Captain Paul H. Browne Cited for Heroism on Torpedoed Oil Tanker

Paul H. Browne

Master of SS China Arrow 2/5/42

For heroism and distinguished service under unusual hazards.

The tanker under his command, was carrying fuel to our Eastern seaboard. Without warning, two torpedoes in quick succession exploded in the main tanks.

As a consequence, the cargo expansion trunks were blown through the main deck hatches and large quantities of the inflammable cargo were thrown high into the air. The oil, raining back on the ship, became ignited, and the decks were swept by flames.

The enemy submarine surfaced about one-quarter of a mile away with evident intent to sink the blazing ship by shell fire. Alert to this maneuver, the Master ordered the crew to abandon ship and lay-off astern, in order to minimize loss of life.

Needless of personal risk from flame and shell fire, he and his Radio Operator remained aboard the blazing ship for nearly three-quarters of an hour rigging a jury antenna and setting up an emergency short wave transmitter to replace the standard equipment which had been wrecked by the explosions.

Finally, by the exercise of considerable ingenuity, the emergency radio rig was completed and a continuous call distress signal was sent out. This message was received by shore stations, and rescue of the entire crew was effected 56 hours after the attack.

Captain Browne's personal courage, leadership and high devotion to duty constitute qualities of service which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Browne lived in Nutley NJ


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