Dream Of Autumn

Dream Of Autumn

On Wednesday, November 24, 1943 the U.S. Army’s 853rd Engineer Aviation Battalion sailed out of Oran, Algeria on HMTS Rohna. The Rohna, built for 100, was carrying 2200 passengers, including 2000 US troops. After joining a convoy of 24 ships, it was hit by a remote-controlled, rocket-boosted ‘glider bomb’ (said to be the world’s first guided missile) that was launched from a German bomber. The Rohna sank in less than 30 minutes. At 1015 dead, it was among the greatest losses of troops at sea in U.S. history. The incident remained classified until 1993. Among the fatalities was Hale Very, a music teacher from Massachusetts. Between July, 1941 and November 12, 1943 – two weeks before he died – he wrote many letters documenting his military experience. They provide the perspective of an innocent and cultured young man who is, at best, ambivalent about his situation. Working mostly in a clerical/adminstrative capacity, all but the final few weeks of Sgt. Very’s time in the military was spent in training and preparation in the States, mostly the South. His death was never confirmed to his family. The letters have been heavily edited, condensed and combined into the form presented here. The testimonial of the survivor presented here is a composite of many accounts that appear on a survivors’ website and in a documentary video.

Musicians:

Content 2Scott Anderson – guitar
Andy Baker – trombone
Zach Brock – violin
Susan Cook – alto sax
Jo Ann Daugherty – piano
Jill Dispenza – bassoon
John Elmquist – bass & vocals
Nell Flanders – viola
Jim Gailloreto – soprano & tenor sax, flute
Mark Hicks – reader (survivor)
Jill Kaeding – cello
Brian Schwab – trumpet
Darren Scorza – drums
Christopher Warmanen – reader (letters)