I only just learned of this tragedy because your group is considering our hotel for a 2016 meeting. I was curious about the tragedy and am saddened to hear of the scope of lives lost and the secrecy that went on far too long. I have more than a passing interest in WWII maritime warfare as my Grandfather was a Merchant Marine in the South Pacific. I am stunned I never heard of this before. Seems like I have a bit more research to do.
God Bless all of you!
Jack Sparacio was my uncle. George Straty wrote that my Uncle Jack died saving someone else. I would have loved to have met him. All of the stories that I have heard of him all relate that he was a very caring and funny man. I hope to make a trip to see the Rohna Memorial one day.
My Great Uncle Cletus E. Beatty was a member of the 853rd Engineer BN. Avn. Corps of Eng, and perished in the sea in the loss of the HMT Rohna. His body washed ashore in North Africa, was buried there, later reburied in Italy, and then once again disinterred in Italy so that he could be repatriated to his family and to the country for which he made the ultimate sacrifice. He was reburied in Ivy Green Cemetery, Bremerton, Washington, where his remains rest to this day. His younger brother, my grandfather, Gerald Beatty, fought in the South Pacific and along with their other siblings and family members, mourned the loss of Cletus for the rest of their lives.
Are their any survivors who remember Weldon Wald. He was my dad\'s best friend. I was named after him.
Mort Brayer was in the SC: 31st Signal Construction Battalion. He went on to serve in the CBI.
I remember my father, Morten F. Brayer, talking about being sunk on the HMT Rhona a few times. Bad food, the horror of those trapped inside, the escape from the ship, the long hours in the water, and the eventual rescue. His experiences help me appreciate the sacrifices of all veterans that were made to protect their home and families.
On November 27, 1943, I marked my first birthday in CT. The day before, my uncle, Wargo, Albert S., Cpl., 33292627, AAF, perished on the Rohna. When he left the US in September, he had just been married in CT to my Aunt Elizabeth O\'Brien, my mother\'s sister. Thus, I never knew my Uncle Al. But I heard of him from my mother . I know my Aunt Elizabeth mourned him deeply . (She died in 2011.) His brother John Wargo died in action south of Rome in November, 1942 . I cannot imagine the grief John and Al\'s parents and two sisters endured. The men on the Rohna , casualties and survivors, deserve our greatest thanks and praise.
I am hoping someone might remember Albert Wargo and tell me more of his story.
My great uncle Feliciano Garcia with the 853rd engineer battalion perished on the Rohna. After searching several military archive websites I was able to find out a lot of information my grandmother never knew of her brother. If anyone has any pictures of the 853rd please contact me, 940 595-1638. Thank you and never forget our fallen heroes.
Dwight F., Sgt., 19100125, INF
This was my uncle. His family never knew what happened and never got over the uncertainty of his death. His family had his Purple Heart but never his story. Dwight was greatly loved and the youngest of the family. My brother was named after him. I hope one day this story gets the attention it deserves.
My Uncle William J. Schneider was on the Rohna. He was in the 853rd Engineer Aviation Battalion. He did not survive. I like to think his death was quick, with no suffering... My Father Harvey Schneider received a visit at his home with an officer telling his brother was lost at sea. My Father passed away in 1987 never knowing the truth of how his brother died. He talked of him on occasion with sadness in his eyes. He named my brother after him. My brother now holds his purple heart that was sent to my father. William ( my brother ) found out about the Rohna a few years back. Needless to say all William\'s nieces and nephews were very shocked that this was covered up for so long. Also very difficult to think of all the young lives lost that day. William was 19 or 20 years old. Many Thanks for all that serve our country !!!
My name is Halie S. Ellsworth and I was just recounted and amazing story of my great grandfather, John Lincoln Gray, 853rd Engineer BN. Avn. Corps of Eng. and I am just in awe. My uncle just explained his entire military experience and his death and how he died on the Rohna ship. I only just found out about this now, May 15th, 2015, and I would like to get as much information as possible about him. Anyone?
I was watching the History channel and found out about the Rohna. It is a real shame the government kept this hidden for so long. The men are heroes.
Thanks for all the work establishing this memorial. I was searching for information on a relative that I knew was killed on a troop ship in WW II but our family thought he was traveling to England. I can now put accurate information in our \"Family Tree\" and for the Find A Grave memorial for 30 year old Pvt. Homer S. Jones, KIA on the Rohna.
My Uncle who I am named after (Philip R Ramos) was killed on the Rohna. My family did not know until I found this site in the late 90\'s
My great uncle (Bill Caskey) was a survivor... and a hero like so many who served in WWII. This story should front and center in history books and taught in classrooms - for shame that it was kept in the dark for so long. A thank you from my generation to all who have or now serve for my freedom, May you never be \'hidden\' but honored.
Sgt Dwight F Bannon 19100125 was an ancestor of mine. He was unmarried at the time of the tragedy and left no heirs. I am his 3rd cousin.
My name is Jeffrey Gray and my grandfather, John Lincoln Gray, 853rd Engineer BN. Avn. Corps of Eng, was one of those who lost his life aboard the Rohna. I only learned of the details surrounding my grandfathers death in the last few years and I would like to get in touch with anyone who may have known him. He was from West Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Anyone?
My uncle William Carl DeLamater serial# 39262653 AAF is said to have died aboard the Rohna.
Birth: Oct. 17, 1920
Death: Nov. 27, 1943, At Sea
USAAF WORLD WAR II
Passenger Tech/5th. Class William De Lameter DIS
Unit: 322nd Fighter Control Squad. Aviation
Awards: Purple Heart
As a follow-up to my previous post about my father, Rohna survivor Arnold R. Wilde.
We are not related to any of the other Wilde\'s on either list. My Grandfather Wilde was Latvian. He changed the spelling of our name from Vilde to Wilde and pronounced the \"e\" after immigrating to America.
My Dad, Arnold R. Wilde, passed away April 26, 2013 at the age of 95. He retained a sharp mind right up to the end. I miss him so very much as well as my mother who passed away on June 6, 2003. My siblings and I are the most fortunate kids in the world to have the parents we did.
Michael M. Wilde
My father Arnold R. Wilde was a survivor of the sinking of the Rohna. He was a Captain at the time and Battalion Adjutant of the 853rd Engineer Aviation Battalion. As did many, Dad spent several hours in the Mediterranean and was one of those rescued by the Pioneer. His legs were badly burned during the incident. He also distinctly remembers being in Bougie not Phillipveille. Whether he was transported to Bougie after disembarking in Phillipeville or not I do not know or recall him saying so.
He rarely if ever mentioned the ordeal of the Rohna until he was well into his 60\'s as I remember. I was a caregiver for him for several years. I am also a Navy veteran. Those who served in the military talk to others who served in a way difficult for others to completely understand. Most of the things he described are too horrendous to mention but remained vivid -- permanently etched in his mind. He recalled the surrealness of the ordeal. He finally jumped ship with a fellow 853rd officer James Stewart (not the actor). He also mentioned the fire from the Rohna lighting up the surrounding waters and how the strafing went on until the Rohna sunk and the fires dissipated.
He doesn\'t exactly remember what it was he and others were holding onto once in the water. Some piece of the Rohna. But he described riding the waves. How they would ride up a wave and go under the next wave on a rhythmic basis -- up on one and other the next. He said everytime they went into or under a wave he didn\'t know if he had the strength to hold on. Some didn\'t. In other words, he doesn\'t know how he survived and why others didn\'t.
Dad went on to India with a remand 853rd and crisscrossed India building airfields in support of the Burma campaign. Dad was discharged at the rank of Major in 1946.