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On 17 June 1940, HMT Lancastria was sunk by a German bomber while evacuating troops from St Nazaire; over 9,000 troops were packed on board. The exact number of soldiers who died that day will never be known, though even the lowest estimates rank this as the worst British maritime disaster in history, with losses exceeding those of the Titanic and Lusitania combined. This talk attempts to explain why so many who were lost will never be accounted for.
This talk looks at some of the most famous railway accidents and disasters of the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular, the disaster at Quintinshill in 1915, in which 226 people died. The National Archives holds a wide range of documents which record details of accidents and collisions but the talk also considers other useful sources such as railway staff magazines.
Using documents from The National Archives, James Cronan will take you through the history of the ship, from its construction and launch to its fateful end. James Cronan is a records specialist in diplomatic and colonial records. His interest in all things Titanic stems from the fact that his great-grandfather was a crewman on board the stricken ship. He has worked at The National Archives for 17 years, at Chancery Lane, the Family Records Centre and Kew.