The Sinking of the Laconia: Survivors’ Stories (2011)


Documentary on the sinking of the Cunard Liner Laconia in WWII, featuring real life accounts from the survivors, archive footage and photographs. Narrated by Lindsay Duncan.


Documentary following the story of the sinking of the Cunard Liner Laconia in World War II through the personal testimonies of six survivors.

The Laconia was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of West Africa in September 1942. Captain Hartenstein of the U-156 believed the ship to be a troop carrier but on finding that he had torpedoed civilians he launched a rescue operation taking people onto the U-boat and attaching lifeboats to the stern. The Americans based at Ascension Island intercepted a message for help from Hartenstein and sent a B-24 bomber to investigate. On locating the U-boat the Americans proceeded to drop several bombs, forcing the Germans to abandon the rescue. The survivors subsequently endured five days in a lifeboat with dwindling rations until they were finally picked up by the Vichy French Cruiser Le Gloire.

The real life accounts of the survivors are supplemented with illustrative archival moving footage, photographs of the actual incident and short exerts from the drama ‘The Sinking of the Laconia’ (Part 01 and Part 02).

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • George Pagliero.
  • Producer(s):
    • George Pagliero … producer.
    • Johnathan Young … executive producer.
  • Writer(s):
  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
    • George Pagliero.
    • Stephen Parry.
  • Production:
    • Talkback Thames.
  • Distributor(s):
    • BBC Two.
  • Release Date: 08 January 2011.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 30 minutes.
  • Country: UK and Germany.
  • Language: English and German.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.