Memorial for ship casualties unveiled

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The plaque upon which the Cunard liner is outlined. Pic: Laura Ryder

The plaque upon which the Cunard liner is outlined. Pic: Laura Ryder

A memorial for the victims of a World War II shipping disaster was unveiled at Pier Head at the weekend, commemorating the 4,000 people who lost their lives whilst abroad the Liverpool liner, Lancastria.

This is the fifth memorial to be dedicated to the disaster across Europe after St Nazaire, Edinburgh, Stafford and London also commemorated the disaster.

The Lancastria set sail from Liverpool on the 14th June 1940 to collect survivors from the Dunkirk evacuation. On the 17th of June, the Lancastria sank off the French port of St. Nazaire, following a fresh air raid that resulted in three direct hits to the ship during Operation Ariel.

The ship then rolled over and sank in 20 minutes and had an estimated death toll of over 4,000, although the numbers are still not clear. This is recorded as the largest death toll in a single WWII attack involving the UK forces.

Dame Lorna Muirhead, Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, unveiled the plaque at a special civic ceremony.

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