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.