Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remembering the Rohna: A World War II Secret and Tragedy

A tragedy shrouded by military secrecy.

Paul Kengor May 27, 2017

ny veteran of World War II can tell you some interesting stories. But for Frank E. Bryer, his story — one he could never forget — was a terrible one. It began the moment his ship, the Rohna, was sunk. When that ship went down on November 26, 1943, Frank’s life changed forever. And very few people beyond the men tossed into the sea ever knew what had happened.

The HMT Rohna was an 8,600-ton British troopship carrying mostly an American crew to the Far East theatre. It went down the day after Thanksgiving, in the Mediterranean, off the coast of North Africa, the victim of a German missile. But it was not just any German missile. This was, it seems, the first known successful “hit” of a vessel by a German rocket-boosted, radio/remote-controlled “glider” bomb — i.e., one of the first true missiles used in combat. It was, in effect, a guided missile, and the Nazis had achieved it first.........And like so many World War II soldiers, Frank’s ordeal did not earn him a ticket home after having experienced enough trauma for a lifetime. He was ordered to heal up and return to the service, which he did through the duration of the war, and then some. He was officially discharged on March 21, 1946 after an endless bout of island-hopping throughout the Pacific theater.

That, too, was no day at the beach.......

Frank Bryer died on January 4, 2016 at age 92, seven decades after the sinking of the Rohna. He at long last rests in peace. And perhaps only now has he been reconciled with those wounded boys who plunged to their death below him on November 26, 1943.

This Memorial Day, let’s remember him, them, and the Rohna......To Read More....


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