Unknown Sailor

S1c Robert Lewis Carroll

Robert Lewis Carroll is honored on the war memorial in little St. Pauls, North Carolina, his hometown.

He was born Oct. 19, 1921 and left St. Pauls, a town of about 1,900, to enlist in the Navy on Nov. 13, 1939. He was a seaman first class when he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

The church he attended, Great Marsh Baptist, held a memorial service in 1945 for Mr. Carroll and two other local men killed during the war. Sadly, neither of his parents lived to attend. His father, Pat, 44, a farmer, died of acute pulmonary edema in 1943 and his mother, Nancy Johnson Carroll, 42, died of cancer in 1944. They are buried in the church cemetery, where there is also a cenotaph for Robert.

His younger brothers, Charles and Leon, also served in the Navy during World War II.

In a letter to his mother four months before he was killed, Bob, as he was known, said to tell his brothers that if they finished high school, he would help them out in their last year. “You tell Charles that if he will finish school this year I will send him $50 to buy anything he wants.” It was a generous promise in the context of Bob’s pay – a bit more than $30 a week.

Charles possibly did graduate. He was 17 when he enlisted in the Navy in the spring of 1943. Leon was just 16 when he enlisted days before their mother’s death, but he fibbed and said he was 18.

Sources: Special thanks to Brian Casey, Leon Carroll’s grandson. Other sources include: U.S. Census; The Robesonian of Lumberton, N.C.; the Greensboro (North Carolina) News & Record; North Carolina death records; cenotaph This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
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