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HOSPITAL SHIPS SUNK. SERIOUS LOSS OF LIFE. ;Germans Among the Victims. (Reuter.) LONDON, 23rd, April. It is announced by the Admiralty that" the British hospital ships Donegal (1885 tons) and Lanfranc (6287 tons) were tor pedoed without warning on the evening of 17th April while transporting wounded sol diers to British ports. "Owing to the German practice of sink ing hospital ships, it is no longer possible to place distinguishing signs on hospital ships, because they thus become more con spicuous targets," the Admiralty statement says. "Therefore the Donegal and Lan franc were not marked as hospital ships, but were provided with an escort. "The Donegal carried slightly wounded men, of whom 29, also 12 of the crew, .are missing. The Lanfranc carried 234- Bri tish wounded and 167 German wounded, a medical staff of 52, and a crew of .123. Twenty-three British and 15 Germans are missing. Patrol boats at imminent risk of being torpedoed, rescued 162 German wounded. "The illegal and inhuman submarining of' hospital shipsc is the culmination of savagery, and has brought the world "face to. face with a situation unparalleled in civilised warfare. It has no justification in any conceivable distortion of interna tional law, or the most brutal creed of ne cessity. "Following the sinking of the Asturias and the Gloucestershire Castle, Great Bri tain decided to transport the wounded by. vessels not bearing distinctive marking," and notified Germany of the withdrawal of certain hospital ships. The fighting on the west front is leaving a very large number of wounded Germans in our hands, and prac. -tically all the ships bringing wounded are bound to carry a proportion of Germans. It remains to be seen whether the know ledge of this will deflect the German Go vernment from its abominable course." The statenient reviews the progress of the German campaign against hospital ships, and points out that Germany's original ac cusation that hospital ships of the Allies, and of Britain in particular, were employed for the purpose of transporting troops and military supplies, was based upon the1 evi dence of witnesses the majority of whom were anonymous, and the remainder Ger man.. Britain, in denying the outrageous charges, showed that German? had an ob vious remedy in cases of suspicion, namely, the right to visit and search any hospital ships encountered on the high seas. "FTrom the German refusal to tolerate hospital ships within certain limits," the statement continues, "only one conclusion can be drawn, namely, that it is the in tention of Germany to add yet another and
more unspeakable crime to the long list that disgraces her record." The Admiralty recalls how the German Government has gloatingly announced the torpedoing of hospital ships, while the German nation appears to have accepted the intelligence with composure, if not with `satisfaction. Warnings being useless,;orders were given for the recent raid on Freiburg, in Baden, as a reprisal. The statement contrasts the attitude of tihe Germans towards that raid with the spirit in which the Allies exacted retribu. tion by purely military measures. The air. men who carried out the attack were ex. posed. to, and did, in fact, incur precisely the same dangers from the town' defences as they would have incurred in the course of- an ordinary action. "'It is plain, however, that any- retalia tory measures open to a Government up. holding the principles .of humanity and jus.: tice will not prove a deterrent to Germane in the future," - it is added. "Such =re. prisals can be only punitive in effect. It is necessary to reconsider the entire statu,: of hospital ships in the light of the Ge61 man attitude." - - ("The Times.") - " The: Lanfranc- was torpedoed at: o'clock at night, apparently by two sub marines. It carried wounded Germans who were captured in the recent British- advance in France, including 40 :officers,- some of high rank, who know that -we are using hospital ships in a genuine way. The. only panic was due' to the anxiety of the Germans to save their own skins. They honestly believed that their own-?sub marines would save them. When :the rescue ships appeared they thought them to be German ships. They believed that Britain had lost.,command of the seas, and that the Fatherland ruled the waves. They: shouted loudly to the rescue ships, think-.:-. ing that the German tongue .would briing their countrymen quickly to their rescue.: Discovering .their mistake, "the Germans altered their tone completely, herding to 'gether rind screaming out "Mercy, kame?: ad." Some .plunged into the sea, trying'< frantically, to attract the attention of ot;her ships which they imagined to be Germanr. Those remaining aboard were with difficulty stopped from rushing the lifeboats. Only the firmness and threats of the Lanfranc officers: prevented German cowardice precipitating a complete disaster. The crew gallantly: promptly attended to the wounded. Four. hundred Tommies, the majority being 'cot cases, were brought up on stretchers and transferred to the lifeboats till neatly all were saved. The crew and officers worked unceasingly until they had .accomplished - theif; arduous and delicate task. The German wounded were then treated similarly, the crew agreeing that they were probably victims of the German military nia, ehine, and therefore they could not see themn perish through their fellow countrymen s foul deeds. Although the explosion smash' ed one or two of the lifeboats the majority .were swung out by the crew. One boat fuh of Germans fell headlong into the water. Some were drowned, but the remainder were rescued. The lifeboats drifted for a - long' time before the rescued captives were land .vd. The cas~hlties are not yet known,. but they include some wounded. The ship, which. was torpedoed in the engine-room,' remained afloat for ninety minutes. All the wounded were removed in half, that time. There were 610 wounded men and a crew of 70 on the Donegal. The torpedo tore a great hole in the casing, . and part of the deck collapsed. Parts of the -vessel were blown to atoms, injuring a number of the crew and killing five. The rudder was blb'oni off, and the vessel sank in haE -an hour. There .was no panic. The officers and 'crew displayed wonderful spirit, working like' heroes in rescuing'the wounded. Fortunately the .majority df the' wounded were able- to walk; The lifeboats were lowered promptly and coolly,. and all the wounded were 'saved except a few who were killed 1w thbr es' plosion. John Priest, a young fireman, was injur. ed in the head. lie gas a survivor from the I'itanic,' 'when lie was'frostbitten and si?s trined an injury to one of his legs, ;and was on l-bardi the Olympic when it collided writh - the Hawk off the Isle of . Wight. Be served on the Alcantara, and was wounded, when Sthe v-essel was torpedoed in -the N1orth Sea aIfter fighting the .erman riraidei Greif. Sub sequently ire served on the Britannie. 'Many Prussian Guards were -on board the Janfranc. The British wounded behaved with the greatest heroism, rivalling -the troops on the .Birkenhead and the Trnda reus. An'officer describes how a soldier with r. leg severed and head bandaged lifted him self up the staircase by his hands and'whist led to a mate. to help a helpless PrussiAn. Another limping Tommy gave a Prussian officer his .arm, arid helped himn into the. boat. A sergeant removed his tunic to make a pillow for a wounded German. (United Service.) LONDON, 24th April.. British sailors who were on board the' hospital ship Lanfrance say that ,directly the ship was torpedoed .some of tlhe PrUs sians on board went raving miad. Some flung themselves into the Water, waving their arms frantically. German officers had no control over their men. At the sight of the subniiarine the Prus sians danced on deck, pushing everybody out of the way, evelr the wounded, hoping that the submarine would save them. Next moment -they were whimpering for help. We were willing to go to the help of all we could, but if the captain had ordered us to throw the Germans into the water or shoot a few ie would have been within his
rights, because they were endangering the lives of all on board. Many on dashing for the lifeboats fell overboard and were crowned. (Reuter.) Referring to the rescun- of the German wounded in tle hospital ships, Pa-ris new;w papers. pay a tribute to what they charae. terise as "the lofty and exemplary humanity of the. British navy toward a faithless and lawlesa foe."