Lanfranc

Depth : 42 - 55m

She was built by the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Dundee and was launched on 18th October 1906 as the 'Lanfranc' at the cost of £122,000, being 418.5 x 52.3 x 27.2 ft and a gross weight of 6287 tonne. Her propulsion was driven by a twin screw, triple expansion steam engine of 850 nhp.

She set off on her maiden voyage on 18th February 1907, however like many of her sisters her commercial trading life was foreshortened by the outbreak of WWI. She was commissioned on 6th October 1915 as hospital ship HMS Lanfranc and was capable of carrying 403 wounded from the battlefields of Northern France back to England.
On the 17th April 1917 at 19:30 hrs while bound for Southampton she was torpedoed by the German Submarine UB-40 (also responsible for the sinking of the Salsette and the Tycho), some 4 miles northeast of Le Havre. At the time she had 387 patients of which 167 were German POWS. Of these 326 were cot patients. Some 570 survivors were picked up by the destroyers HMS Badger and HMS Jackal aided by HMS P 47 and the French patrol boat Roitelet, and taken to Portsmouth. However 17 British and 17 German patients were lost. She now lies in 55 metres with the upper levels at 42 metres. She is completely open and brass portholes and crockery are to be found everywhere.

 

World War One witnessed a much higher degree of savagery by both British and German seamen than was the case in World War Two. Some U-boat commanders cold-bloodedly killed fishermen and merchant sailors. For its part, Royal Navy personnel massacred the crew of U27 after the vessel had sunk.
In the channel, this savage new war was evidenced by the U-boats' sinking of vessels employed as Hospital ships. While these vessels, such as Warilda, Lanfranc and Donegal were clearly marked with the Red Cross, Germany claimed that they were also carrying arms and that therefore they were legitimate targets.