The Rohna Survivors Memorial Association was formed in 1998. Soon after Charles Osgood’s radio program talked about the Rohna attack, survivors started reaching out to each other and formed the Association. Their goal was to bring the Rohna story before the public, to honor the men who lost their lives in the attack and search for the families of those who perished, to provide information they never had about the fate of their loved ones.
In our research for the documentary to date, we believe that approximately 36 of the Rohna casualties are buried overseas. Most of them were interred at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Tunisia. 5 soldiers were buried at sea. 80 remains of Rohna casualties have been repatriated to a US cemetery. 894 of the 1015 casualties were never recovered and are memorialized on the Wall of the Missing in North Africa.
The 853rd Aviation Engineer Battalion website is designed to tell their stories, to provide closure to families who never knew what their relatives did during the war. In partnership with the HMT Rohna Survivors Memorial Association, this site also serves to provide access to those searching for answers. The 853rd Aviation Engineer Battalion was formed on 1 January 1943 at Dyersburg Army Air Field, Tennessee under the command of Major Alexander J. Frolich. Even before they entered combat overseas, the battalion faced significant obstacles here at home including being called upon to repair broken levees on the Mississippi River during the 1943 flood.
HMT Rohna was a British India Steam Navigation Company passenger and cargo liner that was built on Tyneside in 1926 as SS Rohna and requisitioned as a troop ship in 1940. ("HMT" stands for His Majesty's Transport.) Rohna was sunk in the Mediterranean in November 1943 by a Henschel Hs 293 guided glide bomb launched by a Luftwaffe aircraft. More than 1,100 people were killed, most of whom were US troops.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Rohna attack, the Dyer County Historical Society And The Dyersburg/Dyer County Arts Council proudly present: APRON STRINGS - A One Act Play By Catherine Ladnier In its Radio Broadcast Premiere at the ROHNA REUNION, Memphis Tennessee - June 22, 2018.