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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Service remembers Lancastria dead
Bill Hughes was on board the Lancastria
Survivor Bill Hughes was a crewman the day Lancastria sank
A service marking the 67th anniversary of Britain's worst maritime disaster has taken place.

Edinburgh was the focus for people remembering those who died when the Clyde-built liner, the Lancastria, sank near France in 1940.

The annual memorial service was attended by survivors and relatives of some of the victims.

Representatives of the French and Scottish Governments also joined members of veterans' organisation.

The event was held at St George's Church West, in the city centre.

Protected status

Author Jonathan Fenby, a former newspaper editor who wrote The Sinking of the Lancastria, gave the eulogy.

About 4,000 people died - more than the combined death toll from the Titanic and Lusitania disasters - when the ship sank in June 1940.

Campaigners want the site of the tragedy to be designated an official war grave.

Troop ship Lancastria
Thousands died when the Lancastria was attacked off the French coast

In March, they handed in a petition with 4,000 signatures to that effect to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

However, earlier this week it emerged that the Ministry of Defence has refused to back the campaign.

The MoD insisted that the wreck site could not be designated an official war grave because it lay in French territorial waters.

The French government last year granted special protected status to stop divers going within 200 metres of the Lancastria, which lies five miles from the coastal town of St Nazaire.


SEE ALSO
Campaign for 'forgotten' heroes
22 Feb 07 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
War grave campaign in legal move
20 Nov 06 |  Tayside and Central
Lancastria 'war grave' petition
21 Aug 06 |  Glasgow and West
Scots remember Lancastria tragedy
17 Jun 06 |  Scotland

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