The Sinking of HMT Lancastria
17 June 2015
The precise number of people on board remains unknown, but is
estimated to be between 6,000 and 9,000. Lancastria was hit by
bombs from German aircraft, and sank quickly. Only around 2,500 of
those on board survived.
The details of the incident were kept secret at the time, for
fear of harming morale. It was Britain's worst maritime
The bodies of many of those who died were washed ashore along
the western coast of France, and were buried in communal cemeteries
Those whose bodies were never recovered are commemorated by name
on memorials for those with no known grave.
Around 700 members of land forces are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, while missing sailors are
commemorated on the Naval Memorials at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth.
The Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill, London, includes the
names of the merchant seamen who were serving on board, and members
of the air forces lost in the disaster are commemorated on the
Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.