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Photo taken by soldat Franck Clements a few minutes before the <i>Lancastria</i> sinks for eternity  in the Loire estuary.
Photo taken by soldat Franck Clements a few minutes before the Lancastria sinks for eternity in the Loire estuary.
Captain Nick Stanley's speech in French. Representant of the Ambassador of Great Britain. Commemoration Lancastria June 17th 2011 Saint-Nazaire.
Captain Nick Stanley's speech in French. Representant of the Ambassador of Great Britain. Commemoration Lancastria June 17th 2011 Saint-Nazaire.
The memorial place is decked out with the Union Jack. The <i>menhir</i> is the monument to the St Nazaire raid.
The memorial place is decked out with the Union Jack. The menhir is the monument to the St Nazaire raid.
Philippe Grosvalet - president of the General Council of Loire-Atlantique - before the ceremony. The storm is not yet at its strongest.
Philippe Grosvalet - president of the General Council of Loire-Atlantique - before the ceremony. The storm is not yet at its strongest.
Yves Beaujuge reading Fiona Symon’s message. Behind him the musical group <i>XX Celtes</i>.
Yves Beaujuge reading Fiona Symon’s message. Behind him the musical group XX Celtes.
Navy Capt. Nick Stanley reading his message. At the rear sailors of the <i>Eridan</i> are Breton and Interceltic flags.
Navy Capt. Nick Stanley reading his message. At the rear sailors of the Eridan are Breton and Interceltic flags.
The sheets of paper Capt Nick Stanley gave ABP after reading his message under the rain.
The sheets of paper Capt Nick Stanley gave ABP after reading his message under the rain.
Laying of wreath by the Deputy Prefect of Saint-Nazaire Jean-Pierre Guardiola.
Laying of wreath by the Deputy Prefect of Saint-Nazaire Jean-Pierre Guardiola.
Laying of wreaths by: Commander Morillas - Capt. Stanley in the middle - and Mme Tesseyre Deputy Mayor of Saint-Nazaire in front.
Laying of wreaths by: Commander Morillas - Capt. Stanley in the middle - and Mme Tesseyre Deputy Mayor of Saint-Nazaire in front.
Last laying of wreaths by Yves Beaujuge (right) - a British lady member of family of a lost one and 2 British officers.
Last laying of wreaths by Yves Beaujuge (right) - a British lady member of family of a lost one and 2 British officers.
Grief...
Grief...
The Monument to <i>Lancastria</i>.
The Monument to Lancastria.
The <i>XX Celtes</i> group on the left. Both British officers have saluted the Bretons. The second one is here in the middle wearing a beret.
The XX Celtes group on the left. Both British officers have saluted the Bretons. The second one is here in the middle wearing a beret.
The City Hall is decked out in British colors too.
The City Hall is decked out in British colors too.
Cover of the booklet published for the 70th anniversary with the picture by soldier Frank Clements taken on June 17th  1940 some minutes before <i> Lancastria </i> sinks into waters of the estuary.
Cover of the booklet published for the 70th anniversary with the picture by soldier Frank Clements taken on June 17th 1940 some minutes before Lancastria sinks into waters of the estuary.
- Dépêche -
Lancastria tragedy commemorated in the storm on June 17th in Saint-Nazaire
It is in a fierce wind that displayed the flags better than ever, under a biting rain and in front of a grey sea of the bad days, that the commemoration of the bombing and wreck of the liner RNMS Lancastria took place
Maryvonne Cadiou pour ABP le 28/06/11 18:53


It is in a fierce wind that displayed the flags better than ever, under a biting rain and in front of a grey sea of the bad days, that the commemoration of the bombing and wreck of the liner RNMS Lancastria took place, in front of the memorial, in Saint-Nazaire, on June 17th ( voir l'article ). She rests at 24 meters depth, 17 km south of Saint-Nazaire and 7 km west of Pointe Saint-Gildas. One knows that Winston Churchill postponed the information in order not to attempt the nation's moral strength. A 52-minute documentary film was made by Zoltan Moll, a young documentarist, after having been asked by the French television program Thalassa in 2010.

The Lancastria ceremony was attended by:

– Monsieur Jean-Pierre Guardiola, Deputy Prefect of Saint-Nazaire;

– Monsieur Philippe Grosvalet, president of General Council of Loire-Atlantique;

– Captain Nick Stanley, Assistant Defence Attaché, representing his Excellence the ambassador of Great Britain, Sir Peter Westmacott;

– Madame Catherine Tesseyre, from Saint-Nazaire Town Council, representing the Mayor;

– Capitaine de Frégate Morillas, representing the Military Delegate of Loire-Atlantique;

– Commander Mark Whelan, president of the Royal Naval Association - France, North Branch;

– Wing Commander Arthur Curtis, president of the Royal British Legion - Central Brittany Branch;

– Major David Glossop for the Royal Logistic Corps;

– Monsieur Yves Beaujuge who will read the message from Mrs Fiona Symon, president of the Association of Lancastria in Scotland;

– A guard of honor of the mine hunter Éridan.


Madame Geneviève Boeuf, in charge of Heritage at the Town Council of Saint-Nazaire, welcomed the participants and the assistance (50 to 60 Nazairians) by these words, in French and English:

« On the 17th of June 1940, thousands of soldiers from the British Expeditionary Force were retreating from the advancing German troops. »

« With some civilians, they embarked on the Lancastria, a 1920's liner that was dedicated to the transport of troops during the war. »

« There were 5 or 6,000 people on board and perhaps as many as 9,000, according to some surviving officers. »

« While in the estuary, four German bombs tore into the ship. “Lancastria” sank within twenty minutes. Who knows how many men, women and children died in this tragedy? »

« We are gathered today to pay tribute to the victims, civilians and soldiers, and to do homage to all those who came to help them ».


After the reading of the speeches – that of Fiona Symon by Yves Beaujuge (1) then Captain Nick Stanley's, in English and in French, (see PDF) – it was proceeded to the wreath laying at the bottom of the monument.


After the reading of the speeches – that of Fiona Symon by Yves Beaujuge (1) then Captain Nick Stanley’s, in English and in French, (see PDF) – it was proceeded to the wreath laying at the bottom of the monument.

Fiona Symon announced, by Yves Beaujuge's voice, that a monument in tribute to victims of the Lancastria will be inaugurated in Glasgow in October 2011, next to the W. Beardmore Shipyard where the ship was built.


After the recorded Call to the Dead (Sonnerie aux Morts), one minute of silence was observed. Then God save the Queen and chorus of the Marseillaise were played also recorded. The Celtic live music was played by XX Celtes (2), a group with “variable geometry” composed of members from the bagad Sant-Nazer, ABP was told by Padrig Leroux, one of the 2 bagpipers who played under umbrellas.


Even before the beginning of the ceremony, the Nazairians present with their Gwenn ha Du (Breton flag), including members of CREDIB (3), were cordially invited by the police to move back 30 meters. Like on last March 28th, for the remembrance of Operation Chariot ( voir l'article ) they just moved on the sides but not back and later explained to ABP: « Forbiding us to stand next to the British is a shame and an attack on the liberties » declared one of them. « Didn’t Madame Boeuf say nevertheless “we pay tribute to the civil and military victims” ? As Bretons it is thus normal that we are here for this tribute ». He went on « We are children or grandchildren of Breton Resistance fighters and on a Breton territory... We come here for all the Bretons and with our flags ».


During the cocktail reception which followed at the City Hall, Monsieur Paringot, president of the Station de Sauvetage de la Côte d'Amour (SNSM in Pornichet), handed a fragile frame to the representant of the Lancastria Association in Scotland (4) « to be displayed in your country ». Between two panes are the copies of the reports of rescue carried out by the rescue boat Coleman on June 17th, 1940. Monsieur Paringot specified to ABP: « The one we gave them in 2010 is exposed in the Imperial Museum of War of Liverpool » (voir le site) . In fact, the Imperial War Museum (5), created in 1917 in London, is spread now onto five sites in Great Britain. Monsieur Paringot added « The rescue boat “Coleman” was based at the Pointe de Penchâteau of the Pouliguen, not far from La Baule, but outside the entrance of the estuary, on the rocky coast ».


At the Town Hall a free booklet of 32 pages, bilingual English-French, was available to everyone. It tells with photos too, the history of the disaster, written and published in 2010 by David and Raye Glossop for the 70th anniversary: ​​Remember the "Lancastria," Britain's worst maritime disaster. It includes a foreword by Sir Peter Westmacott, Ambassador of United Kingdom in France, introductions by the mayors of La Baule, Pornic and Saint-Nazaire, a bibliography of six books in English and the mention of the DVD documentary (6) broadcast on channel France 3, which is available in English or French : atv[at]atlantic-television.fr . Published with a grant from the Foundation of the Association Logistics Corps of the Royal Navy – a Corps that underwent many British losses then – this booklet was printed and stitched in Portsmouth (Devon).


Notes

(1) Yves Beaujuge, a Nazairien, officer in the Merchant Navy, who became Lancastria historian, made a website dedicated to her and gives lectures onto this drama (voir le site) and (voir le site)

(2) The Group XX Celts, already present on March 27th to commemorate Operation Chariot or St Nazaire Raid, was composed of six musicians that day:

– Padrig Leroux and Gweltaz Hervé at the bagpipes ;

– Christian Méhat, in charge of the music, Dominik Chapron and Vincent Béliard at the “bombardes” ;

– Hervé Batteux, in charge of the coordination, at the percussion.

(voir le site) of bagad and (voir le site) for mp3 of their competitions. « We played “The Rose of Kelvingrove”, a recently composed theme, presented as the future “Highland Cathedral”, a Scottish standard of many ceremonies » (Padrig Leroux).

(3) The CREDIB: Research Center, of Studies and Diffusion of the Breton Identity of Saint-Nazaire.


(4) Lancastria Association of Scotland. Founded in 2005 by Mark Hirst, grandson of a Scottish survivor, to remember through it the tragedy of the Lancastria. Yves Beaujuge vice-president (voir le site)


(5) Imperial War Museum on wikipedia.


(6) DVD: Lancastria. The story of a secret sinking, a documentary by Christophe François.

Note: readers will indeed excuse a certain blurring in photos, due to difficult weather conditions.

Maryvonne Cadiou. English from ( voir l'article )

Document PDF 22544_2.pdf Captain Nick Stanley's speech in English. Representant of the Ambassador of Great Britain. Commemoration Lancastria June 17th 2011 Saint-Nazaire.. Source : British Embassy in France
Document PDF 22544_3.pdf Captain Nick Stanley's speech in French. Representant of the Ambassador of Great Britain. Commemoration Lancastria June 17th 2011 Saint-Nazaire.. Source : British Embassy in France
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