About Robert F Burns
Merchant Seaman, serving as a water tender, who died when the S. S. Topa Topa was torpedoed by a German sub in the Caribbean on August 29, 1942 during WWII. He had survived the torpedoeing of two other ships in the same area unharmed. In one of these instances, he saved the life of the ship's Captain. The Liberty ship S. S. Robert F. Burns was named in his honor. It was launched in Panama City, FL. on August 29,1945 exactly three years after Robert's death.
Robert spent most of his life in Savannah, GA. He attended Marist Brother's School in Savannah and graduated from Savannah High School in 1937. He played cornet and trumpet in the ROTC band.
Robert's natural inclinations eventually lead him to the sea, first as an ordinary seaman on the Atlantic Steamship Company's S. S. Sundance. He preferred the engine room, or "black gang," and soon held papers as fireman, oiler, and water tender. At one time, he was said to be the youngest oiler on the Atlantic. He preferred what the mariners called the "deep-water" runs and circled the globe many times.
Robert was a member of the Catheral of St John the Baptist in Savannah; the American Federation of Musicians; and the Seafarers International Union.
In August 1945, Robert's parent's, Samuel and Leah Burn's, received the Mariner's Medal, accompanied by a letter of commendation written by Admiral Emory S. Land head of the United States Maritime Commission and War Shipping Administration.