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The Sinking of the Lancastria

Britain's Greatest Maritime Disaster and Churchill's Cover-Up

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A fortnight after the evacuation at Dunkirk some 150,000 British troops were still stuck in France. As the German advance thundered west these Allied soldiers and airmen were faced with a mad dash to the coast in the hope that a troop-ship awaited them there. One such vessel was the 'Lancastria', a 16,000-ton liner pressed into service and now anchored off the port of St-Nazaire. On 17 June 1940, ready to head for home, the ship was bombed by the Luftwaffe. As she sank, between 3,500 and 4,000 of those on board lost their lives.

Re-creating this extraordinary episode with great narrative flair, Jonathan Fenby shows us not just the human stories behind the disaster but the cover-up that followed -- as Churchill ordered a blanket ban on news stories for the sake of the country's morale. Gripping and moving, LANCASTRIA tells one of the great forgotten stories of the Second World War.

Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of the Observer, The South China Morning Post, and is a guest on many American news sites, including CNN. He is the author of several books including the acclaimed On the Brink: The Trouble with France and Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the China He Lost. In 2013 Jonathan was awarded the Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur by the French government for his contribution towards understanding between Britain and France.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (February 12, 2015)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471142963

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