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 latest service on this website or YouTube and the order of service can be downloaded here.
It is appropriate that the memorial service for this tragic maritime disaster is held at St. Katharine Cree as this church was frequented by mariners who sailed into London Docks over many past years, and we are 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.