John Starlyn Buckner was born in Dalton, Georgia to John Clyde Buckner and Ethel Mabelle Walston.

MS Sunoil, Tanker, Torpedoed and sunk North Atlantic April 4, 1943.
He is memorialized at the Tennessee Georgia Memorial Park in Georgia

Messman John Starlyn Buckner was on board the American motor tanker MS Sunoil as it left New York on Mar 27, 1943 with 102,000 barrels of fuel oil. Bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia and Scotland, the ship was part of Convoy HX-231. By Apr 5th, after leaving Halifax, the tanker had developed engine problems and was forced to fall back (straggle) from the convoy. On the 5th, German submarine U-563 spotted the zigzagging Sunoil and fired three torpedoes, one of which hit. The Navy Armed Guards on board forced the u-boat to submerge, and a distress signal was heard by British ship HMS Vidette who came forward and averted another attack. Later that day, U-530 spied the tanker and fired a spread of three torpedoes. One hit and the ship stopped. After being hit by two more torpedoes, the ship sank quickly. A destroyer in the vicinity searched without success before returning to the convoy.
There were 43 Merchant Mariners and 26 US Navy Armed Guards on board; none survived.

The Chattanooga Daily Times, 21 August 1944
Mrs. Ethel Buckner of 2015 Tombras Avenue will be presented the Mariner’s Medal awarded to her son, John Starlyn Bucker of the United States Maritime Service, who was killed in line of duty, at ceremonies to be held in Nashville. Buckner was a messman of the MS Sunoil, a tanker, making his first trip when the ship was attacked April 5, presumably by a German submarine. At first reported missing in action, he was next listed as killed. Young Buckner was well known in local sports circles. He was a participant in the 1941 Golden Gloves Tournament, representing the Frye Institute. A graduate of Central High School, he was employed by the Seven-Up-Orange Crush Bottling Company prior to entering the maritime service in November, 1943. He received his training at Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., where he was stationed for a three-month period prior to going to sea.

  • Rank: Messman
  • Date of birth:
  • 5 February 1925
  • Date of death: 5 April 1943
  • County: Hamilton
  • Hometown: Chattanooga
  • Service Branch: Merchant Marines
  • Division/Assignment: MS Sunoil
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Mariner's Medal
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Tennessee Georgia Memorial Park, Rossville, Walker County, Georgia
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XII, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor John S. Buckner

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