Cunard Line's Lusitania
Lusitania: Cunard Line
The Lusitania and her sister ship, Mauretania, were two of the biggest, safest, and most luxurious ships of their era. Mauretania would lead a long, successful career, but Lusitania's life would be cut off in it's prime. :-(
Why Did She Sink so
Quickly?--The Munitions Question
U-20 -- The Sub that Sank the Lusitania
Mauretania vs. Lusitania--A Comparison
May 1, 1915--Lusitania leaves port in New York City, on her way to Queenstown, Ireland. Few passengers paid any heed (in fact, only one passenger changed his mind) to a German Embassy warning that any British ship was liable to be sunk. The notice read:
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 ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Imperial German Embassy
Washington, D. C., April 22, 1915
May 7, 1915--Lusitania enters the most dangerous part of her journey. However, Captain William Turner, instead of speeding up, slows down.
This doomed the ship. Kapitšnleutnant Walther Schwiger, of the German Submarine U-20, saw a huge four-stacked ship, he sent only one torpedo. The explosion set off a huge secondary explosion, and the ship sank in 18 minutes.
She carried 1,195 of her 1,959 people onboard to the bottom. These included 123 Americans.
Lusitania left a lasting impression on 20th Century Europe and America. The United States people pressed Woodrow Wilson to declare war on Germany. It also showed the use of submarine warfare, and also the fact that the "civilized" ideals of 19th Century warfare would not last into the 20th Century.
The Lusitania, once the pride of the Cunard Line, lies in 295 feet of water off the Irish coast. She lies on her starboard side, and is a scene of devastation. Only the bow is recognisable as the once proud front of the ship.
But what happened to the Mauretania? Mauretania went on to
become a very reliable ship. She continued to ply the ocean waters until 1934. In 1935,
she was sold for scrap metal. Many of her fittings survive, some in an Irish pub. She
would remain the fastest ship in the world until 1929. She would be captained by several
men, most notably Captain Arthur Rostron, of Carpathia fame.