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Thread: RMS / HMT Lancastria

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    Default RMS / HMT Lancastria

    The worst maritime disaster in British history occurred on June 17th, 1940 when the HMT Lancastria (formerly Cunard's RMS Lancastria) was bombed by a German air raid whilst evacuating British troops and civilians from St-Nazaire, France during Operation Ariel.

    The 16,243-ton vessel sank in just twenty minutes, with thousands of people onboard (the exact number will never be known but is estimated to be be-tween 5,500 and 8,500). Only 2,477 were able to escape and be rescued by other vessels, with a death toll that some have estimated to be as many as 6,000 --- 4 times that of the RMS Titanic!

    Yet, today, few remember or have even ever heard of the Lancastria, and the horror faced by those onboard. Let us never forget.


    https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?1200
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: RMS / HMT Lancastria

    The Forgotten Tragedy

    The Story of the Sinking of HMT Lancastria

    by Brian James Crabb


    This book records the tragic story of the sinking of the troopship Lancastria, which was bombed and sunk by Junkers 88 bombers in the estuary of the River Loire, on Monday, 17 June 1940. Crammed with approximately 6,000 troops, RAF personnel, civilians and crew, a third of whom did not survive, this incident remains Britain's worst-ever maritime disaster but, like many other shipping disasters of the Second World War, it remains little known today.
    Following the successful evacuation of Dunkirk only weeks before, Winston Churchill initially forbade media disclosure of the event. Over a month passed before the story eventually reached the national newspapers, via American journalists. This first in-depth study of the incident draws on many eye-witness accounts and previously unpublished papers, and includes 90 illustrations and many appendices, the first of which is a 40-page list of the names of all the men known to have been lost with the ship. The book presents pioneer research which, in addition to recording the true sequence of events in detail, attempts to establish for the first time a reliable figure of how many were lost on that day.

    It has long been claimed that as many as five thousand men were lost, but Brian Crabb's research has established that the true figure is closer 2,000. Nevertheless, Lancastria's position as Britain's worst disaster remains unchallenged.
    The book is a large-format hardback of 293 pages, printed on quality paper and is beautifully illustrated with plans and photographs, including many of the actual sinking and rescue.
    Lancastria was a Cunard liner, sister to Cameronia, and both built by William Beardmore and Co. of Dalmuir, Glasgow, in 1919-20. First named Tyrrhenia, she was renamed Lancastria in 1924, and requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport as a troopship in 1939.
    This publication completes a trilogy of titles published by Shaun Tyas (Paul Watkins Publishing) commemorating and restoring to public attention the first-, second- and third-worst Allied mercantile disasters of the Second World War (the loss of the steamships Lancastria, Laconia and Khedive Ismail in 1940, 1942 and 1944). A terrible coincidence links the first- and second-worst disasters, for most of Lancastria's surviving crew and captain (Rudolph Sharp) transferred to Laconia shortly after their rescue, thus some taking part in the two most notorious Allied mercantile losses in the war.

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    Last edited by Keith at Tregenna; 17th June 2019 at 01:32 PM.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: RMS / HMT Lancastria

    I sailed on the old FRANCONIA, with with "Nutty" Curran of Liverpool, Fireman on the Lancastria.
    He escaped by sliding down the rope Lifeboat Falls which badly burnt his hands.
    He was taken to Plymouth and they were all sworn to secrecy, You do not speak about it,"{it never happened, or else,}
    Because Hitler could have made a lot of Propaganda out of it.
    A week after he was rescued, being a good amatuer Boxer, he was fighting at the Liverpool Stadium with both hands heavily bandaged.
    He lost the fight.
    Cunard gave him a job for life.
    Nice fellow was "Nutty".


    Brian
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 17th June 2019 at 02:24 PM.

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