TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Christmas is a special time for most of us, but for Tim Graves, the Christmas of 1944, when he almost lost his life, is the one he remembers most. Graves was a Naval armed guard aboard the troop ship Sommelsdyk in the South Pacific, when the ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo. The torpedo hit near the ship's hospital where Graves was standing guard. Graves was blown into the air and all patients in the hospital were killed.
Graves was at first trapped below deck until a jacob's ladder was thrown down to him. When he arrived on deck, Graves found the ship sinking and his leg broken and bleeding. Graves was loaded aboard an Australian rescue ship and after six weeks in the hospital, he returned to the Sommelsdyke which had been pulled from under the water and repaired.