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Search for family of fallen WWII sailor hits dead ends

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When someone found a Purple Heart from World War II, Ben Quelle, director of Veteran Services in Attleboro, thought it would be easy to find its rightful owner. But the search has turned into a mystery. Quelle started with a few clues.”On the back of this medal, it has the name of the actual veteran, who was Hugh Farren,” he said.There was also a death notice, an old address in Dorchester, and the name of the solider’s sister, Helen Doherty, but the trail went cold.”This is actually probably one of the more difficult mysteries to solve because I’m just running into dead ends every time I try,” said Quelle. 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 given the Purple Heart, but what happened to it in the decades after remains unclear. Then, in 1962, the city of Boston named a pedestrian bridge after Farren in Dorchester. Quelle said it’s time to honor the fallen sailor by finding his family and returning the medal to his rightful heir. “It sounds like this was someone who had friends and was known in his community and then at a late age stepped up and put his own life on the line and ultimately paid the ultimate price. This is the least we can do,” said Quelle. He’s asking for the public’s help in finding members of Farren’s family.

When someone found a Purple Heart from World War II, Ben Quelle, director of Veteran Services in Attleboro, thought it would be easy to find its rightful owner. But the search has turned into a mystery.

Quelle started with a few clues.

“On the back of this medal, it has the name of the actual veteran, who was Hugh Farren,” he said.

There was also a death notice, an old address in Dorchester, and the name of the solider’s sister, Helen Doherty, but the trail went cold.

“This is actually probably one of the more difficult mysteries to solve because I’m just running into dead ends every time I try,” said Quelle.

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 given the Purple Heart, but what happened to it in the decades after remains unclear.

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

Quelle said it’s time to honor the fallen sailor by finding his family and returning the medal to his rightful heir.

“It sounds like this was someone who had friends and was known in his community and then at a late age stepped up and put his own life on the line and ultimately paid the ultimate price. This is the least we can do,” said Quelle.

He’s asking for the public’s help in finding members of Farren’s family.

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