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Public Notices

April 20, 2014

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Discovery Of Sunken Vessel Stirs Memories Of Pvt. Tame

Photo Special to The Greeneville Sun

This was the Purple Heart decoration awarded posthumously to Pvt. Frank Tame, of Greene County, who lost his life in combat operations with the U.S. armed forces in Europe in World War II.

Originally published: 2013-09-21 06:23:13
Last modified: 2013-09-21 06:26:16
 


BY KRISTEN BUCKLES

STAFF WRITER

The emerging picture is one of a tall, quiet young man with few people still living who know his story of sacrifice.

However, his family has new hope of rediscovering that story following the recent possible finding of a sunken amphibious U.S. Army vehicle. The volunteer Italian group that located the vessel hopes to bring it up next year.

It is believed to be the one on which this young Greeneville man, Pvt. Frank Tame, perished in 1945.

The front-page notice in the newspaper, which was published nearly one month after his death, announced that he had been killed in action.

FAMILY

The notice of his death went to his young wife, Lucille Scott Tame, of Greeneville.

One of Frank's nieces, Donna Groom, helped care for her grandmother - Frank's mother - in her final years.

Donna Groom's mother, Lucille, was one of Frank's six sisters. Because his sister and his wife shared the same name, Frank's wife -- who was evidently younger and smaller -- was known as "Little Lucille."

Her fate is not clear to family and friends today. The article said she was still alive at the time of Frank's death and was "making her home with Mr. and Mrs. A. Clarence Broyles."

Broyles was a prominent Greeneville businessman of that period, and he and his wife lived on North Main Street in the house that is now Greenwood Antiques.

The family believes she died shortly after Frank. Groom said this would explain why Frank's mother, Callie Johnson Tame, received his life insurance benefits and Purple Heart.

Others say "Little Lucille" went on to remarry and have children. A marriage certificate shows a 21-year-old Lucille Tame, of Greeneville, marrying a 30-year-old man in 1946.

Her fate, it seems, is just as cloudy as Frank's.

Today, however, his family - with now only one sister and several nieces and nephews remaining - has hope for revealing more about this mysterious uncle who gave his life in World War II.

FINAL DAYS

The boat in which he went down sank on April 30, 1945, in Italy's Lake Garda during the final days of World War II. According to the Associated Press report, 25 soldiers of the 10th Mountain Divison's 605th Field Artillery were onboard for the crossing.

The soldiers planned to cross the 50-mile-long lake in pursuit of German forces, but the vehicle evidently stalled and began taking on water, according to the AP.

Of the 25 soldiers on board, only one was known to have survived -- Cpl. Thomas Hough.

Before his death in 2005, Hough was reported to have described sinking into the frigid waters of the lake.

His fellow soldiers died quickly, having perished by the time two on-shore soldiers responded to the cries and rescued Hough.

FRANK TAME

Among the soldiers who perished that night was 20-year-old Frank Tame, the only soldier onboard from Tennessee.

Frank grew up in Afton with his mother, Callie, his father, James, and six sisters.

Ruby Taylor, a neighbor who knew the family, said he was a good child who grew into a tall young man. He "surprised everybody" when he married Lucille, she added.

Ravenelle Butler, of Tusculum, who lived on another neighboring farm at Afton, agreed that he was well-behaved and quiet.

"I never heard Frank say a bad word; I never heard him talk about anybody," she said. "If he did, it was good or something comical."

His wife, Lucille, was very quiet, as well, but also very pretty, Butler added.

"Frank was a good-looking young man. He was kind of tall, a little slender."

Butler also recalled that he loved most to play with her brother, W.F. Butler.

The two were about the same age and spent hours together, she said.

When all the neighborhood children got together, they enjoyed going down to nearby Sinking Creek to swim.

Frank, however, would never approach the water, she said. Instead, he would watch from the bank as the others swam.

"It's a sad thing that he drowned, because he was so scared of water," Butler said.

"They came out and told his mother. She started screaming. That was her boy she was crying about. She grieved over Frank a lot."

BOX OF TREAURES

Frank had entered the U.S. Army two years prior and had only been overseas four months, according to the short newspaper article in 1945.

The army sent, along with his Purple Heart, a small rum box that contained all his personal items: a deck of cards, a handful of broken pencils, a pipe, some small souvenirs and little else.

To his mother, it was a box of treasures.

"It was something that Granny didn't talk a lot about," Groom said. "It was her only son, and the last Tame we know of anywhere."

"She went to her grave heartbroken. She always wanted to think he was a prisoner of war and he was going to get to come home one day.

"I hope she knows [some remains] are maybe going to come home. It would be closure."

 
For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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