SGT James C. Boyer

SGT James C. Boyer

Death 26 Nov 1943 (aged 21)
At Sea
Burial Indianola, Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA
Plot Section B
Memorial ID 124759011 · View Source
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Passenger Sgt. James C. Boyer KIA
Ship: HMT Rohna
Service #20462441
Awards: Purple Heart

Mission: Troop Transport Convoy KMF-26
Loss Date: November 26, 1943
Location: Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Algeria.
Cause: German guided missile
Crew: On Board 2000 · Saved 606 · Lost 1138

This was the first successful "hit" of a merchant vessel at sea carrying US troops by a German remote-controlled, rocket-boosted bomb, thus giving birth to the "Missile Age", and it resulted in the greatest loss of troops (1,015) at sea in U.S. history. Combined with the loss of ship's crew and officers, and three Red Cross workers, more lives were lost than on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

The "hit" was so devastating that the U.S. Government placed a veil of secrecy upon it. The events which followed were so shameful that the secrecy continued for decades until recently (1967), when documents were grudgingly released under pressure of the Freedom of Information Act. The government still does not acknowledge this tragedy, thus most families of the casualties still do not know the fate of their loved ones.

In 1995, over fifty years later, a group of survivors, next-of-kin and rescuers, came together for the sole purpose of enabling the creation and dedication of a Rohna Memorial.

On November 26, 1943 nearly two thousand American soldiers faced the most traumatic experience of their young lives.

They woke up that morning aboard a vessel that some described as unfit for human habitation. Just a bunch of kids, mostly only a year or so out of high school.

Exhibiting the expected Yankee cockiness, they were ready to take on anything the war had to offer. Having survived a Thanksgiving Day dinner the day before, things just had to get better. The sad part of it was, this would be the last Thanksgiving for over half of them!

The minesweeper USS Pioneer rescued 606 survivors of the sinking.

Visit the virtual cemetery of the " HMT Rohna Crew

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  • Created by: RWicks
  • Added: 6 Feb 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 124759011
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SGT James C. Boyer (26 Aug 1922–26 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 124759011, citing Indianola City Cemetery, Indianola, Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by RWicks (contributor 46792405) .