Thursday, May 23, 2013

Struma & Lancastria.

This is coolbert:

More "Hell Ships".

Thanks to the tips from a variety of sources in this case.

Again from that era of the Second World War [WW2] more instances of "Hell Ships". Those vessels, predominantly merchant shipping being impressed and used for military transport, the loss of life from sinking as a result of combat action extraordinary and prodigious.

Ships not adequate for the task over-loaded, over-burdened generally inadequate for the transport task, sometimes grossly so, "going to the bottom" as a result of combat action with almost a total loss of life, passengers and crew both perishing in numbers beyond belief.

1. The Struma.

Merchant vessel of antiquated design carrying Jewish refugees while en route to British Mandated Palestine attacked by Soviet submarines and sunk, the loss of life, crew and passengers almost COMPLETELY TOTAL, ONLY ONE SURVIVOR PULLED FROM THE WATER THE COMPLEMENT [passengers and crew combined] OF THE SHIP ABOUT EIGHT HUNDRED!!

"Holocaust at Sea: The Lone Survivor of the 'Struma'"

In 1942, a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea torpedoed and sank the Struma, a ship filled with almost 800 Jewish refugees headed from Romania to the Holy Land.

"near Istanbul, in the wee hours of February 24, 1942. That's when a Soviet submarine sank a Jewish refugee ship en route to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. All told, 786 people, among them 101 children, either died instantly or slowly froze and drowned in the wintry water.
Only one of them made it."


"The Struma was no more than a pile of junk. Built in 1867, this former luxury yacht had been sadly degraded to a cattle transport ship. The ship, originally meant for only 150 passengers, had been retrofitted to carry almost 800, in tiny wooden bunks on three low levels."

2. RMS Lancastria.

The Lancastria ferrying troops during Ariel, under attack by German combat aircraft, the Lancastria sinking with the loss of life immense, troops in the water furthermore bombed and strafed!!

"RMS Lancastria (later HMT Lancastria was a British Cunard liner commandeered by the UK Government for war, sunk on 17 June 1940 during World War II with the loss of over 4,000 lives, possibly many more. It is the greatest ever loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than the combined losses of the RMS Titanic and RMS Lusitania. It had also the highest death toll for UK forces in a single engagement in the whole of World War II."

"She was sunk off the French port of St. Nazaire while taking part in Operation Ariel, the evacuation of British nationals and troops from France, two weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation.

Ariel that evacuation from Normandy [1940] in the aftermath of Dunkirk, a British REVERSE amphibious operation deemed a success, with the exception of the sinking of the Lancastria!!

Even more surprising is that the full story of the Lancastria seems to remain a secret to this very day, the site NOT registered as a war grave, incredible in the extreme so many decades after the fact. AND WHY IS THAT?

"The British Government has refused to make the site a war grave under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 although documents obtained under Freedom of information legislation (FOIA) show that it could be done. Early in the 21st century the French Government placed an exclusion zone around the wreck site. In July 2007 another request for documents held by the Ministry of Defence related to the sinking was rejected by the British Government. The Lancastria Association of Scotland made a further request in 2009. They were told that release under the FOIA would not be given "

A PhD dissertation could be written with the subject of WW2 "Hell Ships" the topic. Seems this phenomenon was very widespread. British troops, German and Jewish refugees, Italian, American and British PoW, Asian impressed laborers.  They ALL seem to  have gone through the same terrifying ordeal, the loss of life stupendous and almost absolute in most cases.


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