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On 30th December 1917 the troopship HT ‘Aragon’ was torpedoed entering the port of Alexandria. A total of 380 officers and men of the Commonwealth forces were drowned as the ship sunk in less than 15 minutes.

On her arrival at Alexandria on December 30th, 1917, the ship was permitted to enter the harbour, but later was ordered out again. She anchored outside without any protection from submarine attack, for which she was an easy target.

This piece of indiscretion on the part of the authorities did not remain long unpunished, for the Aragon was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UC-34.

Amongst those killed were 18 soldiers of the 12th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

They are remembered on the Chatby Memorial in Egypt.

22488 Lance Corporal WILLIAM BRINDLE
33819 Private AUGUSTUS ARTHUR CHESHIRE
31899 Private JOHN COPLEY
36886 Private FRANK DUNLOP
34145 Private GEORGE EDWARD HEWITT
34117 Private GEORGE JACKSON
34530 Private HARRY JONES
26049 Private HORACE VICTOR JONES
39339 Private WILLIAM EDWARD MARCHANT
15862 Company Quartermaster Serjeant WILLIAM MORGAN
39228 Private FRANCIS McCORMICK
31916 Private JOSEPH NEWTON
20116 Private SYDNEY REYNOLDS
26566 Private THOMAS WILLIAM ROBINSON
33706 Private SYDNEY SMITH ROGINSON
2964 Private ROBERT ROUND
25504 Private GEORGE WILLIAM WARD
34727 Private RICHARD WINSTANLEY

HT Aragon 1905 – 1917

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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10 Responses to Sinking of the Aragon: 30th December 1917

  1. Susan Round says:

    Thank you for this story of the HT Aragon, I was pleased to see the name of Robert Round in print.

  2. Mike Emsden says:

    Paul,
    Is there a full list of men lost on the Aragon as 8609 Cpl George William Mabbott 5 Suff R is noted as “Missing believed drowned” on 30 Dec 1917 and he also appears on the Chatby Memorial.
    Great site. Many thanks.

    Mike

    • Hi Mike,
      I am not aware of a full list, maybe it would be worth searching newspapers from that time to see if any named all of the casualties. Failing that, it should be possible to compile one using the CWGC website.
      Regards,
      Paul

  3. Les Forester says:

    This, and other articles, does not state that apart from troops, the “Aragon” was also carrying wounded soldiers. Among them was Private Henry Sutcliffe Fox, of West Vale, Greetland near Halifax W Yorks. He was drowned when both the “Aragon” and the destroyer “Attack” were sunk. The “Attack” was rescuing memn from the “Aragon”, when it was torpedoed too.

  4. Tessa Potter says:

    I have been trying to identify an incident described by my father – (between Oct 1916 and 18 a newly qualified doctor in Macedonia with the RAMC)- how having just disembarked himself, the ship he was on, was then sunk in front of him with many of his friends and great loss of life.
    Having investigated every sinking from 1914 (he was with first Serbian Relief Fund as a medical student) to 1918, this is the only scenario which seems to fit his description. My question is, when the Aragon ‘briefly’ entered the harbour, did some men disembark before she was ordered out again?
    Do you you know where I can find some first hand accounts?
    Thank for any help. T. Potter

    • An interesting question but can’t imagine they would have docked for some men to disembark then moved off again – I don’t know. I’ll see what I can find. Thanks, Paul

  5. Jon.l.lawton says:

    Harpley Appleby t3025974 drowned at sea.ht aragon
    December 1917
    Army service corps 75th divisional train
    Age 27
    Resided plover Street warrenby redcar
    Wife Sarah Ann blower
    Born 1890

  6. Lee Roberts says:

    hi my great great uncle Alfred victor Hume 275805 L/cpl.
    1/6th battalion Essex regiment lost in H.M. Aragon.

    this year, is the 100 years ago in December I am thinking to go to Egypt after Christmas has anyone been over there?

  7. Gareth says:

    Looking for info on Harold Currie 1897-2000 from belfast and dundonald. He was on the aragon, and HMS attack and couldn’t swim,so survived it all and ended up the second oldest survivor of ww1 in northern Ireland.any information wud be great

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