LANCASTRIA (June 17, 1940) Lancastria was part of the evacuations of the areas other than Dunkirk that are not so well known. 163,000 others added to the 338,000 taken from Dunkirk. The Cunard/White Star passenger liner Lancastria, the former Tyrrhenia (16,243 tons), is bombed and sunk off St. Nazaire, France. While lying at anchor in the Charpentier Roads on the estuary of the River Loire, five enemy planes dive bombed the ship which sank in twenty minutes taking the lives of around 2,000 troops and over 1,000 civilians. The Lancastria had been converted into a troopship and set sail from Liverpool on June 14th to assist in the evacuation of British troops and refugees from France (Operation Aerial) Her captain, Rudolf Sharpe, took on board as many troops and refugees as possible. She was about to sail to England after loading on board soldiers and RAF personnel of the British Expeditionary Force, plus about a thousand of civilian refugees. One bomb exploded in the Number 2 hold where around 800 RAF personnel had been placed. About 1,400 tons of fuel oil spilled from the stricken vessel as the Dorniers dropped incendiaries in an attempt to set the oil on fire. The 2,477 survivors, including her captain, were picked up by HMS Havelock and other ships. The bomb which actually sank the Lancastria went straight down the funnel. The site of the sinking is now an official War Grave protected by The Protection of Military Remains Act of 1986. The loss of the Lancastria was the fourth largest maritime disaster of the war. Captain Rudolf Sharpe later lost his life when the ship he commanded, the Laconia, was sunk. Under the Official Secrets Act, the report on the Lancastria cannot be published until the year 2040. If it is proved that Captain Sharpe ignored the Ministry of Defence instructions not to exceed the maximum loading capacity of 3000 persons, grounds for compensation claims could be enormous. (A rememberance service is held in June each year in the St Catharine Cree Church in Leadenhall Street, London) View attachment 1570 The Cunard/White Star passenger liner Lancastria. During 'Operation Aerial' 28,145 British and 4,439 French, Polish and Canadian troops were evacuated from Brest. Among the French contingent were many German and Italian nationals, all members of the French Foreign Legion. At Lorient, the trawler La Tenche, was sunk with the loss of 218 lives. At Saint Nazaire, 57,235 troops and civilians were evacuated. From St. Malo, 21,475, from Cherbourg, 30,630 and from La Pallice, 2,303. Thousands of others were picked up from smaller ports, in total, 163,225 persons. (During the Dunkirk evacuation, 'Operation Dynamo' 338,226 troops were saved).