PFC Leonard Russell Johnson

PFC Leonard Russell Johnson

Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, USA
Death 26 Nov 1943 (aged 32)
Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia
Burial Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 106240321 · View Source
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Leonard's sister Lillian wrote on 7-24-2000: "Leonard Russell Johnson was an army radio operator on a bomber and they were shot down over Italy. His wife died a few years ago."
Leonard R. Johnson was a PFC in the USAAF, service # 37493476. He entered the service in Kansas City, Missouri. According to military records, he died 27 November 1943 and is listed as Missing in Action or Buried at Sea. His name is on the Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia. Leonard was awarded the Purple Heart, Good Conduct, World War II Victory Medal and Honorable Service Lapel Button WW II. Resource; American Battle Monuments Commission at and the National Archives and Records Administration.
American Battle Monuments Commission can be viewed on the Internet at, from here you can view the cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia.

Leonard was assigned to the 322nd Fighter Control Squadron, and was shipped overseas from Virginia to a place called Betro, Algiers in October 1943. They arrived in November and on the 25th of November the entire squadron was ordered to Bombay, India. They were loaded onto a British troop/cargo ship called the HMT Rohna and spent the night of November 25, 1943 in port. On the morning of the 26th they sailed to a rendezvous point in the Mediterranean Sea to join with a convoy code named "Annex" consisting of 24 vessels in 3 columns of 8 ships each. At midday on the 26th, the convoy was told to expect an attack that day and at about 1630 hours it came. Two waves of German bombers attacked the convoy and failed, after numerous attempts, to hit and sink any vessels until 1 German He177 dropped a new remote controlled glider bomb from about 10 miles away and it found it's target, the HMT Rohna. The Rohna had 2000 U.S. servicemen aboard along with her crew and she sank in about 1/2 an hour after the blast tore a hole through the entire mid section of the ship. 300 men lost their lives instantly. All together, 1015 U.S. servicemen lost their lives that day, only a handful fewer than had perished in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona. This was the largest loss of American lives at sea in recorded history. The U.S. Government kept this incident under a veil of secrecy because they did not want the Germans to know how successful their new weapon was. About 1996 small bits of information about this tragedy started to become public and in October and November of 2000, both the House and Senate passed Resolutions acknowledging this terrible loss of human life. Sadly, this was too late for most of the Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters of those brave men who perished that night as they were merely told that their sons were "lost at sea" or "missing in action." Glen Williams.
The 322nd FIghter Control Squadron went on to India via the Suez Canal, across India to Assam, India; then via C-47 aircraft over the notorious "Hump" into China where we were based at Kunming. assigned to the 14th U.S. Air Force, also known as the "Flying Tigers".
In June of 1945 I was retruned to the U.S. and got my honorable discharge under the Army's "Point System".

The War Department suppressed the loss incident, sending to family members the following:
"December 29, 1943. Leonard R. Johnson was passenger aboard troop ship which was sunk as a result of enemy action. Ship struck at night and sank very rapidly. Despite every effort many American soldiers listed as missing as a result of this action. Leonard R. Johnson still listed as missing but little hope held that he is still alive."

On October 20, 2007, I, Glen Williams was notified by post card from the Superintendent, Arlington national Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia that the Memorial Marker requested by myself had been received and placed in section K space 101. Lorraine JOHNSON Yates then arranged for military services for Leonard, which were held on 15 Nov. 2007.


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  • Created by: Glen Williams
  • Added: 5 Mar 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 106240321
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Leonard Russell Johnson (28 Aug 1911–26 Nov 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 106240321, citing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia ; Maintained by Glen Williams (contributor 46928274) .