Tuesday 15 July 2014

Canadian Nurses lost at sea HMHS "Llandovery Castle" 27th June 1918

HMHS "Llandovery Castle", a Hospital Ship which was formerly a Union Castle Line Mail Steamship, docked in Halifax on 17th June 1918 had carrying six hundred and forty-four military patients. She started on her return voyage on 20th June, 1918, carrying her crew and a hospital unit establishment of seven officers, fourteen nursing sisters, and seventy-six other ranks.  The weather was fine.

On 27th June 1918, 116 miles west of Ireland, HMHS "Llandovery Castle" was attacked by the German submarine U-86 and torpedoed, regardless of the fact that she was clearly marked as a Hospital Ship. 

The Commander of the submarine, whose name was Patzig, interviewed the survivors in the lifeboats to try to find evidence that arms were being carried but no such evidence found. Patzig then gave the order to dive and started to destroy the lifeboats so that there would be no survivors.

However, one lifeboat did manage to survive and their story was told. After the war, Patzig could not be found but two officers who had manned the guns were found, tried and sentenced to hard labour. The pair escaped but were never recaptured. 

The following female nurses were killed during this attack and are buried or commemorated in the Halifax Memorial, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Christina Campbell, Nursing Sister, Canadian Army Medical Corps
Carola Josephine Douglas, CAMC
A. Dussault, Nursing Sister, CAMC
M.A. Follette, Nursing Sister, CAMC
M.J. Fortescue, Nursing Sister, CAMC
Margaret Marjory Fraser, Matron, CAMC - daughter of the later Lieut. Governor D.C. Fraser and his wife Bessie G. Fraser
Minnie Katherine Gallaher, Nursing Sister, CAMC, of Pittsburg, Ontario
J.M. McDiarmid, CAMC
Mary Agnes McKenzie, Nursing Sister, CAMC - of Toronto
Rena Maud McLean, Nursing Sister, CAMC of Souris, Prince Edward Island
Mary Belle Sampson, Nursing Sister, CAMC - Mentioned in Despatches - of Duntroon, Ontario
Gladys Irene Sare, Nursing Sister, CAMC, of Notre-Dame de Grace, Montreal
Anna Irene Stamers, Nursing Sister, CAMC of St. John, New Brunswick
Jean Templeman, Nursing Sister, CAMC, of Ottawa.


Photos:  Google Images - HMHS "Llandovery Castle" and Margaret Marjory Fraser

See also http://www.gwpda.org/naval/lcastl10.htm and http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?10268

With grateful thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.