Arandora Embarkees

Arandora Star
Victims & Survivors
Latest Research

Alfonso Pacitti

December 2022

I carried out this research activity as part of a UK-wide project aiming to create the first UK Arandora Star Memorial, The research establishes, as best as I can, the number and names of those Italians who were put on board the Arandora Star on that fateful night.

Since the original publication of the lists of those who perished and survived (The Embarkation List) and the Missing Persons List, little extensive further research had been carried out. Over the years, as newer information sources have become available over time, I have now been able to provide a more definitive and accurate assessment of the data.

Initially, the list of victims published by the UK Government indicated that 486 Italian men were lost and 226 rescued, a total of 712 internees. Up until recently, the generally accepted and more accurate assessment was that 446 Italians perished, and a further approximately 250 were rescued, of whom 200 were subsequently transported to Australia on the SS Canberra.

My latest research now concludes that 442 Italians are known to have perished and 264 men were rescued by HMCS St. Laurent - a total of 706 internees. Of those rescued, 64 were hospitalised in Scotland before being interned at Isle of Man (or released). The remaining 200 were sent to various internment camps in Australia.

The reasoning and logic for the differences between this research and previous data will be officially published shortly. A draft copy of my research document is available here. The document still has to undergo peer review but you are welcome to read it. Please do not copy and distribute. If you have any comments, corrections or queries, please contact me.

I have created a number of other documents detailing those Italians who were sent to Canada on the Arandora Star. You can view and download these documents via the links alongside.
The documents comprise:

  1. Arandora Star Victims: Those 442 who are known to have perished on the Arandora Star
  2. Embarkation Lists: National Archives - FO 371 Document no 25210
  3. Dunera Internees: Those 200 survivors who were subsequently sent to Camps in Australia on the SS Dunera
  4. Mearnskirk Hospitalised: Those 64 survivors deemed too ill to be sent to Australia and were hospitalised at Glasgow
  5. Mearnskirk Register: Extracts from the original Mearnskirk Hospital Register (July 1940)
  6. Arandora Star Embarkees: A complete list of all 706 Italian Internees embarked onto the Arandora Star
  7. Arandora Star Victims Estates: The monetary effects of some of those who perished

The data was gathered and analysed from the following sources:

  • National Archives - FO 371 Document no 25210: Arandora Star Embarkation Lists
This document (the earliest chronologically) lists the names of all embarked internees under two columns headed 'Survivors' and ‘Lost’. Where known, each individual is also identified by a number as well as a camp of origin. On the front page, a simple handwritten calculation under the heading 'Italians', indicates 486 lost and 226 saved, total of 712 men.

  • The “Missing Persons List”

    It was not until 1990 that the Home Office finally allowed access to some of their data concerning the Arandora Star. The Missing Persons List was first released into general viewing at the National Archives, Kew in 1990. These archive files do not form an integral 'list' as such, but consists of a main list and smaller hand-written additional lists.
    Dr Terri Colpi visited the Archives at Kew and compiled a list to her own design and format. In 1991, she was the first person to publish 'the list' in her book "The Italian Factor". All subsequent publications of this "list" (on the web and in hard print) were derived from her initial list; most in fact reproducing exactly her columns and organisation of the information and, as it has turned out, the same (understandable) errors.

  • WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards (HO396)
  • These cards are located at the National Archives, London and one individual is recorded on each card. The files are collated over numerous collections and individuals often appear several times in different categories.

  • BT 334 Register of Deceased Passengers April 1941
  • This Register is where detail of everyone who dies at sea is supposed to be recorded. The date of the record is often some time after the event but the Register has provided a fairly complete set of records of those who died on the Arandora Star.In the case of the Arandora Star victims, the 435 Italian entries stretch over 22 pages (pages 54 - 75) with some 20 entries per page.

  • UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects 1914-1920
  • This set of records is located at UK National Army Museum at London. It appears that the authorities used some spare empty pages in a book already being used for the above purpose. The records of the estates of those internees who died on the Arandora Star at the end of the book. This particular record set comprises 369 individuals.

  • National Archives Australia
  • The Australian National Archives is an Australian Government agency, based in Canberra, that holds all important government records. Many of the records are accessible online at . Each of the 200 Italian internees has one or more records extensively detailing their time held in various Internment camps located in the states of South Australia and Victoria.

  • Mearnskirk Hospital Glasgow Admissions Register 1940
  • This register located at the NHS Scotland Archives, Mitchell Library, Glasgow contains records of all admissions to the hospital during 1940. There were 63 Italian and 68 German men admitted on July 3rd 1940 on the register with a complete set of accompanying information. One additional Italian (Cesare Bianchi) is not to be found in the Mearnskirk register but other records would indicate that he was also rescued.

  • Various Irish & Scottish Newspaper records and websites
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