The Sinking of the Lancastria

On June 17, 1940, the British ocean liner, RMS Lancastria, was sunk during Operation Aerial.


RMS Lancastria had sailed to the French port of St. Nazaire to aid in the evacuation of British and French soldiers, civil servants and British civilians after the fall of Dunkirk. The ship was loaded well in excess of its capacity— the consequences of which were felt when a German fighter plane flew overhead and catastrophically attacked the Lancastria.


Janet Dempsey is a former maritime record specialist who worked at The National Archives for fifteen years. Janet joins Dan to discuss why the Lancastria was requisitioned as a troopship, the horrific sinking and loss of life, and how the subsequent media blackout at the time has informed ​​this largely forgotten chapter in British history.


Produced by Hannah Ward

Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore


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