On the morning of the 17th June 1940, HMT Lancastria was anchored three miles off St. Nazaire on the French Atlantic Coast. She had been ordered to repatriate British Servicemen and Civilians who had been left in France after the evacuation of Dunkirk.
By mid-afternoon almost nine thousand people were packed aboard the Lancastria when she was hit four times by enemy bombs. Within half an hour she had sank with a loss of life at least equal to the combined losses of the ‘Lusitania’ and ‘Titanic’ disasters.
You can see the Lancastria archive website here.
A memorial service is held at St Katharine Cree on or near the anniversary of the disaster on 17th June. You may watch the 2022 service on YouTube.
The 2024 service will be at 1pm on Thursday 13th June.
The memorial service for this tragic maritime disaster is held at St. Katharine Cree because this church is at the centre of the historic shipping industry in the City.
As we look at the magnificent Lancastria memorial window we have the opportunity to remember, to pray for and to thank all who go to sea for whatever reason to keep us safe and deliver goods and services to our country.