Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

JOHNSON, Roger Adran

USS William B Preston
Starboard side view of the aircraft tender USS William B. Preston

Roger Adran Johnson, Metalsmith 1st Class (341-95-86), enlisted on 14 February 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri; he then extended his enlistment for two years in March 1939.

Johnson served on the aircraft tender Langley from 9 February 1937. The Langley was sunk on 27 February 1942 while delivering aircraft to Tjilatjap, in Java. Surviving crew members were transferred to the Pecos, which was also sunk on 1 March. Johnson then transferred to the Preston on 30 January 1942.

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.

Johnson is listed as killed in action, and he was buried at sea. He was survived by his wife, Betty Anna Jean Johnson, of 1708 Hohgh Street, Jefferson City, Missouri.

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