Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

CARLSON, Roy Gunnar

USS William B Preston

USS William B. Preston


Roy Gunnar Carlson, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (3164295), was the second son of Hjalmer and Eugenia Carlson, of Nebraska. His parents migrated from Sweden to the United States in 1907 and 1903. He enlisted on 16 February 1940 in Rock Island, Illinois and joined the Preston in June 1940. Carlson was on the seaplane tender in Malolog Bay in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked American ships there on the morning of 8 December 1941.

USS William B. Preston was anchored in Darwin Harbour tending PBY Catalinas when the Japanese attack began on 19 February 1942. She quickly got underway, zigzagging through the crowded Harbour. Four bombs exploded off William B. Preston’s bow, breaking bridge windows. She was then hit near the deckhouse, losing control of her steering and jamming the rudder. The aft living compartment was seriously damaged; the deck house was strafed and her machine guns were out of action. Fourteen men were killed, including two missing and three were wounded. Carlson is recorded as missing in action in the ship's log.

After the bombing of Darwin Harbour, Carlson was treated on board the Manunda for extensive burns to face, arms, legs and back. He was 24 years old when he died on 1 March 1942, at Hollwoood Military Hospital in Perth. He was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery. On 13 August 1945 his coffin was exhumed for transportation to the American War Graves Section Rookwood, and he was eventaully reinterred at Riverside Cemetery, Moline, Illinois, United States. In 1950 Hjalmar Carlson applied for a bronze memorial plaque, which records Roy's date of birth as 28 March 1917.

He was survived by his wife, of 618 South Detroit Street, Los Angeles.

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