Dinner onboard the Laurentic

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This historic photograph from the Magee Collection shows the crew of the SS Laurentic being entertained at the Guildhall on February 1, 1917.

A banquet was held in their honour by the Mayor, Sir Robert Anderson - who can be seen standing at the head of the centre table.

On January 25, 1917, the SS Laurentic - a White Star liner converted to an auxiliary cruiser, under the command of Captain Reginald Norton, sailing for Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 43 tonnes of gold and silver on board - pulled into port at the Royal Navy base at Buncrana.

The ship only stayed a few hours to discharge a small number of ratings before resuming its journey.

On leaving Lough Swilly, the ship was either torpedoed by a German U-boat or hit by a mine of Fanad Head.

In any case, the Laurentic sank with the loss of 354 lives including that of local man, Lieutenant Steel, from Ivy Terrace.

An incredible salvage feat between 1917 and 1924 recovered 3,186 gold bars of the missing 3,211 with a further five being recovered in 1932 by another salvage operation, leaving 20 gold bars still unaccounted for at the bottom of Lough Swilly worth some £10 million at current prices.

SS Laurentic was built by Harland & Wolff at their Belfast yard No. 394 and went down the slipway on April 29, 1909.

A few months later, the same Belfast workers began construction on her famous cousin, Titanic.