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Search for family of dead WWII sailor hits dead end

When someone found a Purple Heart from World War II, Ben Quelle, Director of Veterans Services at Attleboro, thought it would be easy to find its rightful owner. But the search has become a mystery. Which started with a few clues. “On the back of that medal is the name of the real veteran, which was Hugh Farren,” he said. There was also an obituary, an old address in Dorchester and the name of the soldier’s sister, Helen Doherty, but the trail has grown cold. “It’s actually probably one of the hardest mysteries to solve because I hit dead ends every time I try,” Quelle said. Little is known about Farren beyond his military record. He was born in 1904, came to the United States from Ireland and enlisted in the Navy during World War II at the age of 39. Farren served aboard the USS Liscome Bay, which sank in the Pacific on Thanksgiving Day in 1944. Farren was presumed dead, his body lost at sea. His surviving sister was awarded the Purple Heart, but what is happened in the decades that followed remains unclear. Then, in 1962, the city of Boston named a pedestrian bridge after Farren in Dorchester. Quelle said it was time to honor the deceased sailor by reuniting with his family and returning the medal to his rightful heir. “It looks like he was someone who had friends and was known in his community, and then in old age he decided to put his own life on the line and eventually paid the ultimate price. That’s the least we can do,” Quelle said. He asks for the public’s help in locating Farren’s family members.

When someone found a Purple Heart from World War II, Ben Quelle, Director of Veterans Services at Attleboro, thought it would be easy to find its rightful owner. But the search has become a mystery.

Which started with a few clues.

“On the back of that medal is the name of the real veteran, who was Hugh Farren,” he said.

There was also an obituary, an old address in Dorchester and the name of the soldier’s sister, Helen Doherty, but the trail has grown cold.

“It’s actually probably one of the hardest mysteries to solve because I hit dead ends every time I try,” Quelle said.

Little is known about Farren beyond his military record. He was born in 1904, came to the United States from Ireland and enlisted in the Navy during World War II at the age of 39.

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Farren served aboard the USS Liscome Bay, which sank in the Pacific on Thanksgiving Day in 1944.

Farren was presumed dead, his body lost at sea. His surviving sister was awarded the Purple Heart, but what happened to her in the decades that followed remains unclear.

Then, in 1962, the city of Boston named a pedestrian bridge after Farren in Dorchester.

Quelle said it was time to honor the deceased sailor by reuniting with his family and returning the medal to his rightful heir.

“It looks like he was someone who had friends and was known in his community, and then in old age he decided to put his own life on the line and eventually paid the ultimate price. That’s the least we can do,” Quelle said.

He asks for the public’s help in locating Farren’s family members.



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