MERL H. REAGLE was born to Edward Fisher Reagle and his wife Nettie in June of 1922. He was the sixth of eight children, five of them being boys. At the time of his birth, the Reagle family was living in Marlton NJ. Edward Reagle engaged in farming in the area around Kresson lake, and the family moved about several times in the 1920s and early 1930s, with stops on Berlin Road in Lindenwold and in Laurel Springs NJ. The family then moved to the 200 block of East Maple Avenue in Lindenwold, where they occupied a home in the middle of the block, before moving to the house next door, on the corner of East Maple and Walnut.
Merl's father continued in
farming, and operated fish and farm markets at locations on the White
Horse Pike and on Stone Road in Laurel Springs. Merl attended Haddon
Heights High School, and also played baseball and football for local
On the November 26th, 1943 Merl Reagle and the 853rd Engineer Battalion, Aviation sailed out of Oran, Algeria on the British owned and operated transport ship, HMTS Rohna. Later that day, the convoy that the Rohna was a part of was attacked by German aircraft. After initially beating of the attack, another German plane approached the convoy, and launched a new weapon, a radio-controlled glider bomb, in essence, the worlds first guided missile.
The Rohna was struck by the missile, which blew a hole through both sides of the ship, killing 300 Americans immediately, many of the members of the 853rd Engineers. Merl Reagle most likely met his fate there. The ship quickly sunk, and over 1000 Americans were lost that in the ensuing hours.
The sinking of the Rohna was kept secret from the public during the war, for reasons of wartime security. Sadly, the government waited over 50 years before declassifying the story, and the families of those lost on the Rohna were never told the truth of their loved ones fate. Only in the 1990s, due to efforts of survivors of the sinking, was any official acknowledgement made.
|12 men from Camden County NJ were lost on the Rohna, along with many others from the area. to learn more about the tragedy, visit the Camden County NJ Internet HMTS ROHNA Memorial.|
15 DEAD, 2 MISSING
FROM SOUTH JERSEY
Fifteen South Jersey men were among the 1511 reported by the War Department today as killed in action on the six fighting fronts. Two others from this area are reported missing.
3 On Troopship Lost
Ballerino, Koscianski, and Carr are believed to have met their fates on the same transport. War Department telegrams to families of all three men reveal that each was a passenger on a troopship that was lost due to enemy action in the Mediterranean on Nov. 27, 1943. All have been awarded Purple Hearts.
The following reported as dead in today's official casualty list were previously reported as missing: Sergeant Day, Private Jaggers, Corporal Koscianski, Private McKeon, and Private Steffanice.
Also listed as dead in today's official casualty list but previously reported in these columns are: Private Michael Yachus, 679 Ferry Avenue, Camden; Joseph H. Johnson, 1273 South Merrimac Road, Camden; Private Harry V. Taylor, 3 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield; Private Merl H. Reagle, Maple Avenue, Lindenwold; Private Jacob K. Jenkins, Marne Highway, Mt. Holly, formerly of Pennsauken; Private Harry E. Harker, 6 Beach Avenue Blackwood; PFC Jack S. Dubois, Church Street, Williamstown, and Charles R. Stewart Jr., 319 Linden Street, Camden.
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