PFC Grover Bartlett Coffey

PFC Grover Bartlett Coffey

Seminole County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 27 Nov 1943 (aged 22)
At Sea
Burial Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 56246228 · View Source
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Son of Ephriam Vanwinkle Coffey and Mamie Olive Sneed. Brother of Bessie Belle, Mary Alice, Mabel Madeline, Betty Jean, Marvin Merritt and twin Baby Boy's (died at birth) Coffey.

Name: Grover B Coffey
Inducted From: Oklahoma
Rank: Private
Combat Organization: 853rd Engineers Battalion Aviation
Death Date: 27 Nov 1943
Monument: North Africa
Last Known Status: Missing
U.S. Awards: Purple Heart Medal

Info kindly supplied by John Dowdy:

US Army Air Corps WORLD WAR II
Passenger Pfc. Grover B. Coffey MIA/KIA
853rd Engineer Battalion, Aviation
Hometown: Oklahoma
Ship: HMT Rohna
Service # 38327052
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

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Oklahoma.


Planning a visit to North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial?



  • Maintained by: Jeannie Wood
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56246228
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Grover Bartlett Coffey (4 Mar 1921–27 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56246228, citing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia ; Maintained by Jeannie Wood (contributor 46935703) .