A Tragedy in the Battle of the Atlantic
By Frederick Grossmith
When the question of drama at sea is raised inevitably minds turn to such ships as the Titanic or the Lusitania but not the Laconia. In fact, few people outside of Merseyside [Liverpool] even remember the name. It’s almost unbelievable in light of her sinking and the sea drama of such importance should have attracted so little attention as if it never took place. Yet the sinking of the Laconia resulted in a remarkable rescue mission, perhaps the most humane and exciting rescue mission of World War Two and accounts of Laconia’s survivors as are graphic as those of the more famous disasters.
The Laconia, built in 1922 but requisitioned as a troop carrier was torpedoed and sunk while carrying over 2,700 people including 1,800 Italian prisoner of war. In all, nearly 2,000 people lost their lives, victims of torpedoes, sharks, struggles to get into lifeboats, bombs or thirst.
The book begins with a background of the ships history, the sinking, rescue, survivors’ own stories including one by Doris Hawkins whose graphic account of her journey is riveting, the official enquiries, documents, the Laconia Order and the Nuremburg Trials.
91 illustrations with much hitherto unpublished detail about the ship and her tragic fate, deck plans and crew manifest.
236 pages. Hardback.
Out-of-print, no longer available