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On the outbreak of the Great War (World War 1) in 1914, the White Star liner RMS Laurentic was requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed merchant cruiser. On 25th January 1917 she struck by two mines laid by the German U-boat, U-80A off Lough Swilly on the northern coast of County Donegal, Ireland and sank with the loss of 350 persons. The HMS Laurentic was travelling via New York to Canada and her cargo included a substantial amount of gold bullion that was later recovered. This cargo was payment of 5 million (old money - approximately 253 million now) to the Canadian and American governments for munitions.
A number of the bodies were washed ashore in the Hebrides including North Uist.