A long line of coffins

This photograph was published in French newspaper Le Miroir some time ago after the sinking of cruiser Léon Gambetta during the night from 26 to 27 April 1915, 15 miles south of Santa Maria di Leuca (south-eastern tip of Italy in the Ionian Sea), after having been torpedoed by Austro-Hungarian submarine U-5 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp (yes, the patriarch of the Von Trapp family singers).

138 sailors survived this sinking, 681 died in this tragedy and the corpses of only 58 of them were found. This picture shows the funeral of these sailors. An important information given by this picture; to help the identification of the coffins, the names of the sailors have been painted on them. With the exception of Rear Admiral Victor Baptistin Senes, who was the commander of the 2nd Light Division and whose corps was brought back to France, the mortal remains of these sailors are still in Apulia, in a little chapel of the cemetery of Castrignano.



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