On this day (17th June) in 1940 as World War II raged the HMT Lancastria was sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire in France. Before the war she had been firstly called the RMS Tyrrhenia and then renamed as the RMS Lancastria finally becoming the HMT Lancastria when she became a troop ship.
Over 4,000 lives were lost and so this makes it the worst ever loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship. The ship was taking part in the evacuation of military, Embassy Staff and other British Nationals two weeks after Dunkirk.
It is also the bloodiest single engagement for the UK in terms of lives lost for the whole of World War II. What is often forgotten is that this sinking claimed more lives than the combined losses of the Titanic and Lusitania.