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Roger Lancaster Braley

Roger Lancaster Braley
Roger Lancaster Braley

Roger Lancaster Braley had been a Radioman aboard the USS S-4 only days before the fatal ramming and sinking by the USCGC Paulding. He had been, through a clerical error, released from the Navy early and missed the trip to sea. In early newspaper reports he is listed, in error, as having died in the sinking.

Born May 3, (or May 18 by some sources), 1903. One of 3 children, sister Doris born May 29, 1909 and a brother Charles born to Lorna Lancaster Braley and William E. Braley in Ayer, Massachusetts.

After the sinking of the S-4 he was extensively interviewed about the chances of the crew to survive and who the identities of the six men in the bow could be. Like any submariner, he expressed what we all know about our boats and the chances we know about. He expressed his desire to re-enlist and to ask for submarine duty again.

His history is unclear as to when he worked as an auto mechanic about which he was very proud in his in later years. He also worked as driver, a clerk, a meat cutter but mostly spent his time as a Seaman.

In the late 1930's he became interested in what was happening in Spain and in June 1938 joined the Spanish Loyalist forces. He was listed in their records as a 'Soldado' in the XV BDE, Lincoln-Washington BN of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Taken captive in August 1938, he was later exchanged as a prisoner of war and sent back to the United States on the RMS Queen Mary.

During WW II he served as a merchant seaman carrying goods and troops across the Atlantic on the liberty ship SS Joshua W. Alexander. The Joshua W. Alexander later was one of a small number of liberty ships to take part in the D-Day landing. If Braley was aboard at that time it is unknown. He is also listed as a crew member on the "Americas" on October 13, 1943.

He died November 24, 1967 while in New York City. It is unclear if he is buried there or in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Researched by James Haas

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