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World War II Honor Roll

Arthur Carl Roscoe

Chief Water Tender, U.S. Navy

 

USS Saint Augustine PG-54

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: January 6, 1944
Buried at: Arlington National Cemetery
                  Arlington VA
Awards: Purple Heart


CHIEF WATER TENDER ARTHUR CARL ROSCOE was born in 1892. He had served in the United States Navy during WWI, and was Chief Water Tender aboard the ill fated USS Reuben James during that conflict. After leaving the Navy he worked in the electrical department of the Public Service utility in Camden for 20 years. Chief Roscoe returned to active duty in July of 1942, and served aboard the Patrol Frigate USS Ashville PF-1, before transferring to the St. Augustine.

The USS Saint Augustine, a 1720-ton gunboat, was built at Newport News, Virginia, in 1929 as the yacht Viking. The Viking was first owned by George S. Baker, the millionaire New York banker. Later it was sold to the Woolworth family, and Barbara Hutton, Woolworth heiress, used it to take her well-heeled friends on party cruises. During this period it was renamed Noparo, until she was purchased by the Navy in December 1940 and converted to a warship at Boston, Massachusetts. Following commissioning in January 1941, St. Augustine performed patrol duties out of Boston. In 1942 she was assigned to convoy escort service between New York City and the Caribbean area. She was instrumental in the sinking of the U-701, even though she didn't sink it directly. 

In January of 1944, while escorting a convoy of just a single ship off Delaware (along with two other coast guard escort vessels) to Key West in a gale, the blacked-out, Trinidad-bound tanker SS Camas Meadows (not part of the convoy) struck the St. Augustine on the starboard side.  The St. Augustine sank in 250 feet of frigid, rough seas within four minutes of the collision, killing 115 of her 145-man crew, off Cape May NJ on January 6, 1944. Arthur Roscoe was one of those who died when the St. Augustine sank after collision with SS Camas Meadows. 

Chief Water Tender Arthur Carl Roscoe was survived by his wife Doris Roscoe, of 1531 Argus Road in Camden NJ, and a son, Donald Roscoe, also serving in the United States Navy. He also left a sister, Mrs. Essie Shoup, of Kouts IN, and five brothers, Henry, of South Dakota, John and Albert, of North Dakota, and Millidge and Carl, of Minnesota.


Arthur Carl Roscoe lived in this home at 1331 Argus Road in Camden NJ
Photograph December 24, 2002

USS ST. AUGUSTINE PG-54

Top Row and above Left:
Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 27 May 1941.

Above:
Underway off the U.S. East Coast (position 37 04' N, 74 45' W), 22 May 1943. Photographed from a blimp of squadron ZP-14, flying out of Naval Air Station Weeksville, North Carolina.  
US Navy Photo NH 98190


Camden Courier-Post - January 13, 1944


The Wreck of the USS St. Augustine - July 3, 2002


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