James Allen Roberts was born in Kinston, North Carolina on September 1, 1917. On December 13, 1939, at the age of twenty-two, he joined the United States Navy. He trained as an aircraft mechanic and became certified as a Flight Engineer and Plane Captain.
His assignments were Bombing Squadron 110, Patrol Squadron 543, VP Squadron 51, and Headquarter Squadron 5-2. He was stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia; Naval Air station, Jacksonville, Florida; Naval Air Station at Banana River, Florida; Air Training Base at Fort Pierce, Florida; US Navy Training Center, Newport, Rhode Island; and the US Navy Base at Portsmouth, Virginia.
The VB 110 Bombing Squadron departed to England with their principle duties in the Bay of Biscay and their primary prey was the German U-boats. The 103, 105, and 110 bombing squadrons (FAW-7) were stationed at Dunkeswell, Devon, England, which was the only Naval Air facility in England. Within the first six months of their arrival in England, VB 110 had lost one third of its flight crews and one half of its aircraft complement to a combination of enemy action and weather. Also, during the Normandy invasions, VB 110 bombing squadron provided patrols over the southern entrance of the English Channel to prevent U-Boats from approaching the invasion fleet. When FAW-7 ceased operations from Dunkswell, England, the squadrons (VB 103, VB 105, & VB 110) had flown a total of 6,464 missions, sunk 5 submarines, and assisted in sinking at least four others.
AMM2c Roberts was a crew member of a PB4Y-1 aerial bomber whose efforts were instrumental in bringing about the defeat of the U-boat activity in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel during the Battle of the Atlantic from October 1943 to May 1944. He was awarded the Air Medal with one gold star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and authorized to wear the Combat Air Crew wings as a member of a combat crew serving with Bombing Squadron VB 110.
Other awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.
After six years and two days, AMM2c Roberts was discharged on December 15, 1945. He continued his aviation career by serving as an aircraft mechanic for the Federal Government at USAF Air Training Command center later renamed Stallings Air Force Base, Kinston, NC; Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware; and Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, Havelock, NC.
He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2771. He died December 5, 1985.