Location: York County, Virginia

I am retired from the York/Poquoson Sheriff's Office after 24 1/2 years. I am currently employed at Weymouth Funeral Home in Newport News VA and Riverside Hospital also in Newport News. I am president and co-founder of the York County Historical Society. I am also on the York County Historical Museum Board, associate member of the York County Historical Committee, Poquoson Historical Society, Nicolas Maritau Decsendants Association, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Sons of the American Revolution,West Virginia Genealogical Society and the U.S.S. Yosemite AD-19 Veterans Association. I am also a thirty year Parrothead. I am a 12th generation York County native even though I was born in Cocoa Beach FL.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Story of Carroll Rollins
Frank Green

While going through microfilmed copies of old newspapers, I found a very interesting story about a Poquoson native named Carroll Rollins.
It seemed that he was the only one who did not answer when his draft number came up. His parents Floyd and Margaret Rollins explained that he was a merchant seaman and his ship had sunk by German U-boat and was not in even in the country at the time.
For some reason the name Carroll Rollins seemed familiar to me. I found the name in the book on the Smith family by the late Robert E. White. I also found that his grandnephew, Lane Forrest, worked with me at the sheriff’s office. Lane told me that Carroll’s sister (Lane’s grandmother) Margaret Carmines was still living and gave me her phone number. I contacted her and she gave me the story of her brother.
Carroll Jennings Rollins was born in Poquoson on June 14,1915. He married while still a teenager but it did not work out. Shortly afterwards joined the Merchant Marine. This was in the mid-1930s. It was a job that he loved and planned on making it a career.
After World War II began, the life of a merchant seaman was to become a perilous one. German U-boats and surface raiders were sinking freighters and tankers with alarming regularity.
Carroll “Buddy” Rollins was to right in the middle of it. By early 1942, he had already had two ship torpedoed from under him. It was during this time that the ships he was on were involved in transporting goods from England to Russia. They would land in the Russian port on Murmansk and the journey was called the Murmansk run. These runs were often considered nearly suicidal due to submarines and land based aircraft. They were constantly in danger of being torpedoed or bombed.
Carroll Rollins was in Russia after one of his ships was sunk when his draft number came up. Because he was there, he could not answer when his draft number was called. This was carried in the local newspapers, much to the anger and embarrassment of his parents. The draft board’s thinking was that being his ship was sunk and he was no longer attached to a vessel, then he was eligible for the draft. Mr. and Mrs. Rollins wrote a letter to the Daily Press. They state that when his draft number came up, he was on a raft with five other shipmates after his ship “had been blown to bits and 48 other crew members were killed or drowned.” It was also pointed out that he had been on ships that had been torpedoed before the United States even entered the war and was serving his country.
Mrs. Carmines told me that the draft board dropped the charges against her brother and apologized to the family.
All total Carroll Rollins was on seven ships that were sank in World War II. He stayed in the Merchant Marines for the rest of his life and died in New Orleans on January 22,1968.


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