|Henry Fredrick Morrison||Archie Vernon Newton||Joseph Albert O'Brien|
|Mark Angello O'Connor||George Thomas Page||Clair Junior Peterson|
|Irving Victor Piper||Glenn Owen Price||Donald Calvin Pushee|
|Robert Russell Racer||Frederick Fay Reimers||Francis Albert Richards|
|George Joseph Schemm||Maxium Daniels Schenavar||Paul Francis Schumacher|
|Oliver Harry Simpson||James Irwin Snyder||Russell Henry Spikes|
|Jacob Granville Starr||French Lee Thomas||Gordon Ray Thompson|
|Keith Thorn||Peter Charles VanDam||Salomon Hernandez Villalba|
|James Stanley Waggoner||Russel Andrew Wallick||Floyd Stewart Walling|
|Joseph Allen Westphall||Gordon Weaver Wilson||Galen Irvin Woodward|
Below is an image of the plaque.
Copyright 2013 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.