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Thread: The Sinking of the Laconia

  1. #1
    Senior Member John Doh's Avatar
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    Default The Sinking of the Laconia

    I'm curious about the lack of comment here about Alan Bleasdale's drama (See separate Thread). Kong has voiced his very negative views there, but it might be interesting to see what other opinions and memories can be offered on this topic by other old sea-dogs (and others). Alan himself believes that the story was so embarrassing to all the nations involved that it's been conveniently forgotten by everyone.

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    There's a documentary on BBC2 tonight at 7.30 pm on the event that has the testimonies of six of the survivors that might be worth comparing with the drama.

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    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Everyone is entitled to his view, as all film Critics do and in this one Bleasdale was certainly out of his depth on seafaring matters. As I said, the story was already written in all the Reports, all Bleasdale had to do was to write a credible story line to link the characters in a credible situation. This he clearly failed to do, so just in case you failed to understand.

    Here is like wot I wrote.....................

    I and all the Seafaring men on the Merchant Navy site thought the film was rubbish. The story is indeed a true one, I wrote a Bio, for "some one`s" book on `Cunard Captains since 1838`, on Captain Sharpe who perished, He had survived the sinking of the Lancastria where between 4 and 9,000 men died. That is only an estimate. There were no records of the number of people on board, I sailed with `Nutty` Curran, a well known Liverpool boxer and ships Fireman who survived, he said they were all told and had to sign the OSA not to tell anyone anything about that disaster.
    So I did know the true story.
    But Bleasdale should get his facts right. He obviously knows nothing of Seafaring, when he writes about the Sea he is clearly out of his depth, even the way seamen speak, the way a ship operates, and the markings of rank on an officers uniform.
    I saw a man described as a Junior Third Officer, He would probably have been a senior Cadet. He had three gold stripes on his uniform, a Junior Third would have only one thin stripe. He has a Red badge with two crossed anchors on his left sleeve, and three brass buttons on each cuff of his jacket, He had more decorations than a Japanese Admiral.
    The Chief Officer had two and a half stripes, he would have three. The Third Officer traditionally does the 8 to 12 watch in the evenings, and is certainly not permitted to enter a lady passengers cabin. This guy who should have been on the Bridge on watch is in a lady`s cabin and is actually baby sitting for her while she goes to the bar and dance. Unbelievable. He also went into the lady`s cabin and rooted through her personal effects on her cabinet while she was out, then she came in. This is a serious offence for an employee of Cunard to do, He would have been sacked from the Company, if the events to come did not happen. The way the "scouse" fella was speaking was nothing like I have ever heard any "scouse" seaman speak. also what was he doing dragging an Itie POW through the passenger accommodation?. The Radio Officers, who are the only true `Officers` on a ship are all wearing RN ratings uniforms. They were employed by Marconi Company.
    The Commander of the Sub and a couple of his men must have climbed down into a dry dock and walked past a newly painted modern ship with a bulbous bow, [ these did not come in until the 60s] and then would have had to climb out of the dry dock to get to their submarine. Why would they do that?? The Submarine then pulled of the quay and was about thirty feet off when the Engineer phoned the Captain to say the engines were now ready, unbelievable.
    Lifeboats, there was no lifeboat drill or muster at all, it seemed to be a mad house of people leaping over the side. I sailed on the Laconia`s sister ship, the old Franconia, 56 years ago, so I do know what goes on with a ship like that.
    The acting was wooden, long drawn out conversations that were completely boring and non relevent.
    The only decent actor was the U-boat Commander.
    A story like the that should have been very easy to do.
    All the documents of the `Laconia Incident` were well recorded by the British, German, Italian and American authorities, so Bleasdale didnt need to do so much research into that as it was all there for him. He should have had some Seafaring man who knows his job to advise him on ships and Seafaring men.
    It should have been quite easy for him to join a few characters together.
    Mr Bleasdale should confine himself to land based plays.

    So the original and tragic story is cocked up by a writer who has no idea of what he is writing about. All he had to do was to get some advice from a qualified Seafarer and he could have made a good film.
    Now What would you have done JD???

    ---------- Post added at 02:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:48 PM ----------

    Thanks for that Pennylane,
    The film lost a lot of drama, what happened to Captain Sharpe, and the Chief Officer?? It was never mentioned. Captain Sharpe was already a well known War Hero, He survived the sinking of the Lancastria, another Liverpool Cunard ship with anything up to 8 or 9,000 people killed. Unfortunately he did not survive the Laconia. Why did Bleasdale concentrate on a nonentity like a fictitous Junior Third Officer, with more badges than the Captain, who goes baby sitting instead of being on watch on the Bridge. This was wartime, a Ship with that number of people on board, not in a convoy but sailing independently and a Navigation Officer can go babysitting?
    Bleasdale is insulting the intelligence of the viewers and insulting the memory of the British Merchant Seamen who died.
    Also what happened to the survivors? If they were picked up by the Vichy French ship they would have been taken prisoner as that is what the Vichy French did, They transferred many, many British Seamen to the Germans and they were POWs in Malaig in Germany.

    ---------- Post added at 03:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:37 PM ----------

    There are two good videos on UTUBE by neilpendo, these include original films of the event and comments by two survivors,
    Bill Peet and Davi Jones also by crew members of the U156

    See the real thing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member gregs dad's Avatar
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    I think it was too long, turned it off the first night after 20mins flicked over the second to see if it had improved .it hadn`t ,switched off

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Doh View Post
    There's a documentary on BBC2 tonight at 7.30 pm on the event that has the testimonies of six of the survivors that might be worth comparing with the drama.
    One of the survivor's interviewed tonight lives in Wallasey. There was an article on him in last night's Echo.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregs dad View Post
    I think it was too long, turned it off the first night after 20mins flicked over the second to see if it had improved .it hadn`t ,switched off
    I didn't fancy watching it.

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