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Thank you for visiting the Rohna Survivors Memorial Association website. We encourage you to post to our Guestbook. You can ask general questions or make inquiries about specific people. The entries are public, so if you have a private question, please use our confidential Contact form.

 

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Jennifer Smith Jennifer Smith from Levittown, PA wrote on May 26, 2017 at 11:48 am:
Hi, I’ve recently found out that my Uncle William M Fairhurst was aboard the Rohna. He was a US Army Private from Pennsylvania and was listed as Missing in Action on 11/27/1943 and is listed on this site as a casualty. While I never met him, my mom remembers him fondly. I know it’s a long shot but if anyone has any information or heard any stories about him, I’d be very interested to hear them. Thanks, Jennifer
Joanne Ramirez Joanne Ramirez from Canoga Park wrote on May 25, 2017 at 11:54 am:
Until I found this website the stories of my Uncle Guy Tramontano were just that, stories. My Mom passed 6 months ago and she never forgot her brother or the story about how he parrished. I wish I'd only have found this website before she died so she could have some closure over her precious brother's death.
sharon mitchell sharon mitchell from slc wrote on May 21, 2017 at 11:24 pm:
Hi folks, Harry (Harold) Rosen of the 853 was a casualty. I recently had a stone erected at Arlington for him as he was lost at sea. My dad passed away without any information about his brother. Does anyone know anything about him?
Diane Wahl Diane Wahl from Post Falls ID wrote on April 14, 2017 at 5:51 am:
My uncle Loyal Smith was on the Rohna. He was married with a new baby when he left for war. He was washed ashore at Algiers. My 87 year old mother wonders if any of the survivors remember him.
Marcy Brod Marcy Brod from Mount Laurel wrote on March 15, 2017 at 4:19 pm:
My 93 year old dad is a survivor of the Rohna. He lives in Marlton, NJ. His name is Robert I Greenberg originally from Phila. Does anyone know how many survivors are still with us?
Joseph W Hakkinen, PhD Joseph W Hakkinen, PhD from Bastrop Texas wrote on January 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm:
My uncle, Lawrence Lukasevicius from Gardner Massachusetts was one of the many who died on the Rohna. He has one surviving sister, Monica L Lukasevicius (Hakkinen), who will be 102 in April 2017 and still lives in Gardner MA. One of my cousins, James Kraskouskas, from the same home town has organized a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of our Uncle Larry for June of this year. We will be thinking of the families of all those who perished along with our uncle on the HMT Rohna. I appreciate reading the accounts of the survivors of this tragedy. Thank you.
James Kraskouskas James Kraskouskas from Gardner, MA wrote on January 9, 2017 at 6:30 am:
On June 17, 2017 at 1:15PM we will be having a Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery for my Uncle Cpl Lawrence Lucasavicius.
Dennis Hume Dennis Hume wrote on November 26, 2016 at 1:00 am:
On the anniversary of this awful event my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Dennis Hume Grandson of Captain T.J.Murphy, Master of HMT Rohna
Laurie Hiatt Laurie Hiatt wrote on November 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm:
Robert C. Hiatt from Ft. Smith AR was my great Uncle. He was among the 1,015 who died in the attack. He was in the 853rd Engineer BN. Avn. Corps of Eng. He was 32 years old and the son of Sherman and Maude Hiatt.
Brian Paul Thibodeau Brian Paul Thibodeau wrote on October 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm:
I ran into a man last night who told me a story about the Rohna Disaster. He said he was posted to the prow of the ship one moment and in the water the next. On his next posting he was pulled aside by commander, and he was asked where he had been wounded. He replied he was unable to speak about it. The Capt. Pushed for an answer it was the same. The Capt. was able to learn something and put the man up for a Purple Heart. The soldier told him he could not accept the medal -- he would not be able explain it.
Arron Paskavitch Arron Paskavitch wrote on October 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm:
My grandfather John Paskowski was a great man and almost a friend to me. I remember playing tic-tac-toe with him as a young boy.
Traci Mills Traci Mills wrote on September 28, 2016 at 11:18 am:
My grandfather, Edward \"Pete\" Willeford was on the Rhona and survived the attack. He passed away some years back but our family still honors his service and sacrifice along with all those who served on the Rhona. I hope to some day visit the memorial in his honor. Thank you for continuing to honor those that served on the Rhona.
Karen Davis Karen Davis wrote on September 26, 2016 at 8:32 pm:
Hello, I write today after doing a little research about the HMT Rohna and finding this website. My grandfather is Wheeler, Sgt. James E. RH705AAA and he was a survivor of this disaster. Sadly, he passed away last week at the age of 97. He led a full life and didn\'t slow down until a few years ago. I am very proud to call him my grandpa and to have him with us as long as we did. My heart aches for all the men that lost their lives that day. May all of the men Rest in Peace. With deepest regards, Karen Davis
S. Mazanka S. Mazanka wrote on September 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm:
Hi. my relative, Walter J. Mazanka (possibly service # T/5, 36555153 CE or technician fifth grade serv ) served on the Rohna._ Does anyone have pictures, please?_ they would be the only pics we\'d have of him._ Or stories if anyone knew him. _all relatives of his have passed, so I want to get as much info as I can._ {I did buy the Rohna book} Thanks much
Emily A Diana Emily A Diana wrote on August 17, 2016 at 2:47 am:
I am the daughter of Emanuel \"Min\" Diana, who was a survivor of the Rohna
Heather Paulsen Heather Paulsen wrote on July 30, 2016 at 4:39 am:
My great uncle Clyde Lerand died on the Rohna. I recall many stories from my grandmother of her five brothers, but Clyde dying and a second brother dying 7 months after was heartbreaking for a little sister. She shared the details of the men coming to the door to tell my great grandparents the news. She told me he drown while trying to save another. I don\'t know if this was fact or something the family was told to help comfort them.
Beth Manry Beth Manry wrote on July 12, 2016 at 3:00 am:
Such a tragedy.
Patricia paternoster Patricia paternoster wrote on July 4, 2016 at 4:55 am:
My father was a survivor of the Rhona his name was Anthony paternoster he\'s no longer with us but I\'m sure he would have appreciated this website
Vest,Avery C. Vest,Avery C. wrote on June 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm:
I am the grandson of Vest,Drexel Pfc. 35798183 AC.I was wondering if any of the survivors remembered him? My father never got to meet him,as my grandmother was expecting him,when my grandfather shipped out.I would love to hear some stories about him,if at all possible?
Mary Jo Bryer Palmer Mary Jo Bryer Palmer wrote on June 22, 2016 at 1:23 am:
My father, Frank Bryer, was a Rhona survivor. I had hoped to come to the reunion this year, as it is closer to me than other years, but I cannot. My father had nightmares and relived his experience for many years, although able to share it with high school students up until 5 years ago when his memory started to fade and speech became more difficult. He died in January this year and I honored his Army service and Rhona experience in his eulogy, showing his strength and faith from this experience making him the man he was. A Grove City College professor attended the funeral and after hearing the story, he wrote an article for a the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. I have attached the link to this email. (http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/10556968-74/frank-rohna-survivors) and the article is below: Remembering the Rohna By Paul Kengor | Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9:00 p.m. A reunion will be held this month at the Crowne Plaza in Dayton, Ohio. It will be unlike any of your family reunions this summer. Very few will know about it, and fewer still will attend, including the tiny number of remaining survivors. The survivors probably will not include many (if any) of the 19 men from Allegheny County who served in the 322nd Fighter Control Squadron and 853rd Engineer Aviation Battalion — who experienced the horror of the event. The reunion will be for the survivors of something called the Rohna. The Rohna was a huge British ship that on Nov. 26, 1943, the day after Thanksgiving, was transporting an American crew to the Far East. It went down in the Mediterranean, the victim of a German missile. It was not just any missile. This was the first successful “hit” by a radio/remote-controlled “glider” bomb. It was a guided missile, and the Nazis had achieved the technology first. More than 1,000 soldiers perished, rivaling the loss at the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. But these boys would get no memorial. Their government kept the entire episode secret out of fear of information being leaked about the Germans\' new weapon. “The U.S. government placed a veil of secrecy upon it,” states the Website of the Rohna Survivors Association. “The events which followed were so shameful that the secrecy continued for decades until recently, when documents were grudgingly released under pressure of the Freedom of Information Act. The government still does not acknowledge this tragedy; thus most families of the casualties still do not know the fate of their loved ones.” It is sad that only now, long after the few survivors are even fewer, that the Rohna survivors are attempting to hold reunions. One who will not be attending is Frank Bryer of Grove City. “Dad was haunted frequently by this,” Frank\'s daughter, Mary Jo, told me, “but it was not so much the sinking of the ship, but his inability to save many men that haunted him.” As the ship burst into a fireball, Frank was directed toward a lifeboat packed with injured soldiers. He was ordered to single-handedly lower the boat. This was no simple task, especially in a chaotic situation. A craft filled with men isn\'t light, and the engulfing flames didn\'t help. The ropes broke and Frank watched the men below him fall into the sea to their death. Frank soon was forced to abandon ship as it quickly submerged. For his own crowded lifeboat, he and five other men seized a passing wooden bench. As the darkness slowly enveloped them, and with fear of more German missiles — and deadly sharks — Frank led the group in reciting the Lord\'s Prayer. The crew of six clung to their floating device. To their great fortune, they were in the water only for about six hours. A mine-sweep picked them up. They were taken to a facility in Algeria to recover. But for Frank, there was little comfort: “All I could think about was … the wounded soldiers that I could not save…. I couldn\'t sleep and had bad dreams, sometimes jumping out of bed and yelling for help.” Worse, Frank was not permitted to share what he went through. The survivors were ordered not to write or talk about the Rohna with their family or even among themselves. The military censorship was so strict that they were threatened with court martial if they disobeyed. But not anymore. This month in Dayton, the few survivors of the Rohna will talk openly at long last. But Frank Bryer will not be there. He died in January at age 92. May Frank Bryer rest in peace. And may the few survivors of the Rohna find some measure of peace. Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His column appears on the first Sunday of the month. He plans to write another article closer to Veteran\'s Day with more information. I have made a scrapbook of dad\'s story. I hope someday in the near future to get to a reunion. Mary Jo Bryer Palmer daughter of a Rhona Survivor, Frank E. Bryer