THOMAS BOSTON ANDERSON.
Service. Merchant Navy.
Unit Text. His Majesty’s Hospital Ship St. David.
Killed in Action. 24 January 1944.
Husband of. Winifred May Anderson, of South Benfleet. Essex.
Memorial Ref. Tower Hill Memorial. London.
H.M.H.S. St. David.
Designated as a hospital or medical treatment facility all hospital ships were protected under the Geneva Convention. These ships were identified by having their structure painted white with a large red cross painted on each side. This however did not stop the ships being attacked by the enemy and firing on a hospital ship was considered a war crime.
24 January 1944. H.M.H.S. St. David, well illuminated and displaying the neutral markings of a hospital ship was about 25 miles south-west of Anzio when she was attacked by enemy aircraft. One bomb hit the ship in No.3 hold, two others exploded alongside No. 2 hold. The ship was sinking fast and Captain Owens gave the order to abandon ship. The crew attempted to save all those aboard but the ship sank five minutes after the initial hit. Captain Owens lost his life with 12 of his crew, 22 patients and 22 Royal Army Medical Corps, including 2 nursing sisters from the Reserve Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service, Sarah Elizabeth Dixon and Winnie Alice Elizabeth Harrison. 159 people were saved.
During the war years the H.M.H.S. St. David carried 6000 patients and covered 25000 miles.
Reverse of postcard. Posted to Bishops Waltham. Hampshire.
Dear Mum/ Just arrived in ‘Blighty.’ Will let you know the hospital when I get there. Lots of love ?