Navy sword returned to family after being lost at sea


A Navy daughter recently got a surprising package in the mail: a sword that belonged to her late father who died at sea more than 70 years ago, the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat reported.


Lt. Ned James Wentz was serving aboard the patrol gunboat Erie when a German submarine sank it off the Venezuelan coast in 1942. Seven men, including Wentz, died at sea.

His daughter, Frances Wentz Taber, was only 2 when her father died. All she had to remember her dad were some letters, photos and childhood possessions. That was until a sword with her father’s initials on the hilt and his full name on the shaft arrived at her Tallahassee home in early April.

Wentz received the sword in 1933 when he graduated from the Naval Academy.

Shorty after the sinking, the Navy hired a Jamaican rescue team to remove the patrol boat, the paper reported. Enos Eldermire, a senior diver on the mission, found the sword, but his attempts to return it to the Navy were unsuccessful. When he passed away, his son, Kent Eldermire, continued the search for Wentz’s family.

Kent Eldermire used the Internet and after much searching, found Taber through her husband’s obituary. He shipped the sword to her a few days later.

“I had chill bumps,” Taber told the newspaper. “It was as if my father said, ‘I want to give you one more thing of mine.’”


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