In memory of my father, Anthony N. LoFrese
853rd Engineers Aviation Battalion

I found a scripted poem
On paper torn and old
The Sinking of the Rohna
The story he had told

My dad survived the Rohna’s plight
November, forty-three
He clung to life, beat the odds
The ship made history

The story in the poem
About a place and time
World War II, Thanksgiving eve
A quatrain, in perfect rhyme

Metal flying guns ablaze
He told of tears and screams
Some let go or slipped away
Their faces haunted dreams

When I was young he told tales
Of times he spent abroad
He made me laugh, then he’d cry
And often thanked the Lord

In waters cold, filled with death
Young men in rafts or floats
Held tightly to their comrades arms
There were no working boats

Their transport, H.M.T. Rohna
A British merchant ship
Transformed in military style
Commissioned, but unfit

He said torpedoes hit the ship
Gibraltar in his sight
But Germans launched a missile
Sank the ship that night

The things he saw he tried to hide
With humor or a joke
We never knew the real truth
The story never broke

My father died in eighty-nine
At the age of seventy
Long before the world would learn
About the largest loss at sea