Matron Katy Beaufoy is among medical staff of HMHS Glenart Castle remembered at the CWGC Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton (Photo: Centenary News

100 years ago: Hospital ship Glenart Castle sunk

Posted on on 26 February 2018
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More than 160 lives were lost when the hospital ship Glenart Castle was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the early hours of 26 February 1918.

HMHS Glenart Castle was attacked off Lundy Island, while sailing from South Wales to the French port of Brest to pick up wounded. Fishermen reported that the vessel was clearly lit as a hospital ship.

Most of those on board perished but around 30 survivors were rescued, some of them by the American destroyer USS Parker, part of the US fleet based in the Irish port of Queenstown (now Cobh) to guard Allied shipping.

The dead included  Glenart Castle’s Matron, Katy Beaufoy, eight nurses, and almost 50 officers and men of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

This week’s Centenary was marked with a remembrance service at Hartland Point in Devon. A clifftop memorial was unveiled here in 2002, looking out to sea towards the scene of the tragedy.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates more than 150 of the dead at two of its major sites in the UK.

Glenart Castle crewmen, including Captain Bernard Burt, are remembered on the walls of the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill, London.

Matron Katy Beaufoy, the nursing and medical staff, and two army chaplains are commemorated at the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton.

Hospital Ship Losses in the First World War

A number of hospital ships were sunk during 1914-18, among them Britannic, sister-ship of the Titanic. The converted transatlantic liner was wrecked by a mine explosion in the Aegean Sea in November 1916. All but 30 of the 1,065 people on board survived.

A British naval force sank the German vessel Tabora in Dar es Salaam harbour in March 1916, suspecting that it was masquerading as a hospital ship.

Glenart Castle survived a mine explosion in the English Channel in March 1917, returning to service after repairs.

A month before Glenart Castle’s loss, another British hospital ship, HMHS Rewa,was torpedoed in waters off Hartland Point. All but four of the passengers and crew survived.

Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission - CWGC, Wikpedia

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team