The Lancastria was built by William Beardmore and Co., of Glasgow, Scotland. She set off on her maiden voyage on 19 June 1922.
Intended for Cunard’s Anchor Line, her name was originally Tyrrhenia, however passengers struggled with the pronunciation and the 16,240 ton liner was renamed Lancastria in 1924.
The ship was given a refurbishment at the same time as her re-naming and emerged as a two-class vessel; with her schedule seeing her on the Liverpool to New York service until 1932. After this, she was moved into full time cruising; due to the decline of transatlantic travel after the Great Depression.
As a cruise ship, she was used extensively in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, while during 1934, the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland chartered the Lancastria for a pilgrimage to Rome.
Wartime Service and Sinking
Following the outbreak of World War II, Lancastria was used to carry cargo and in April 1940, was converted into a troop carrier. mThe ship’s first wartime duty was to assist in the evacuation of troops from Norway.
Lancastria was sunk off the coast of France while participating in Operation Ariel (the British and French evacuation of France). The disaster was the worst single loss of life in British Maritime History, with estimates of those lost aboard reaching over 4,000.
Image source: Simplon Post Cards
For more details about Lancastria please visit The Lancastria Association.