Rms Lancastria

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Jdbbooklets, Aug 19, 2021.

  1. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    I am writing this story and would like to know more about the crew who were given medals who were mentioned in dispatches . The CWGC have given me 2000 names lost and the RAF remembered . I want to know more than just the sinking . I would like to know about the men . There is so much not answered . Where were the crew from , where were the nurses from . So many unanswered questions so can anyone help please? Names will be with held or placed in the bibliography if so desired.
    Thankyou
    David Banks Author
     
  2. National Archives London have a large file on the loss with survivors reports giving detailed narrative of the loss another report by the surviving senior officer will be in ADM 199. The Merchant Seamen (crew) will be listed on Tower Hill Memorial and that will give their names, rates, ages and often their home towns, there will probably be soldiers on Dunkirk Memorial and RAF chaps on Runnymede Memorial as well as in local cemeteries, all of them will likely have their names, ranks, units, ages and home towns. Local newspapers from the time will probably be full of lists of local chaps lost and many will have photos.
    Lots of research to do there.
     
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  3. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Plenty of books and other accounts of the loss. The one on my bookshelf is The Simking of theLancastria by Jonathan Fenby. As ResearchingResearching says above - plenty of research to do there
     
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  4. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Thankyou I’ve written to the National archives I’m getting 111 pages I’ve heard from the CWGC and Runnymede I’m using the British archives newspaper,I was wondering about local stories but Thankyou for replying
     
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  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Crew awards for LANCASTRIA in 1940 - Source Seedies List of Awards to the Merchant Navy.


    lancastria.jpg

    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  6. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Thank you very much for this as this will help enormously, I,m very grateful
     
    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  7. pete mully

    pete mully Member

    My Dad told me about the sinking of the Lancastria he saw it sink my dad went to france as part of the BEF in December 1939 he was a gunner in RA not long after arriving in france he was made a Don r (motor cycle despatch rider as was his best mate Freddie Crookes around the 24 of may 1940 both of them were reported missing in action to cut a long story short they both ended up in le havre were they were classed as stragglers (ie soldiers who had lost / been seperated from there own units ) as such they ended up both orded to join what became known as arkforce .as far as i know Arkforce fought as the rear guard at le havre, on the night of i think the 13 of june 1940 as part of Operation Cycle he and freddie and the rest of those who had suvived being in ark force were evacuated from le harve harbour nor sure of the name of the boat my dad and freddie were on (it may of been The city of bath a liverpool registerd ship ) the boat took them to cherbouge once there a photo of both of them on deck was taken in cherbouge habour,its on the internet its in the I W M photo archive from there instead of returning to a english south coast port like most of the other boats involved with operation cycle apear to have done .this boat my dad and freddie were on sailed down the west coast of france before landing both of them and other guys from arkforce at st Nazaire .it was here were my dad told me he saw the bombing and the sinking of the lancastria, no sooner had my dad got off the boat,he was on than he met a mate of his who lived in the same street as he did back home in liverpool ,they had both grew up knowing each other, this lads name was harry (i do know harrys surname but am not sure if i should list it here ) harry had desided he was going to get on the lancastria my dad and freddie did not like the idear they both thought the lancastria was was to big a target they both hought it was better to try and get on board one of the much smaller boats ,they tried talking harry out of the idear and to stay with them but he refused , my dad told me the lancastria was not docked but that it was anchored about a mile or 2 off shore he said lots of small boats were taking people out to the lancastria all afternoon, harry did get on board the lancastria but sadly did not suvive the sinking my dad and freddie managed to get back to england on board a smaller boat the next day ,when they arrived back they were told by the army that they were not to speak to the press or any one else about anything they had seen especially the sinking of the lancastra that if they did they would both be placed on a charge and could face a court martial
    after that my dad and freddie were both given rail warrents and leave to go home and told to report to there local barricks afterwards .
    my dad told me thart once home he had to go and see harrys mum he told me telling harrys mum about seeing harry was the hardest thing he ever had to do in the war,.my dad told me in 1940 the name Lancastria ment very little to most people in the uk because most people had never even heared of the ship at the time hardly any one in the uk even knew it had been sunk it was never on the news or in the press at the time., he told me the whole lancastra sinking was completely covered up by churchill and the british goverment untill well after the war had ended ,he also told me that some other guys who had been part of arkforce with him would also of managed to get on board the lancastria so if you are researching who was on board it may be worth looking into operation cycle and the soldiers who made up arkforce as well, i have been told by a knowledgeable member on here about shipping and navy stuff . that the shipping records for ships invovled in operation cycle and the evacuation from st naziare can be confused and inacurate / miss leading because of the chaos of record keeping during the evacuations which took place in this part of france.
    Sorry for what is possbly a bit of a ramberling story but i thought some of it may be of use to you in trying to unravel and expose what the british goverment really never did want any of us to know about all thoughs years ago and some may say , even to day still dont want us to know the full facts about the evacuation of this part of france and the terrible loss of life lost in the sinking of the lancastria in particular .
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  8. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Thankyou so much for this, my book will be over 600 A4s when finished the CWGC have sent (178 A4s ) of the men that lost their lives including the RAF. I will do my level best to put this in perspective but the government of the time said the D notice would stay so it’s feeling in this carefully, but with stories like this hopefully I can help the families. I also write USAAF books, one such story will help me as one story was 10 men one plane and one man was a bombardier so as soul destroying as it is I can tell the story of the German bombardier terrible as it was. Some of the events I’m told are held by the National Archives of Kew, I’m very lucky a friend of mine is an RAF historian so that field is covered. The church in London that has the bell the ST Cree has given blessings rand I hope the way I have written this will help for even in 2040 I won’t be alive I’m 74 now and a hobbyist disabled writer so I Thankyou most sincerely. Leave me your email and when the book is finished you can have a copy. David Banks
     
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  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    There a loads of post on the forum re Lancastria
    Have a search through
     
  10. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Thankyou very much appreciated
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Lancastria tragedy has been a disaster extensively discussed over the years on the forum. However during the war years, the information was restricted publically but WSC gives the reasons for this delay in his "History of the Second World War" with the following extract.

    "One frightful incident occurred on the 17th at St Nazaire, the 20000 ton liner Lancastria with 5000 men on board was bombed and set on fire just as she was about to leave. A mass of flaming oil spread on the water and the ship and upwards of 3000 men perished. The rest were rescued under continual air attack by the devotion of the small craft. When the news came to me in the quiet Cabinet Room during the afternoon, I forbad its publication, saying the newspapers have got quite enough disaster for today at least. I had intended to release the news a few days later, but events crowed upon us so thick and so quickly that I forgot this ban, and it was some years before the knowledge of this horror became public"

    It would appear that one newspaper broke the news 9 days later when on 26 June 1940,The Mirror reported the tragedy and gave a casualty figure of 2823 men lost.

    The insight to the tragedy has been largely revealed by Major Petit and others such as Nicholas Monserrat and Geoffrey Bond. Major Petit was a survivor of the loss of the Lancastria and formed the Lancastria Survivors Association but died in May 1971 before he was able to complete a published account of the disaster. Geoffrey Bond published "Lancastria" in 1956 but the book is reported to be out of print.

    In April 1988,John L West compiled the Loss of the "Lancastria" and included the sources of information as above but also included the personal accounts of 37 survivors of the loss including their military background and the route they had taken to arrive at St Nazaire for the Lancastria evacuation.

    Not included is the account of Captain Sharpe who after making his report on the loss of the Lancastria was lost at sea when as Master of the Laconia, it was torpedoed by U 156 on 12 September 1942.

    The prevailing sea currents in the this area of the Bay of Biscay is south, down the Atlantic coast and is the reason why the dead from the Lancastria are found in coastal cemeteries from Pornic down the coast as far as the Vendee
     
    Roy Martin likes this.
  12. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    : 201"]The Lancastria tragedy has been a disaster extensively discussed over the years on the forum. However during the war years, the information was restricted publically but WSC gives the reasons for this delay in his "History of the Second World War" with the following extract.

    "One frightful incident occurred on the 17th at St Nazaire, the 20000 ton liner Lancastria with 5000 men on board was bombed and set on fire just as she was about to leave. A mass of flaming oil spread on the water and the ship and upwards of 3000 men perished. The rest were rescued under continual air attack by the devotion of the small craft. When the news came to me in the quiet Cabinet Room during the afternoon, I forbad its publication, saying the newspapers have got quite enough disaster for today at least. I had intended to release the news a few days later, but events crowed upon us so thick and so quickly that I forgot this ban, and it was some years before the knowledge of this horror became public"

    It would appear that one newspaper broke the news 9 days later when on 26 June 1940,The Mirror reported the tragedy and gave a casualty figure of 2823 men lost.

    The insight to the tragedy has been largely revealed by Major Petit and others such as Nicholas Monserrat and Geoffrey Bond. Major Petit was a survivor of the loss of the Lancastria and formed the Lancastria Survivors Association but died in May 1971 before he was able to complete a published account of the disaster. Geoffrey Bond published "Lancastria" in 1956 but the book is reported to be out of print.

    In April 1988,John L West compiled the Loss of the "Lancastria" and included the sources of information as above but also included the personal accounts of 37 survivors of the loss including their military background and the route they had taken to arrive at St Nazaire for the Lancastria evacuation.

    Not included is the account of Captain Sharpe who after making his report on the loss of the Lancastria was lost at sea when as Master of the Laconia, it was torpedoed by U 156 on 12 September 1942.

    The prevailing sea currents in the this area of the Bay of Biscay is south, down the Atlantic coast and is the reason why the dead from the Lancastria are found in coastal cemeteries from Pornic down the coast as far as the Vendee
    [/QUOTE]
    Thankyou so much, yes the story has been told so many times but I’m telling it my way with stories and with much more . The CWGC kindly sent me (178) A4s of souls lost including the RAF. I have a ex journalist I’ve written too as I’ve found a site bearing names privately but before I can use this I want to know how I stand legally. My book when finished will be over (600) pages with beautiful artwork done for me privately to use,plus works from M seeking stories from so many sources others have missed. May I have your permission to use extracts from your post and your name courtesy appearing in the bibliography.
    David
     
  13. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    I have just seen this,my appolgies for not replying sooner, I’m am seeking so much which others have missed, sadly I can’t approach the Lancastria archive as the names given are from another writer and are copyright protected. Hence seeking elswhere. I do have a list coming from the National Archives if they can print or send me a link . I Thankyou though for informing me.
     
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    David

    I mention the informative source of John L West's publication The Loss of the "Lancastria".My post #11 was an extract from the publication. The burial locations are within the public domain through the CWGC and the dead appear south of the Loire owing to the prevailing sea currents in that part of the Bay of Biscay.

    His book was published as a First Edition (April 1988) by Millgate Publishing Ltd,48 Hall Carr Road, Rossendale,Lancashire,BB4 6AW.

    Paperback ISBN 1870788109
    Hardback ISBN 1870788044

    As regarding copyright, the publishing company may be out of business and John L West, I would think has since died, having being born in 1911.

    As a Lancastria survivor plucked from the sea, he was a member of the Royal Army Pay Corps and one of many who made the trek to St Nazaire from Rouen...a shambles he relates at St Nazaire with adverse comment made by the French who accused the British of deserting them. Arriving at Plymouth on the John Holt, a transport ship who rescued him from the sea, he was directed to Ilfracombe in North Devon and met a Sergeant Major who he had met on the Lancastria."Glad to see you again" said he, "but I must give you a very serious warning...do you know where this came from?" and he handed me my army identity disc giving my own number ..7358616..."Never lose it again" says he, "it is a very serious offense indeed". (He related he never found where it had been picked up from)

    Meanwhile the best of luck with your project of revisiting the disaster. If I could be of any assistance, PM me by all means.
     
    Browno likes this.
  15. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Thanks for this info I will gladly put your name in the bibliography. Let me have your email I will send you a chapter and you will see what I’m doing . I’ve been disappointed with the NATIONAL Archives of Kew long story but I’m now seeking names of survivors and RAF just means a long search but I’ll get by it but if you could if possible find out who the birth of some of the crew as they came from Liverpool that said I think you will like my attempt of this as the CWGC have sent along with the RAF (178) A4 pages and I’m going to do a special of the public in the book as I’ve found the scource of a lot of information and been aloud to use it . So it’s up and on when back on the computer.
    David
     
  16. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Hello thankyou yes the book is coming on nicely I have had assistance with the pioneers corps which has pushed the pages in the Lest we forget part to 256 A4s hope people dont get bored, the CWGC sent me a staggering 174 pages including the RAF I have the ships crews too so yes coming along nicely. I have just completed the German section of the how junkers came about verty interesting but cant find much on the 12 other planes that flew that fateful day. I dont want to harp too much on the sinking but more on the storyline. If you have an email I can send you a page of what has been done so far.
     
  17. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    I have tried ut one has to pay an initial £8.00 then how many pages, its a long job but I have plenty of help here with my RAF Historian Friend but thankyou anyway.
     
  18. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Excellent advice from Clive . If you have taken his advice then you will already be aware of my post in this thread,

    Hi...from Yorkshire

    However if you havent found it ,here it is repeated below with details of `hidden` reports available for free .

    Also relevent files held at the NA (which you may have discounted already due to cost)

    Kyle

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    #12 post

    On the National Archives site you will find a file WO 373/146/1 this is an awards file, however amongst it are eyewitness accounts of the Lancastria sinking which will provide you with some background. I was sent alink some time ago sadly this has now expired. The files are free to download.


    Other files which other users on here might be able to source for you on their research visits are;-
    Casualties at sea, St Nazaire: sinking of SS Lancastria, 17 June 1940. Orderable at item...
    War Office: Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State: Casualties (L) Branch: Enquiries into Missing Personnel, 1939-45 War. Casualties at sea, St Nazaire: sinking of SS Lancastria, 17 June 1940. Orderable at item level.

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew - War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies
    Date: 1940 - 1943
    Reference: WO 361/5
    Subjects: Armed Forces (General Administration) | Army
    SHIPS AND SHIPPING: General (Code B, 73/1): Sinking of S.S. LANCASTRIA
    Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Registered Files. Code B sequence (files registered 1936-1953). SHIPS AND SHIPPING: General (Code B, 73/1): Sinking of S.S. LANCASTRIA.

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew - Air Ministry and Royal Air Force records
    Date: 1940 - 1942
    Reference: AIR 2/4593
    Subjects: Air Force | Armed Forces (General Administration)
    Part 2 of 2. Transferred from WO 32/21835
    War Office: Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State: Casualties (L) Branch: Enquiries into Missing Personnel, 1939-45 War. Casualties at sea, St Nazaire: sinking of SS Lancastria, 17 Part 2 of 2. Transferred from WO 32/21835.

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew - War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies
    Date: 1940 - 1943
    Reference: WO 361/5/2
    Subjects: Armed Forces (General Administration) | Army
    Part 1 of 2. Transferred from WO 32/18802
    War Office: Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State: Casualties (L) Branch: Enquiries into Missing Personnel, 1939-45 War. Casualties at sea, St Nazaire: sinking of SS Lancastria, 17 Part 1 of 2. Transferred from WO 32/18802.

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew - War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies
    Date: 1940 - 1943
    Reference: WO 361/5/1
    Subjects: Armed Forces (General Administration) | Army
     
    CL1 likes this.
  19. Jdbbooklets

    Jdbbooklets Member

    Hello and Thankyou this aweful tragedy is horrible to talk about but I’m not going to stay on this subject for long because I’ve had 178 pages from the CWGC with the loss and others need to be mentioned. Sadly the pioneers sent a further 12 pages which is ok but if I put in all those that were lost my version of this book is of names and people may get bored and that’s not what I want for their are personnel of none military so it’s hard to put so much down as my story is ship 557 Tyrrenhia/ Lancastria. It’s about the ship and more and their sadly is the German perspective. Already the page count is over 300 without adding more of the deceased. I’m also seeking stories of those who survived so you see my book is totally different than books written on this subject .
     
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    I do not think people will be bored about all the casualties
    Its is useful to give context on how much of a tragedy it was
     

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