The Lancastria Tragedy

Sinking and Cover-up – June 1940

Stephen Wynn

The story behind the sinking of the Lancastria comes in two parts: the sinking of the ship itself and the people who died, and the aftermath which led to allegations of a government cover up ordered by Winston Churchill.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
16 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781526706638
Pages : 184
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
-
+
Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$29.95

Overview
-

The story behind the sinking of the Lancastria comes in two parts: the sinking of the ship itself and the people who died, and the aftermath which led to allegations of a government cover up ordered by Winston Churchill. There is an ‘officially accepted' list of those who died, but allegations that hundreds more went down with the ship, and have not been accounted for, still linger to this very day.

The Lancastria, a pre-war Cunard cruise liner, was requisitioned by the Admiralty and turned in to a wartime troop ship. On 17 June 1940, whilst being used as part of Operation Aerial to evacuate civilian refugees and British military personnel from France, it was anchored about 5 miles from the coast of St Nazaire. While waiting for a naval escort to see it safely back to England, the Lancastria was attacked by enemy aircraft and sank within 20 minutes. As no official figures have ever been released, there is no way of knowing exactly how many lives were lost.

Winston Churchill placed what was known as a ‘D’ Notice on the tragic events, thereby restricting the press from reporting it. However, once a New York newspaper had broken the story, the flood gates were opened for British newspapers to follow suit. But what was the purpose of the ‘D’ Notice? Was it because the British public had already received too much bad news since the war had begun, as Churchill declared? Or was it a cover-up?

Those who survived the incident were told in no uncertain terms not to speak about their experience, although plenty did. With much of the information about the Lancastria’s sinking in the public domain within a matter of days, the question has to be asked, why are official documents in relation to the matter being kept secret until the year 2040?

About The Author
-

Stephen is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police as a constable for thirty years between 1983 and 2013. He is married to Tanya and has two sons, Luke and Ross, and a daughter, Aimee. His sons served five tours of Afghanistan between 2008 and 2013 and both were injured. This led to the publication of his first book, Two Sons in a Warzone – Afghanistan: The True Story of a Father’s Conflict, published in October 2010. Both Stephen’s grandfathers served in and survived the First World War, one with the Royal Irish Rifles, the other in the Mercantile Marine, whilst his father was a member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the Second World War.

When not writing Stephen can be found walking his for German Shepherd dogs with his wife Tanya, at some unearthly time of the morning, when most normal people are still fast asleep.

More from this publisher