Surviving soldiers marched to Londonderry
A man whose grandfather was on the Tuscania has provided the Sentinel with greater detail about how the American troops were ferried to medical facilities across northern parts of Ireland when they were rescued.
Steven Schwartz is still conducting research into the sinking of the ship.
Mr Schwartz, a resident of Washington, said his grandfather George was aboard the ill-fated vessel. Writing by e-mail to the Sentinel, Steven said: “The HMS Pigeon, Grasshopper and Mosquito took survivors to Lough Swilly where they were put ashore at Buncrana. From there, those who were able, were marched to the city of Londonderry, where they were given shelter, clothing and meals.
“Perhaps some of the survivors were put up in Buncrana, but I am not exactly sure of this. But, Buncrana is where I believe most of the survivors landed and because there were so many who landed there it must have taxed the resources of that community and its people, but by all of the survivors’ reports, the Irish people were very warm, inviting and very hospitable and without their support and generosity they feared there own survival rate would have been less favourable.
“There were towo other seaports which took in substantial amounts of survivors, one was on Lough Foyle and and the other was Larne. The British Navy operated several trawlers during the rescue mission. The trawler Elf King rescued survivors from 11 lifeboats and took these survivors to Larne. Other trawlers were Gloria, Carrie Roy and a a Scottish boat called Walpole but it is still unclear where they landed those survivors they picked up.
“My grandfather George was found floundering around the water near the Tuscania. He was pulled aboard a lifeboat which was later rescued by a destroyer. According to George’s medical records the destroyer, which isn’t named, landed them in Larne. Because George was in a serious condition, he was taken to hospital in Belfast, I presume by train and ended up as a patient there until the war was over. He had a fractured skull, pneumonia and had hypothermia. In his own words he was not expected to live. George, died 18 years later. The doctor documented his death as being caused by ‘shell shock’.
“Whilst he said that he was rescued by a destroyer, I think it is possible he may have been mistaken as I am positive that the three destroyers that were conducting operations landed all their survivors in Buncrana. So, I think George was more than likely on the trawler Elf King.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West