KMF26 - Mediterranean Convoy

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Reid, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Hazel Clark's earlier post regarding SC42, got me wondering if any members were involved with this convoy in November 1943?

    My grandfather was a gunner on the Banfora during the air attack, which resulted in the sinking of the HMT Rohna on the night of Thanksgiving.

    I've read some of the reports and also the book by Carlton Jackson, Forgotten Tragedy: The Sinking of HMT Rohna ( tiny.cc/forgottentragedyhmtrohna) which was extremely interesting - it reinforced yet again, the dangers faced by convoys, and I'd really like to hear more first-hand accounts if at all possible.
     
  2. Hi Nanette,

    My dad was also a gunner on KMF26 but did not witness the attack. He was on the troopship "Scythia" (Cunard liner) but it called in at Algiers on the 26th Nov and picked up a homebound convoy on the 29th. So he was lucky to miss it. I don't know if he even knew about the attack and the loss on the "Rohna". Sorry I can't add anything to the "Rohna" story but it's good to hear from someone else who is interested in MRA gunners.

    Chris
     
  3. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Hi Chris,

    Your dad was lucky indeed - from what I have been able to find out it was attacked again the following day before arriving in Oran; MRA gunners must have been witness to some pretty scary stuff needing nerves of steel maybe? Can't imagine what it was like for them (or indeed anyone) who has been through a war - I salute them all.

    Hope you've been able to trace his service - it does make for interesting reading indeed.

    Nanette
     
  4. Hi Nanette,

    I'm fortunate in that over the years he mentioned the name of the ships he was on so I've been able to track all his voyages through Convoyweb. I also have his Service Record, his paybook, a 1944 diary and about 200 letters so I've pieced a lot of it together. However I'm always interested in finding out more about the MRA. I've had a great deal of help from Convoyweb, ShipsNostalgia, Uboatnet and now this excellent site.

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  5. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day reid.j.m.09:19am,re:kmf26-mediterranian convoy.i was not on that covoy.but on atlantic.and pacific.so i am pleased for you that your dad came home.to those who were lost may they rest in peace.regards bernard85 :poppy: :poppy:
     
  6. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Thanks for your kind words Bernard, very happy you came home also!!
     
  7. John Johnston

    John Johnston New Member

    My dad, Hal Johnston, is 97 this year and was on the HMT Banfora. He is going to the Rhona Survivor's meeting in Memphis...I'm grateful to still have him around and to be able to go with him and my brother.
     
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  8. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Hi John.

    The book I referred to up-thread related the Banfora sustaining some damage and near misses. I have some of the reports of the attack on file - after reading the book it put these into even more context of what took place and how terrible the outcome was.

    Very happy to hear your dad is attending the Rhona Survivor's Meeting - an added bonus that you can attend with him too.
     
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  9. John Johnston

    John Johnston New Member

    We are at the HMT Rhona Survivors Memorial Assn Reunion now in Memphis, TN. It has certainly been an enlightening trip. My dad has connected with the only other survivor attending who is also 97 years old, Gus Grika. I truly wonder if there are any of the men left that are of sound mind and body that don't know about the group.
    I only learned on this trip, that dad's battalion group, the 96th Signal Battalion, was actually loaded onto the Rhona but then something occurred to cause them to be ordered off the HMT Rhona and onto the HMT Banfora. The ships were moored side by side at the dock and Dad and his group actually crossed the HMT Banfora onto the HMT Rhona for a while before they were ordered to cross back. Dad remembers a man telling the story of a cat seen leaving the HMT Rhona as they were loading on. He always wondered if the decision to move the men back over to the HMT Banfora was due to morale being affected as this possible "omen" spread through the men.
     
  10. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    The book "Forgotten Tragedy" (https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Tragedy-Sinking-HMT-Rohna/dp/1557504024) mentions this transfer and if I remember correctly they weren't expecting their baggage to arrive, believing it had all gone to the bottom when the Rohna sank. They were caught off-guard when it showed up on the dock (?) neatly stacked, awaiting collection.

    I have been chatting to the daughter of one of the survivors (now deceased) and she sent me quite a lot of information that she had been able to discover since the sinking was made public. Makes for very interesting reading.

    As our veterans get older, I'm sure it isn't easy to get around. I really hope this occasion continues, even after the last of these brave men have passed away. Our Anzac Day March (April 25) no longer has veterans from WW1, yet family members still march to recognize their sacrifice and bravery.

    Gone but never forgotten.
     

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