NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Ever catch yourself abruptly pulled out of a war movie? The squad’s cut off, outnumbered, outflanked, and ready to make their last stand. As the camera pans slowly past all those beautiful and heroic Hollywood faces, you catch a glimpse of some random GI in the background — his unit patch is upside down, finger on the trigger, and he’s leaning on his rifle, with the muzzle in the mud, like an old man’s walking stick.
For months, rumors about the return of the Army’s iconic “pinks and greens” service uniform have percolated through the Private News Network and bubbled up in military news outlets. Then on Dec. 9, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dan Dailey sported the prototype duds at the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. And man, does he like ’em.