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Lancastria Memorial

Unveiled in 2011 in remembrance of the greatest loss of life in British maritime history, the Lancastria Memorial is located next to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, which was built on the site of the former William Beardmore and Sons shipyard at Dalmuir in Clydebank (West Dunbartonshire), where the Lancastria was launched as the Tyrrhenia in 1920. She was renamed the RMS Lancastria in 1924. In succeeding years she provided a regular service across the North Atlantic and then cruised in the Mediterranean. During the Second World War, she was requisitioned as a troopship, known as HMT Lancastria. Sent to extract British troops and civilians from Western France, she was anchored off St. Nazaire in the Loire Estuary on 17th June 1940 when she was attacked by German aircraft and sunk with the loss of more than 4000 men, women and children. The exact number of casualties remains unknown because the ship was massively overloaded in attempt to evacuate as many as possible. Although designed for 1300 passengers, the situation in France was sufficiently desperate that there may have been as many as 9000 on board and the loss of life could have been as high as 6000.

The memorial was the initiative of the Lancastria Association of Scotland, which holds an annual service of remembrance at St. George's West Church in Edinburgh.


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