Clinton author expects Rohna disaster on TV
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:41 PM
"On Nov. 26, 1943, hundreds of British sailors aboard troop ships off the coast of North Africa spent much of their day fishing the bodies of American soldiers out of the Mediterranean Sea.Over 1,000 soldiers died that day when their troop ship, the HMT Rohna, was sunk by a prototype of the German V-I Buzz Bomb. For the next 50 years, the families of all those dead men had no idea how their brothers, sons, and fathers died.Jim Bennett, a Clinton-area psychologist and author of the 1998 book, The Rohna Disaster: World War II's Secret Tragedy, was one of those people who spent a half century wondering why his brother, Bobby, never came back from the war in Europe. In 1943, his family was told Bobby had been killed in action, by the United States government never told why. As it turns out, Bobby died with hundreds of other men while sailing aboard the Rohna.The government finally did reveal the truth -- to the satisfaction of Rohna survivors and family members of those killed -- in October when both the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions recognizing the sacrifices of 1,015 soldiers who died in the Rohna sinking.Last summer, Bennett got the ball rolling on the measures when he asked Congressman Jack Metcalf to sponsor a resolution in the House. He did, as did Patty Murray and Slade Gorton in the Senate. After the resolutions passed, Bennett said be began to receive a flood of notes, e-mails, and phone calls from Rohna survivors and family members of those killed.Two of the people who contacted me told me that it was a miracle, Bennett said.On Friday, Tom Brokaw will present a news piece about the Rohna on NBC Nightly News. The KING TV broadcast starts at 5 p.m. For those who want to know more about the Rohna disaster, Bennett's book should be in South Whidbey book stores by the end of January. It may also be found at amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble. "