World War II veteran receives medal for heroic actions 80 years later

Navy Armed Guard veteran William Carlson recived the Convoy Cup Medallion and citation on June 19 for his heorism during World War II. Photo credit American Merchant Marine Veterans

A 99-year old World War II veteran was awarded the Convoy Cup medallion and citation on June 18 for his actions while serving aboard the SS City of New York on March 29, 1942.

Navy Armed Guard veteran William Carlson was aboard the ship when it was torpedoed off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to a post on the American Merchant Maine Veterans Facebook page.

According to reports, Carlson kept firing his machine gun as the SS New York sank. He ultimately swam to a lifeboat.

“The bravery and quick response of the Armed Guard crew, as they fired back at the attacking U-boat, bought time for passengers and crew to abandon ship,” the post reads.

In one of those crowded lifeboats, a pregnant passenger gave birth, at night, in a storm. The ship’s physician documented U.S. Merchant Mariner Dr. Len Conly, delivered the baby after breaking his own ribs trying to embark the boat as the second torpedo slammed into the vessel.

The Lifeboat Baby, Jesse Roper Mohorovicic, became known as the “baby Hitler couldn’t get.” His amazing birth at sea, in the face of imminent death, was broadcast around the world to boost the morale of Allied troops.

The Convoy Cup medallion honors convoy veterans such as Carlson who served in the North Atlantic during the Second World War.

The ceremony took place at the Honorary Consulate of Norway in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Members of the International Ship Masters Association, American Merchant Marine Veterans and Carlson's family and friends attended the event.

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