Published: Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Lancastria model unveiled at national hospital
Seventy three years after the Clyde built troop ship was bombed and sunk off the coast of France, a model of HMT Lancastria has been unveiled in the main reception of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
The unveiling was part of the annual memorial day organised by the Lancastria Association to commemorate those who were present or who lost their lives in Britain’s worst maritime disaster.
The model, built by Dunfermline based retired orthopaedic surgeon Brian Dean, is on permanent loan to the Golden Jubilee from the Lancastria Association.
The unveiling of the model by Fiona Symon, the founder Chair of the Lancastria Association, comes two years after the erection of a memorial on the symbolic site of the former William Beardmore and Sons shipbuilding yard where the troop ship was built. This site is now home to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
Fiona Symon, Vice Chair of the Association, said, “We are delighted that as well as a permanent memorial on the grounds of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, our members, patients, visitors and staff now have an inside reminder of the Lancastria and its story.
“We want to thank the Hospital for their continued collaboration with us and also Brian Dean for creating the model. Additional thanks goes to Babcock Engineering at Faslane for making the beautiful model case and everyone who attended our annual memorial service. “
Launched as the cruise ship Tyrrhenia, the Lancastria was taken over as a troop ship in 1939. After evacuating troops from Norway, the Lancastria found herself heading for France to rescue many of the 150,000 troops left behind after Dunkirk.
HMT Lancastria was sunk by a German bomber off the French coast at St Nazaire, two weeks after Dunkirk, on 17 June 1940. Four bombs were dropped on the ship at 3.50pm and she sank in twenty minutes. Less than 2,500 of the estimated 9,000 on board survived in what was the greatest loss of life in British maritime history – greater than the Titanic and Lusitania combined or, to give a modern comparison, twice the lives lost in the Twin Towers attack.