The sinking of the Canadian Hospital Ship
One of the more controversial events during the Great War was the sinking of the Canadian Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle by a German submarine, U-86, on 27 June, 1918. The ship was returning to England after having brought Canadian casualties back to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Being a Hospital Ship, it was clearly identified as such with a brightly illuminated Red Cross, was unarmed and running with full lights. On board, the crew consisted of one hundred and sixty-four men, eighty officers and men of the Canadian Medical Corps, and fourteen nurses, a total of two hundred and fifty-eight persons.
According to the Hague Convention, an enemy vessel had the right to stop and search a Hospital Ship, but not to sink it. U-86 made no attempt to search the ship, but rather torpedoed it
After the war, the British initiated a War Crimes trial against the officers of U-86. The commander, Helmut Patzig could not be found and was never brought to trial. The two other officers, Ludwig Dithmar and John Boldt were tried and convicted. The men were sentenced to 4 years of hard labour, but escaped while underway to the prison. It is unclear if they were ever recaptured, but it is certain that they never served more than 4 months.
Extracts from the official report, as printed in Our Bit : Memories of War Service By a Canadian Nursing Sister, by N.S. Mabel B. Clint can be found here.
The Canadian Survivors
The six Canadians that survived, along with 18 of the Llandovery Castle crewmen.
The Canadians who lost their lives
The Canadian Army Medical Corps personnel who lost their lives in the attack on the Llandovery Castle are as follows:
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Howard Macdonald
Matron Margaret Marjory Fraser
536451 Private John Anderson
If anyone knows of any inaccuracies in this list, please let me know