Sunday, 2 October 2011

Salmond pays tribute to UK's worst maritime disaster

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has paid tribute to the 4,000 people who lost their lives in the worst single loss of life for UK forces during the Second World War and the UK's worst maritime disaster.

Seventy one years after the Clyde-built troopship HMT Lancastria was bombed and sunk off the coast of France, the First Minister unveiled a memorial in the grounds of the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank to those who died and declared it a place of pilgrimage for people to remember the victims and survivors of the disaster.

The Lancastria was built on the Clyde in 1922 and in March 1940 she was requisitioned as a troopship, painted battleship grey and sent to deploy British troops to Norway.

Three months later, the Lancastria came under attack from enemy aircraft. She received three direct hits from a German Junkers 88 bomber and within 20 minutes, the 16,243-ton luxury liner sank, taking with her an estimated 4,000 victims. The sinking claimed more victims than that of the Titanic and Lusitania combined.

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