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"Hospital Ships in U-Boat Sights 1917-18" Topic

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World War One

486 hits since 21 Aug 2017
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

"There can be few more dreadful predicaments in warfare at sea than to be a patient in a hospital ship attacked by the enemy. The vulnerability of such ships was recognised in The Hague Convention of 1907 which specified that they should be immune to attack but clearly marked (typically with white hulls and clearly marked red crosses, and be illuminated at night), should offer succour to friend and foe alike, and should not be used for military purposes. The necessity of carrying large medical staff, in addition to sick and wounded, meant that such ships were usually large typically converted liners on longer routes and ideally fast also. In the course of WW1 a number of British hospital ships were sunk some by mine, including the Titanic's sister, the 48,000-ton Britannic but others were torpedoed by U-boats. Some such sinkings may indeed have been accidents but one at least as recounted later in this article represented deliberate, cold-blooded murder and one of the most appalling atrocities of WW1 at sea. It's notable that some of the worst cases, in which there can have been little doubt as to identity, occurred in the later part of the war, after Germany's institution of unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917…"
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