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RMS Lusitania

 

 Lusitania

 

Lusitania was a British royal mail steamer owned and operated by Cunard line, the vessel was built at Clydebank in Scotland and came into service for Cunard in 1907, the ship was fitted with revolutionary turbine engines which enabled RMS Lusitania to attain speeds of around 26 knots, however this extra speed caused problems with vibrations in the rear of the ship, because of this second class accommodations had to be redesigned and stiffened with additional supports, although the modifications improved the comfort for second class the vibration problem was never fully resolved.

Lusitania embarked on her maiden Voyage on September 7, 1907 from Liverpool to New York, watched by thousands of onlookers who had gathered in Liverpool to see her off, after departing the ship made a brief stop at Queenstown, Ireland and arrived in New York on September 13, 1907 greeted by a crowd of thousands.

Between her maiden voyage in 1907 and Lusitania's demise in May 1915 the ship would make over 100 transatlantic crossings between Liverpool and New York and she also holds a blue ribbon award given to passenger liners crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed.

On may 1st 1915 Lusitania left New York for Liverpool, this would be her final voyage, with the outbreak of world war 1 in 1914 submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic and the seas around the united kingdom had turned into a war zone, on the day of the sailing the following warning  issued by germany appeared in newspapers leading to spectulation that lusitania was a specific target.

 


Warning issued by Germany

"Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY
Washington, D.C. 22nd April 1915

 


 

Despite the warning Lusitania left New York around lunchtime 2 hours later than planned.

Around 2pm on may 7, 1915 the ship was approaching the south coast of Ireland when she was torpedoed by German submarine U-20 which struck Lusitania on the starboard side near the bridge, for reasons unclear this set off a second explosion from within the ship and Lusitania sank 18 minutes later.

Despite how quickly the ship sank 768 people survived the initial sinking with four people dying later from the trauma of their ordeal.

The wreck of RMS Lusitania was discovered in 1935, it lies on its starboard side on the sea bed in just 300 feet of water, approximately 10 miles off the south coast of Ireland.

 

   


    

 Ship Specifications 

cunard poster 
  • Size: Medium
  • Type : Royal Mail Steamer
  • Length: 787 feet
  • Beam: 87 feet 
  • Tonnage: 44,060
  • Speed: 26 knots
  • Crew: 850
  • Passengers: 2,198
  • Christened: 7 june 1906
  • Godmother: Lady Mary Inverclyde
  • Maiden Voyage: 7 september 1907
  • Current status: The Wreck of the Lusitania lies 300 feet down on the sea bed at coordinates 51°25′N 8°33′W

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