Memorial Post #274 Hudson-Adams-Carpenter Post #473
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR WWII VICTIMS ABOARD THE HMT ROHNA
July 27th, 2002
the grounds of American Legion Memorial Post 274
& Jefferson Street, Camden NJ
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR WWII VICTIMS ABOARD THE HMT ROHNA
TAKEN JULY 27, 2002
Click on Photos for Enlarged Views
|Phil Cohen at Podium,
Yatzus and Steffanice families seated
|Sean McCormack, Phil Cohen,
Rev. Guenther Fritsch, Colonel John Rawley
Post 473 Camden NJ Colors
Post 133 Woodbury NJ Colors
|Rev. Guenther Fritsch delivers the Invocatopn|
|Sean McCormack's opening remarks||Ed Caffrey delivering a message
The Rhona Survivors Memorial Association
|Another view of Ed Caffrey speaking.
The woman in red is
Gwendolyn Faison, Mayor of Camden NJ
|A view of the monument.
The names of Rohna victims
Frank Ballerino and Michael Carr
|Colonel John Rawley||Sean McCormack & Colonel John Rawley|
|Mayor Gwendolyn Faison||Mayor Gwendolyn Faison|
|Phil Cohen||Phil Cohen|
|Closing Remarks||Moment of Silence|
|Rhona Survivor Carlo Veterano||Guest, World War II Combat Veteran
Leon B. Cohen
|Colonel John Rawley||Phil Cohen and a Next of Kin Survivor|
Memorial Post 274, Camden NJ
|Assorted Next of Kin Survivors.
Harold Olsen, brother of Sgt. A.W. Olsen, with
Robert Moore, President of VFW Post 11468
|Left, Survivor Aaron Weber||Center, Survivor Abe Marks|
|Click on Photos for Enlarged Views|
|Mayor Faison||Gary from Post 473,
and a Camden NJ Police officer
Post 473 Camden NJ
Department Vice Commander
Department of NJ,
& a guest from of Post 133, Woodbury NJ
|Guests from Post 133 & Post 262||Guests from Post 286 & Post 262|
|Hudson-Adams-Carpenter Post 473 Drill Team|
Michael Feret, Vice-Commander
American Legion Post 121 Camden NJ
Commander, Polish Army Veterans Post #121 Camden NJ
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Alvin Deford, James McNamee,
Michael Gryzbowski, Military Order of the Purple Heart
|Kathy Lofland, Post 473 Drill Team &
Robert Phillips, Department Vice Cmndr.
|Another Chow Line|
|Soldiers from US Army National Guard||JoAnn Cohen &
Admiral Thomas Siegenthaler, USN (Ret.)
|Rohna Survivor Tony Bushur, Phil Cohen,
Carol Moore VFW Ladies Auxilary #2159, Robert Moore, President VFW Post #11468
Rohna Survivor Aaron Weber
& his wife, Lucille Weber.
|Carlo Veterano, Phil Cohen, Ace Baldisseri|
|Click on Photos for Enlarged Views|
of the Colors
Guenther K. Fritsch
Pledge of Allegiance, Sean
Opening Remarks, Sean
Message from The Rohna
Survivors Memorial Association,
Remarks from Colonel John
Rawley, U.S. Army Special Forces, Retired
7. Address by Mayor Gwendolyn Faison, of Camden NJ
Message from Congressman
9. Moment of Silence
Closing Remarks, Phillip M.
14. Retire the Colors
TEXT of ADDRESSES DELIVERED
SURVIVORS MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION
This statement is in remembrance
of the historical and tragic sinking of the British troopship HMT Rohna on
November 26, 1943 in the Mediterranean Sea off the North Africa coast
Those of us who experienced and survived that ordeal, and the
hundreds of families who lost loved ones, stand together today in
commemoration of that loss.
tragic loss of 1015 soldiers of more than 2000 aboard the Rohna marked the
greatest loss of American military personnel at sea during wartime in our
history. It also introduced
the deadly results made possible by the use of radio controlled guided
missiles. That weapon
released at dusk from a German bomber overhead crippled the Rohna in its
initial blow. The vessel sank
within an hour’s time. The
success of that attack immediately resulted in a cloak of secrecy by
Allied Forces that, ironically, lasted over 50 years.
The Rohna Survivors Memorial Association was established years ago dedicated to let the American public know what happened and to reveal some of the frightful circumstances surrounding the incident. Now, with one voice the organization has revealed the tragic story to the Congress resulting in official recognition in Joint Resolution #408. Across the country we have publicized the story in newspaper articles, magazines, and in television programs. Several books have been written by our own members and others. Periodical newsletters go to our membership of over 600, and we have an active websiteThe Rohna Survivors Memorial Association was established years ago.
We are proud of our efforts to tell the Rohna story. Our crusade will continue as long as necessary to reach all those involved and particularly the families who to this day are not aware of how their loved ones were lost. We honor those who died. They were heroes. The Rohna, with other convoy ships, was blazing a new trail into the China Burma India Theater of Operation through German controlled waters. The Camden Community has done a magnificent job locating these families so they can be honored. You are gathered here today in tribute to those men you lost when the Rohna sank. We welcome you and we are proud indeed to add your names to our rosters. Your voices will now be added to ours as we all remember the Rohna. Those you lost certainly did not die in vain. God bless them always.
A STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSMAN ROB ANDREWSk
I want to applaud the American Legion Post 274 and Post 473 for holding this important Memorial today to recognize the 20 South Jersey men who were killed in action when the HMT Rohna was sunk by a German guided missile on November 27, 1943 in the Mediterranean Sea off the North African coast. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this Memorial today because of a prior responsibility to my family. America commemorates the soldiers lost aboard the HMT Rohna. 1,015 soldiers out of more than 2,000 aboard the Rohna marked the greatest loss of American military personnel at sea during wartime in our history. A total of 20 men from South Jersey, 6 of them from Camden, perished in this tragedy. The facts of this event were kept secret from our nation for reasons of national security. Astonishingly, this secret was irresponsibly kept for over 50 years. It was not until the 1990s when the truth was finally brought to light. As a result of this decades old secret, countless family members were left in the dark as to what happened to their loved ones aboard the HMT Rohna.
I want to acknowledge organizations such as the American Legion and the Rohna Survivors Memorial Association for informing the soldiers' loved ones and the public about the truth of this tragedy. This has allowed some of the family members to attain some closure as to what happened to their loved ones. It has also allowed our nation to properly recognize the heroic acts of bravery that these soldiers displayed in giving their lives for our country. This is why I supported HOUSE CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION 408 in the 106th Congress in the House of Representatives, which expresses appreciation for the United States service members who were aboard the British transport HMT ROHNA when it sank, the families of these service members, and the rescuers of the HMT ROHNA's passengers and crew. Again, I want to applaud the American Legion Memorial Post 274 and Hudson-Adams-Carpenter Post 473 for holding this important Memorial today to honor these soldiers who so proudly served our nation.
Years ago, when most of the men honored here today were called to
service, our country was at war. America had been attacked, by air, by
sea, and on land. Our nation called on all its men….. not just its 19
year olds, not just its uneducated, and not just those without wealth
and social connections. The first men called were single men aged 21 to
35. After Pearl Harbor, Selective Service extended its hand to married
men 18 to 38, and briefly to those aged up to 45. America’s defense
was everyone’s business.
At this time, I will turn the microphone over the
Reverend Guenther Fritsch, who will lead us in the Benediction.
Phillip Cohen, as read by himself
This event centered on a memorial service to recognize the 20 South Jersey men who were
killed in action when the HMT Rohna was sunk by a German guided missile on
November 26, 1943. Due to the need for wartime secrecy, the facts of this event
were held secret. Sadly, the government kept this information a secret, and only
in the 1990’s was the truth brought to light, and family members were finally
able to learn the truth about the fate of their loved ones. This event was the first official recognition of the sacrifice made by these men and their
families to take place in the State of New Jersey.
At least 13 of the 20 affected families were [resent for this
ceremony, as well as several survivors of the tragedy.
At least 13 of the 20 affected families were [resent for this ceremony, as well as several survivors of the tragedy.
This ceremony took place at 12:00 Noon, and featured messages
from the military. our district's Congressman, and the Rohna
Survivors Memorial Association. Our best estimate places 150 persons in
SOUTH JERSEY MEN LOST ON THE ROHNA
Families present for this ceremony are in BLUE letters
V. Taylor Jr.
SEE THE VIDEO OF THIS EVENT
The video that was shot of this event was made by Jo-Ann Cohen. It was her
first time using a camcorder, and credit is due her for her efforts in
ensuring that the entire ceremony was caught on tape.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
WILLIAM WILTSEY, POST COMMANDER
American Legion Memorial Post 274 * 1944 South Broadway Camden NJ 08104
Cell Phone: 609-217-2228 Post Phone: 856-365-1533
Office Phone: 856-968-2724 Home Phone: 856-541-2284
American Legion Hudson-Adams-Carpenter Post 473 Phone: 856-338-0377
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HMT ROHNA INTERNET MEMORIAL
The Rohna Memorial Survivors Association