On This Day In Alabama History: Private Drowned After Saving Shipmates

| March 8, 2018 @ 5:00 am

By Graydon Rust Alabama 200

March 8, 1943

Pvt. George Watson drowned after helping about a dozen shipmates to a life raft near Porlock Harbor, New Guinea. A native of Birmingham, Watson was serving with the 29th Quarter Master Regiment on the U.S. Army-controlled Dutch freighter ‘sJacob when the ship was hit by Japanese bombers and sank. Instead of saving himself, he remained in the water and helped those who couldn’t swim to the raft until he was dragged down by the suction of the sinking ship. In 1997, Watson posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton. Watson is one of only seven African-Americans to receive the award for actions during World War II.

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