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7th May:- the sinking Cunard Line’s Lusitania


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#1 larneman

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 06:50 PM

I just wish to stand still by the 90th anniversary of one of the 20th century’s notorious events off the coast of Ireland. On Friday 7th MAY, 1915: 14:10 GMT, the Lusitania was torpedoed by Kapitan-Leutnant Walther Schwieger, Commander of the German submarine U-20 using a a forward tube loaded with a G-type torpedo. Of those on board 1,198 perished and only 764 were saved by those who responded to her SOS.

Lusitania was built by John Brown & Co. of Clydebank and was launched in 1906. The first British four-stacker, Lusitania was also the world's first quadruple screw steamer and the first ship to exceed 30,000 tons. Lusitania made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 7 September 1907. She was at that time the largest ship in the world, a distinction she would hold until her sister Mauretania entered service two months later.

Holder of both Blue Ribands, Lusitania set westbound crossing records in October 1907, July 1908, August 1908 and September 1909 and an eastbound record in October 1907.

At sea when World War I broke out, Lusitania arrived home safely, and was kept in her regular service during the war, making monthly sailings between Liverpool and New York. However, on 7 May 1915, while heading east off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, Lusitania was torpedoed without warning by U-20 and sank within 18 minutes.

Of the 764 that were saved the following 3 fell in WW1 and perhaps more.

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The family Gardner consisting of father, James, mother, Annie who died on May 7th and 2 sons Eric and William who survived, with Eric swimming to an upturned lifeboat on which he found his father, dead.

The brothers resumed their journey to New Zealand. Eric enlisted in the army during the summer of 1916, joining the New Zealand Expeditionary Force 3rd Battalion, and was shot through the head and killed in the Paeschendale Offensive on October 15th, 1917. He is buried in the Nine Elms Cemetery in Flanders.
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Cyril and Mary Anita Pells, traveling with their infant son John from Canada to England where Mr. Pells was to join his regiment, despaired of ever leaving the ship safely. They sat together on chairs, presumably on the port side, to wait for the end. When it came, they were pulled down deep with the ship, and in the torrent John was wrenched out of his father’s arms and lost. Cyril and Mary surfaced and were able to pull themselves atop a swamped lifeboat or collapsible. Cyril Pells joined his regiment as originally planned, following a period of recovery in London, but after receiving a brief note telling of his safe arrival in France, Mary Anita never heard from him again and he is documented as having been killed in action on May 27th 1918.
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Another passenger who survived the Lusitania only to be killed in action was Cyril J.G. Wallace, 20.Cyril, from “The Barracks, Alnwick, Scotland,” had immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 aboard the Furnessia settling with an uncle in Boston. He, like many other male passengers in second class, was returning to the United Kingdom for military service. Cyril was in his cabin, C-28, when the ship was torpedoed. He had time to grab his lifebelt and run up to the boat deck. He assisted in the lowering of the boats, and surrendered his lifebelt to 66 year old Jeanie Fyfe of Glasgow. He swam clear of the Lusitania before she sank, and was able to witness her end from a distance of thirty yards. He managed to climb atop an upturned lifeboat, allegedly the same boat as Belle Naish, and from there was rescued.

Lieutenant Cyril J.G. Wallace was lost in while military service on September 9, 1918.
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Websites of interest:-

http://www.encyclope...s/lusitania.php

http://www.lusitania.net/

www.greatships.net/lusitania.html

www.pbs.org/lostliners/lusitania.html

#2 3rdID

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:09 AM

What do people think of this statement?

"If blame lies anywhere it is with the British Admiralty, which by muddling the merchant with the military, and by failing to keep the civilian status of passenger liners strictly sancrosanct, gave the desperate Germans little choice but to extend U-boat attacks on all vessels."

The Doughboys by Gary Mead, page 36

#3 Frajohn

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 07:22 AM

Larneman

I found the stories of those three men especially moving. To have survived the sinking, then to die in the manner that they did is tragic

Thank you for posting that information

regards

John

#4 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 07:46 AM

QUOTE (3rdID @ Oct 9 2006, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What do people think of this statement?

"If blame lies anywhere it is with the British Admiralty, which by muddling the merchant with the military, and by failing to keep the civilian status of passenger liners strictly sancrosanct, gave the desperate Germans little choice but to extend U-boat attacks on all vessels."

The Doughboys by Gary Mead, page 36


The munitions controversy continues. I think I am right in saying that Robert Ballard of "Finding the Titanic" fame could not conclude one way or the other that the ship was carrying munitions but that a previous marine archeologist who had investigated the wreck, did interprete from the blow out in the hull, that she had. But there is another theory, irrespective of whether she was carying munitions or not, that the Germans were led to believe she was, in an attempt to bring America into the war on an official and direct basis, and possibly with the collusion of Woodrow Wilson.

#5 stevew

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 01:09 PM

QUOTE (Jonathan Saunders @ Oct 11 2006, 08:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But there is another theory, irrespective of whether she was carying munitions or not, that the Germans were led to believe she was, in an attempt to bring America into the war on an official and direct basis, and possibly with the collusion of Woodrow Wilson.


Are you suggesting that a Government would sacrifice Innocent civilians in the name of 'war'. The conspiracy theorists would love that biggrin.gif

#6 3rdID

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 08:03 AM

What raised my eyebrows so to speak was that the author blamed the British.