A century has passed since around 349 men perished in the icy waters at the mouth of Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Ireland with the sinking of the HMS Laurentic on 25th January 1917. The impact of this tragedy was felt by families throughout the world. From small coastal communities in Scotland, the Western Isles, The Orkney Islands, Ireland and Wales, from the industrial heartlands of England to the Southern coasts of Cornwall and Devon, from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United Sates. Some of these men had entered service in the Navy many years before the outbreak of war, some had formed part of the Laurentic crew while she served as a luxurious Trans-Atlantic passenger ship in the White Star Line and many had been called up from the Royal Naval Reserves.
For more than 10 years the loss of HMS Laurentic has been remembered in the Republic of Ireland by The Ulster Canada Initiative in ceremonies in the towns of Fahan and Buncrana where more than 70 of the men who died that night are buried. Plans are now well underway to erect a fitting memorial at Fort Dunree in County Donegal, overlooking the site of the disaster. Included in this undertaking is a fundraising component to finance the design and manufacture of the memorial and to continue the development of this virtual memorial. With the support of family members, local businesses and individuals, Donegal County Council, Inishowen Development Partnership and the Leader Programme, the monument is scheduled to be unveiled in October 2019.
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