Shipwrecks of famous shipping lines


1922-1940, France



Lancastria was built by William Beardmore & Co. Ltd, formerly Robert Napier & Sons, and launched on 31 May 1922 as Tyrrhenia. The name was difficult to pronounce and not popular so during a 1924 the ship was renamed Lancastria. For the first decade Lancastria operated on the transatlantic service but later switched to a cruising role.

At the onset of WWII the Lancastria was engaged in troop carrying duties. Her dramatic end came on 17 June 1940 when she was sunk by German aircraft while evacuating troops from St Nazaire. Although 2,477 lives were saved it is estimated that over 3,000 lives were lost in what was to become Britain's worst maritime disaster.


Dimensions168.6 x 21.3 m (553 x 70 ft)
Speed17 knots


The wreck of the Lancastria lies on the port side in water of a depth of 26m and rises to 12m below the surface. It is in an area that is subject to strong tides and currents. Much of the wreck is intact and the bow is a particularly impressive feature. There are many distinguishing features such as the spare anchor, winches and the propeller. There is a lot of marine life and conger eels are common on the wreck.

NOTE:In 2006 the French authorities declared a 200m exclusion zone around the wreck and there is an ongoing campaign to have the wreck designated as an official war grave.


Dive Data
Position47 09.049 N 002 20.389 W
Depth26m (85ft)

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This video is linked courtesy of Haliotis Explo Video.