Pvt Henry Grzywacz

Pvt Henry Grzywacz

Birth
New York, USA
Death 26 Nov 1943 (aged 24–25)
At Sea
Burial Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia
Plot Tablets Of The Missing ~ Army
Memorial ID 56247390 · View Source
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Henry served as a Private, 31st Signal Construction Battalion, U.S. Army during World War II.

He resided in Erie County, New York prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army on November 14, 1942 in Buffalo, New York. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed in the manufacture of leather and also as Single, without dependents.

Henry was a passenger on the HMT Rohna.

The Rohna and four other troop ships left Oran in French Algeria with cargo and troops. Off Béjaïa, Algeria the convoy was attacked by an estimated 60 German Luftwaffe Heinkel 177's. One of the 177's, piloted by Hans Dochtermann, released a glide bomb that hit Rohna on her port side and she eventually sank.

1,138 men were killed, including 1,015 U.S. personnel. The attack is the largest loss of US troops at sea due to enemy action in a single incident. 35 U.S. troops of the 2,000 originally embarked later died of wounds.

Henry "Died Of Injuries" received in this sinking during the war. He was picked up by the U.S.S. Pioneer where he died of his injuries. He was buried at sea.

He was awarded the Purple Heart and was buried at sea.

Service # 32582241

Bio by: Russ Pickett

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US Army WORLD WAR II
Passenger Private Henry Grzywacz MIA/KIA
31st Signal Construction Battalion
Hometown: New York
Ship: HMT Rohna
Service # 32582241
Awards: Purple Heart
Captain:

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.

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  • Maintained by: Russ Pickett
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56247390
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt Henry Grzywacz (1918–26 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56247390, citing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .