Torpedoed in the Caribbean
SS City of Alma, struck by a torpedo shortly before midnight, sank immediately with the loss of all but ten hands. Third Mate Hugh Parks Brown, having been thrown into the sea, swam through the thick debris and remained afloat on an improvised raft until daybreak. After locating and assisting to the raft five widely separated shipmates, some of whom were injured, a capsized lifeboat was recovered. Brown succeeded in righting the lifeboat after diving beneath it and puncturing one of its tanks with a hatchet he had salvaged. Aboard the lifeboat he gave orders to cruise the area and came upon four other crew members in the water. Brown unhesitatingly swam to and assisted each safely aboard the craft. A makeshift sail was rigged, course set, and port reached four days later. Brown received the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his actions.