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Lusitania 7 mei 1915

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 8:19    Onderwerp: Lusitania 7 mei 1915 Reageer met quote


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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 8:22    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

7 mei 1915, Atlantische Oceaan
Een daad waarvoor een Hun zich zou schamen.

Morte, zo luidde het lugubere onderschrift op telegrammen die, naar wordt gezegd, ontvangen werden door passagiers van het luxueuze Britse lijnschip de Lusitania, kort voordat zij op 1 mei 1915 in New York aan boord zouden gaan. De anonieme telegrammen waarschuwden voor een op handen zijnde ramp. De multimiljonair Alfred G. Vanderbilt zou het volgende advies gekregen hebben .'Volgens zeer betrouwbare bron wordt de Lusitania getorpedeerd. U kunt uw passage beter annuleren'.

Functionarissen van Cunard ontkenden dat dergelijke telegrammen waren ontvangen. Op de kade zetten geruchten over de aankondigingen van de ondergang niettemin de bekendmaking kracht hij die in de vorm van een advertentie in de ochtendbladen stond afgedrukt: 'de ambassadeur van het Duitse Rijk had de Atlantische reizigers erop gewezen dat Duitsland in staat van oorlog met Groot-Brittannië verkeerde en dat schepen die de Britse vlag of die van Britse bondgenoten voerden, moesten rekenen op vernietigingsaanvallen. Personen die de oorlogszone rond de Britse eilanden binnengingen, deden dat derhalve op eigen risico'.

Maar Vanderbilt en de meeste van de 1.256 passagiers maakten zich niet veel zorgen. Geen Duitse onderzeeboot zou het wagen een passagiersschip aan te vallen en zeker niet als daarop honderden Amerikanen werden vervoerd. Bovendien, geen onderzeeboot was sneller dan de goeie, ouwe 'Lucy', die drie maal in het bezit was gekomen van de Blauwe Wimpel, als het snelste transatlantische lijnschip. Hoewel de Lusitania in eerste instantie een luxe passagiersschip was, had het de mogelijkheid meer te zijn. Het schip werd in nauwe samenwerking met de Britse Admiraliteit ontworpen. De Admiraliteit, die verwachtte dat een oorlog met Duitsland onontkoombaar was, eiste dat Cunard een snel schip zou bouwen dat uitgerust kon worden met geschut. In mei 1913 werd de Lusitania in het geheim verbouwd - de schutdekken aan bakboord en stuurboord werden aangepast om twee batterijen met vier kanonnen te kunnen voeren en er werd munitieruimte gemaakt. In augustus 1914 werd de oorlog verklaard en in september werd de Lusitania door de Britse Admiraliteit aangesteld als gewapende hulpkruiser. Als de passagiers hadden geweten dat in het ruim misschien munitie voor Engeland werd meegevoerd, zouden zij zich stellig niet zo gerust hebben gevoeld. Het schip voer van New York naar Liverpool. Aan boord bevonden zich 1.150 passagiers, 700 bemanningsleden en 1400 ton onbepaalde lading. Opeengepakt in de ruimen van het schip bestond die uit 1200 kisten artilleriegranaten en bijna 5000 dozen patronen. Het meeste stond naast de scheidingswand van ketelruimte 1, die in 1913 tot munitiekamer was omgebouwd.

Alle dreigementen ten spijt, zette de Lusitania op 1 mei 1915 om half één 's middags koers naar Liverpool. Vijf dagen later koerste het schip de oorlogszone ten zuidwesten van Ierland binnen. De bekende voorzorgsmaatregelen werden getroffen: de reddingsboten werden in de davits gehangen en van hun dekkleden ontdaan. Op de avond van 6 mei waarschuwde het Britse ministerie van Marine voor onderzeebootactiviteiten in het gebied.

Kapitein William T. Turner trok zich niet veel van de waarschuwingen aan. Hij negeerde de belangrijkste instructies van het ministerie van Marine: maximale snelheid aanhouden, buiten het zicht van heuvelachtige gebieden blijven, het midden van de vaargeul houden en een zigzagkoers volgen. In plaats daarvan voer hij met een snelheid van 18 knopen vlak onder de kust, nog geen kilometer verwijderd van het lichtschip de Coningbeg, in een gebied waar onderzeeboten gesignaleerd waren. Bovendien maakte hij, door een rechte koers te volgen, zijn schip tot een makkelijk doelwit. Dicht in de buurt liet de Duitse Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger zijn onderzeeboot de U-20 aan de oppervlakte varen, ter afsluiting van een patrouillevaart van een week. Hij had voor de zuidoostkust van Ierland al een schoener en drie stoomschepen naar de kelder gejaagd. Om 13.20 uur ontdekte hij op 20 km afstand een schip: 'Stuurboord vooruit, vier schoorstenen en twee masten van een stoomschip, loodrecht op onze koers,' tekende hij in zijn journaal aan. 'Het schip geïdentificeerd als groot passagiersstoomschip'. Hij dook en volgde op volle snelheid een onderscheppende koers. Hij was verzekerd van een makkelijke prooi toen de Lusitania nietsvermoedend van koers veranderde en op hem af kwam stomen.

Zonder enige waarschuwing vuurde Schwieger een torpedo af. Enkele seconden later, om 14.10 uur, werd het lijnschip aan stuurboordzijde in de voorsteven geraakt. De torpedo ontplofte in de romp en veroorzaakte een tweede explosie in het ketelruim. Het schip maakte slagzij naar stuurboord en begon snel te zinken.

Terwijl het voorschip van de Lusitania steeds dieper in het water zakte, stroomden tonnen water door het gat en de patrijspoorten van de lagere dekken naar binnen. De elektriciteit viel uit, waardoor een aantal passagiers opgesloten raakte in de liften. De reddingsvesten waren niet te vinden. De meeste reddingsboten aan bakboordzijde konden niet te water gelaten worden, omdat het schip te zware slagzij naar stuurboord maakte. De boten aan stuurboordzijde werden op de verkeerde manier gestreken, zodat de inzittenden gewond raakten of in de woelige zee terechtkwamen.

In minder dan 18 minuten verdween het schip in de golven. Overlevenden herinnerden zich vreemde en afschuwelijke dingen. Een vrouw beviel in het koude water. Overal greep men naar alle voorwerpen die maar bleven drijven. Kapitein Turner hield zich met een stoel drijvende, totdat hij uren later gered werd. Margaret Gwyer, op huwelijksreis, werd op het laatste moment, toen de Lusitania onderging in een schoorsteenpijp gezogen. Maar even later werd ze er weer uitgegooid en kwam naast de reddingboot van haar man terecht, zodat het paar weer herenigd was.

De aanval werd door 761 mensen overleefd. In totaal kwamen er 1.198 om, onder wie 128 Amerikanen en 35 van de 39 kinderen. Alfred G. Vanderbilt, die niet kon zwemmen, werd voor het laatst op het dek gezien, waar hij kalm met een paars leren juwelenkistje onder de arm stond te wachten, gekleed alsof hij naar de paardenraces op Ascott ging.

Amerika was diep geschokt. "Duitsland moet gek geworden zijn, " riep de Richmond Times Dispatch uit. The Nation noemde het 'een daad waarvoor een Hun zich zou schamen, waarvoor een Turk door de grond zou willen zakken en waarvoor een Barbarijse zeerover zijn excuses zou aanbieden'. Enkele functionarissen drongen aan op oorlog. Overal ter wereld, van Canada tot Zuid-Afrika, werden anti-Duitse betogingen gehouden. De Duitsers zelf jubelden over wat zij een legitieme oorlogsdaad noemden : de vernietiging van een bewapend vijandelijk vaartuig.

Het nieuws van het zinken van de Lusitania gepaard met burgerslachtoffers verscheen in kranten over de hele wereld. Zowel de Amerikaanse als de Britse regering onderzochten het vergaan van het schip. De Amerikaanse onderzoekscommissie concludeerde dat de ramp "een illegale daad van het Duitse keizerrijk was." De Duitse autoriteiten antwoordden dat de Lusitania gewaarschuwd was, dat het een hulpkruiser was die oorlogstuig en, hoogst merkwaardig, Canadese troepen vervoerde. De Britse regering gaf toe dat het schip uitgerust kon worden met wapens, maar dat het ten tijde van het tot zinken brengen niet gewapend was. Overlevenden beweerden geen bewijzen van wapens of Canadese troepen gezien te hebben.

Uit het onderzoek dat volgde, vloeiden allerlei bizarre suggesties voort. Had Winston Churchill, de Britse minister van Marine, het hele gebeuren in scène gezet in de hoop de Verenigde Staten in de oorlog te betrekken? Niemand kon daarvoor ook maar het geringste bewijs aanvoeren. Was de ramp het gevolg van een nauwkeurig berekende Duitse hinderlaag? Kennelijk niet. De onderzeebootkapitein schijnt heel toevallig op zijn prooi gestoten te zijn. Was de onachtzame kapitein Turner misschien een agent van de Duitse keizer? Onderzoekingen zuiverden hem van iedere blaam. De Duitsers alleen werden verantwoordelijk gesteld voor het lot van de Lusitania.

En hoe zat het met die met 'Morte' ondertekende telegrammen! De identiteit van de afzender is nooit achterhaald. Zo er al telegrammen verzonden zijn, waren ze waarschijnlijk afkomstig van een gek die volkomen toevallig het juiste moment in de geschiedenis had gekozen om zijn duivelse grap uit te halen.

© http://users.skynet.be/verganeglorie/teksten/scheepsrampen/ramp_lusitania.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 9:20    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Eén van twee keien op het massagraf in Cobh (toen Queenstown geheten), waar veel slachtoffers zijn begraven.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 9:22    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote




Gedenksteen nabij het massagraf, ter nagedachtenis van de omgekomen bemanning.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 9:25    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Enkele mensen zijn niet in het massagraf begraven. Ze hebben een eigen graf en grafsteen gekregen.
Het massagraf bevind zich ongeveer tussen de twee groepen bomen op de achtergrond.

Op deze oude begraafplaats (wordt al jaren niet mee gebruikt) bevinden zich veel oude graven. Het oude kerkje is vervallen tot een ruïne.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 9:27    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Het monument in Cobh ter herinnering aan 7 mei 1915.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 9:28    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



De kathedraal in Cobh, waar de slachtoffers lagen opgebaard voordat ze begraven werden.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 10:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

De kathedraal had in 1915 nog geen complete spits, vandaar dat hij er op foto's uit die tijd anders uitziet.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2006 13:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Mooie platen, Mario! Cool Over een maand zit ik in de buurt en ik ga zeker een kijkje nemen. Er zijn inderdaad een hoop vragen over de ondergang van de Lusitania gerezen en één boek waarin de toedracht en achtergronden van deze tragedie bijzonder grondig en prettig leesbaar zijn uitgespit is Wilful Murder van de Britse historica Diana Preston. Ik heb het boek zelf trouwens tijdens mijn vorige vakantie in Ierland gekocht en kan het voor geinteresseerden in dit onderwerp zeker aanraden. Review: http://www.newsweekly.com.au/articles/2002oct19_b1.html.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Sep 2006 10:59    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Lusitania disaster

Over fourteen hundred persons lose their lives | World-wide condemnation | German crime received with horror by all neutrals

Monday May 10, 1915
Guardian Unlimited

The death roll in the Lusitania disaster is still not certainly known. About 750 persons were rescued, but of these some 50 have died since they were landed. Over 2,150 men, women and children were on the liner when she left New York, and since the living do not number more than 710, the dead cannot be fewer than 1,450.

What the American people think of the crime is plain. Their newspapers are violent in denunciation; the public, except for the German-Americans, who have celebrated the event as a great and typical victory for their native country, are enraged. How President Wilson regards the affair no one knows. A semi-official statement issued from the White House says he knows the nation expects him to act with deliberation as well as firmness.

It should be remembered that the United States have many and peculiar difficulties of their own, and that Dr. Wilson personally will go to almost any length before he consents to a breach with Germany. His fixed aim is to preserve the world's respect by abstaining from any course of action likely to awaken the hostility of either side in the war, and so to keep the United States free to undertake the part of peacemaker.

Throughout the world the news has been heard with horror. In Norway, Sweden, Holland, Spain and Italy, as well as in the territories of the Allied Powers, the newspapers express an unhesitating condemnation. Even journals who regard Germany as a friend have no excuse to offer. In several quarters the British Navy is sharply criticised. Why, it is asked, were not the submarines known to be off the Irish coast hunted down? Why was the liner not escorted into safety? These questions, which are to be found here and there in the neutral press, have been put also by many among the survivors. Possibly an official answer will be made in due course.

In Germany and Austria the people are undisguisedly delighted. They see in the sinking of the liner a fulfillment of all their boasts about the submarine blockade, which has hitherto signally failed to win any military or naval advantage. The newspapers seek to find an excuse in the Lusitania's armament. Their charge is false. Both the Admiralty and the Cunard company declare positively that the ship carried no guns. She had never done so, and the Government, although they had the right to employ her, had never called for her services. She was a genuine non-combatant merchant vessel.

Survivors tell the most terrible stories of their adventures. Some say the crew behaved bravely, others make no mention of such a thing, but all agree that few of the lifeboats were launched, that the ship went down quickly, and that hundreds were sucked under with her. Several survivors were drawn by the rush of water into the funnels, to be thrown to the surface a few moments later. Two torpedoes struck the liner, and she sank with half an hour of the first blow. Because of an injury to the engines it was not possible to stop the propellers at once, and the ship did not lose way until ten minutes had passed. During those precious ten minutes no boats could be launched from the moving vessel.
http://century.guardian.co.uk/1910-1919/Story/0,,99008,00.html
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TYPHOON



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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Jun 2007 22:19    Onderwerp: Lusitania 7 mei 1915 Reageer met quote

Is dit waar?

In mijn tijdschrift - De Postzegel - van mei 2006 staat een artikel over:
De werking van de post in De Panne vlak voor,tijdens en even na W.O.1.
Er staat ook over het hospitaal l'Ocean in.
Daarin staat te lezen dat de oprichter van dit hospitaal,dokter Depage,zijn vrouw de dood vond bij de torpedering van de Lusitania.
Zijn er nog Belgen die daarbij de dood vonden?

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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Jun 2007 22:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

TYPHOON,
Kijk hier maar eens.De ganse bemanning en passagiers zijn er vermeld.
Er is ook een link naar mevrouw Depage.Deze is wel in het Frans:
http://web.rmslusitania.info:81/pages/index.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Jun 2007 22:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Een overlevende was later niet zo "lucky".
Hij sneuvelde in de Ieperboog en is er ook begraven.
Wie het is ? Geduld ,tot de geplande gids uitkomt.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Jun 2007 22:50    Onderwerp: Lusitania 7 mei 1915 Reageer met quote

Dank je,Eric.

De site die je noemt geeft heel wat informatie,dank je wel.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Sep 2007 15:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Sinking The Lusitania

( Originally Published 1918 )

THE United States was brought face to face with the Great War and with what it meant in ruthless destruction of life when, on May 7, 1915, the crack Cunard Liner Lusitania, bound from New York to Liverpool, with 1,959 persons aboard, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off Old Head of Kinsale, Southwestern Ireland. Two torpedoes reached their mark. The total number of lives lost when the ship sunk was 1,198. Of these 755 were passengers and the remainder were members of the crew. Of the drowned passengers, 124 were Americans and 35 were infants.

"Remember the Lusitania!" later became a battle cry just as "Remember the Maine!" acted as a spur to Americans during the war with Spain. It was first used by the famous "Black Watch" and later American troops shouted it as they went into battle.

The sinking of the Lusitania, with its attend-ant destruction of life, sent a thrill of horror through the neutral peoples of the world. General opposition to the use of submarines in attacking peaceful shipping, especially passenger vessels, crystallized as the result of the tragedy, and a critical diplomatic controversy between the United States and Germany developed. The American Government signified its determination to break off friendly relations with the German Empire unless the ruthless practices of the submarine commanders were terminated. Germany temporarily agreed to discontinue these practices.
Among the victims of the Cunarder's destruction were some of the best known personages of the Western Hemisphere. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, multimillionaire; Charles Frohman, noted theatrical manager; Charles Klein, dramatist, who wrote "The Lion and the Mouse"; Justus Miles Forman, author, and Elbert Hubbard, known as Fra Elbertus, widely read iconoclastic writer, were drowned.

The ocean off the pleasant southern coast of Ireland was dotted with bodies for days after the sinking of the liner. The remains of many, of the victims, however, never were recovered.

When the Lusitania prepared to sail from New York on her last trip, fifty anonymous telegrams addressed to prominent persons aboard the vessel warned the recipients not to sail with the liner. In addition to these warnings was an advertisement inserted in the leading metropolitan newspapers by the German embassy, advising neutral persons that British steamships were in danger of destruction in the war zone about the British Isles. This notice appeared the day the Lusitania sailed, May 1st, and was placed next the advertisement of the Cunard Line :

NOTICE !

Travelers 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 of any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers 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.
Little or no attention was paid to the warnings, only the usual number of persons canceling their reservations. The general agent of the Cunard Line at New York assured the passengers that the Lusitania's voyage would be attended by no risk whatever, referring to the liner's speed and water-tight compartments.

As the great Cunarder drew near the scene of her disaster, traveling at moderate speed along her accustomed route, there was news of freight steamers falling victims to Germany's undersea campaign. It was not definitely established, however, whether the liner was warned of danger.

At two o'clock on the fine afternoon of May 7th, some ten miles off the Old Head of Kin-sale, the Lusitania was sighted by a submarine 1,000 yards away. A second later the track of a torpedo, soon followed by another, was seen and each missile crashed into the Lusitania's hull with rending detonations.

Many were killed or injured immediately by the explosions. Before the liner's headway was lost, some boats were lowered, and cap-sized as a result. The immediate listing of the steamship added to the difficulties of rescue and increased the tragical toll of dead.

Much heroism and calmness were displayed by many in the few minutes the liner remained afloat. The bearing of Frohman, Vanderbilt, Hubbard and other Americans was declared to have been particularly inspiring.

Rescue ships and naval vessels rushed to the aid of the survivors from all nearby ports of Ireland.
It has been said that the sinking of the Lusitania was carefully planned by the chiefs of the German admiralty. They expected, it was believed, to demoralize British shipping and strike terror into the minds of the British people by showing that the largest and swiftest of liners could easily be destroyed by submarines.

According to the Paris paper, La Guerre Sociale, published by Gustave Hervé, the sub-marine responsible was the U-21, commanded by Lieutenant Hersing. Hersing was said to have been decorated for his deed. The U-21 afterwards was destroyed and the story of its participation in the sinking of the great Cunarder never was confirmed.

Immediately upon the news of the Lusitania disaster, President Wilson took steps to hold Germany to that "strict accountability" of which he had notified Berlin when the war-zone operations were begun earlier in the year. His first communication, protesting against the sinking of the liner in the name of humanity and demanding disavowal, indemnity and assurance that the crime would not be repeated, was despatched on May 13th. On May 30th the German reply argued that the liner carried munitions of war and probably was armed.

The following official German version of the incident by the German Admiralty Staff over the signature of Admiral Behncke was given:

"The submarine sighted the steamer, which showed no flag, May 7th, at 2.20 o'clock, Central European time, afternoon, on the south-east coast of Ireland, in fine, clear weather.

"At 3.10 o'clock one torpedo was fired at the Lusitania, which hit her starboard side be-low the captain's bridge. The detonation of the torpedo was followed immediately by a further explosion of extremely strong effect. The ship quickly listed to starboard and began to sink.

"The second explosion must be traced back to the ignition of quantities of ammunition in-side the ship."

These extenuations were all rejected by the United States, and the next note prepared by President Wilson was of such character that Secretary of State Bryan resigned. This second communication was sent on June 11th, and on June 22d another was cabled. September 1st Germany accepted the contentions of the United States in regard to submarine warfare upon peaceful shipping. There were continued negotiations concerning the specific settlement to be made in the case of the Lusitania.
On February 4th, 1916, arrived a German proposition which, coupled with personal parleys carried on between German Ambassador von Bernstorff and United States Secretary of State Lansing, seemed in a fair way to conclude the whole controversy. It was announced on February 8th that the two nations were in substantial accord and Germany was declared to have admitted the sinking of the liner was wrong and unjustified and promised that reparation would be made.

However, a week later, when Germany took advantage of tentative American proposals concerning the disarming of merchant ships, by announcing that all armed hostile merchant-men would be treated as warships and attacked without warning, the almost completed agreement was overthrown. The renewed negotiations were continuing when the torpedoing of the cross-channel passenger ship Sussex, with-out warning, on March 24th, impelled the United States to issue a virtual ultimatum, demanding that the Germans immediately cease their present methods of naval warfare on pain of the rupture of diplomatic relations with the most powerful existing neutral nation.

The Lusitania, previous to her sinking, had figured in the war news, first at the conflict, when it was feared she had been captured by a German cruiser while she was dashing across the Atlantic toward Liverpool, and again in February of 1915, when she flew the American flag as a ruse to deceive submarines while crossing the Irish Sea. This latter incident called forth a protest from the United States.

On her fatal trip the cargo of the Lusitania was worth $735,000.

As a great transatlantic liner, the Lusitania was a product of the race for speed, which was carried on for years among larger steamship companies, particularly of England and Germany. When the Lusitania was launched, it was the wonder of the maritime world. Its mastery of the sea, from the standpoint of speed, was undisputed.

Progress of the Lusitania on its first voyage to New York, September 7, 1907, was watched by the world. The vessel made the voyage in five days and fifty-four minutes, at that time a record. Its fastest trip, made on the western voyage, was four days eleven hours forty-two minutes. This record, however, was wrested from it subsequently by the Mauretania, a sister ship, which set the mark of four days ten hours forty-one minutes, that still stands.

Although the Lusitania was surpassed in size by several other liners built subsequently, it never lost the reputation acquired at the outset of its career. Its speed and luxurious accommodations made it a favorite, and its passenger lists bore the names of many of the most prominent Atlantic wayfarers. The vessel was pronounced by its builders to be as nearly unsinkable as any ship could be.

Everything about the Lusitania was of colossal dimensions. Her rudder weighed sixty-five tons. She carried three anchors of ten tons each. The main frames and beams, placed end to end, would extend thirty miles. The Lusitania was 785 feet long, 88 feet beam, and 60 feet deep. Her gross tonnage was 32,500 and her net tonnage, 9,145.

Charges were made that one or more guardian submarines deliberately drove off ships nearby which might have saved hundreds of lives lost when the Lusitania went down. Captain W. F. Wood, of the Leyland Line Steamer Etonian, said his ship was prevented from going to the rescue of the passengers of the sinking Lusitania by a warning that an at-tack might be made upon his own vessel.

The Etonian left Liverpool, May 6th. When Captain Wood was forty-two miles from Kinsale he received a wireless call from the Lusitania for immediate assistance.

The call was also picked up by the steamers City of Exeter and Narragansett. The Narragansett, Captain Wood said, was made a target for submarine attack, a torpedo missing her by a few feet, and her commander then warned Captain Wood not to attempt to reach the Lusitania.

"It was two o'clock in the afternoon, May 7th, that we received the wireless S O S," said Captain Wood. "I was then forty-two miles distant from the position he gave me. The Narragansett and the City of Exeter were nearer the Lusitania and she answered the SOS.

"At five o'clock I observed the City of Exeter cross our bows and she signaled, `Have you heard anything of the disaster?'

"At that moment I saw a periscope of a sub-marine between the Tonina and the City of Exeter, about a quarter of a mile directly ahead of us. She dived as soon as she saw us.

"I signaled to the engine room for every available inch of speed. Then we saw the sub-marine come up astern of us. i now ordered full speed ahead and we left the submarine be-hind. The periscope remained in sight about twenty minutes.

"No sooner had we lost sight of the submarine astern, than another appeared on the star-board bow. This one was directly ahead and on the surface, not submerged.

"I starboarded hard away from him, he swinging as we did. About eight minutes later he submerged. I continued at top speed for four hours and saw no more of the submarines. It was the ship's speed that saved her, that's all.
" The Narragansett, as soon as she heard the S O S call, went to the assistance of the Lusitania. One of the submarines discharged a torpedo at her and missed her by not more than eight feet. The Narragansett then warned us not to attempt to go to the rescue, and I got her wireless call while I was dodging the two submarines. You can see that three ships would have gone to the assistance of the Lusitania had they not been attacked by the two submarines."

The German Government defended the brutal destruction of non-combatants by the false assertions that the Lusitania was an armed vessel and that it was carrying a great store of munitions. Both of these accusations were proved to be mere fabrications. The Lusitania was absolutely unarmed and the nearest approach to munitions was a consignment of 1,250 empty shell cases and 4,200 cases of cartridges for small arms.

Intense indignation swept over the neutral world, the tide rising highest in America. It well may be said that the destruction of the Lusitania was one of the greatest factors in driving the United States into the war against Germany.

Concerning the charge that the Lusitania, carried munitions, Dudley Field Malone, Col-lector of the Port of New York, testified that he made personal and close inspection of the ship's cargo and saw that it carried no guns and that no munitions were included in its cargo.

His statement follows:

"This report is not correct. The Lusitania was inspected before sailing, as is customary. No guns were found, mounted or unmounted, and the vessel sailed without any armament. No merchant ship would be allowed to arm in this port and leave the harbor."

Captain W. T. Turner, of the Lusitania, testifying before the coroner's inquest at Kin-sale, Ireland, was interrogated as follows:

"You were aware threats had been made that the ship would be torpedoed?"

"We were," the Captain replied.

"Was she armed?"
"No, sir."

"What precautions did you take?"

"We had all the boats swung when we came within the danger zone, between the passing of Fastnet and the time of the accident."

The coroner asked him whether he had received a message concerning the sinking of a ship off Kinsale by a submarine. Captain Turner replied that he had not received any, such message.

"Did you receive any special instructions as to the voyage?"

"Yes, sir."

"Are you at liberty to tell us what they, were?"

"No, sir."

"Did you carry them out?"

"Yes, to the best of my ability."

"Tell us in your own words what happened after passing Fastnet."

"The weather was clear," Captain Turner answered. "We were going at a speed of eighteen knots. I was on the port side and heard Second Officer Hefford call out:

" `Here's a torpedo!'

"I ran to the other side and saw clearly the wake of a torpedo. Smoke and steam came up between the last two funnels. There was a slight shock. Immediately after the first ex-plosion there was another report, but that may possibly have been internal.

"I at once gave the order to lower the boats down to the rails, and I directed that women and children should get into them. I also had all the bulkheads closed.

"Between the time of passing Fastnet, about 11 o'clock, and of the torpedoing I saw no sign whatever of any submarines. There was some haze along the Irish coast, and when we were near Fastnet I slowed down to fifteen knots. I was in wireless communication with shore all the way across."

Captain Turner was asked whether he had received any message in regard to the presence of submarines off the Irish coast. He replied in the affirmative. Questioned regarding the nature of the message, he replied :

"I respectfully refer you to the Admiralty for an answer."

"I also gave orders to stop the ship," Captain Turner continued, "but we could not stop. We found that the engines were out of commission. It was not safe to lower boats until the speed was off the vessel. As a matter of fact, there was a perceptible headway on her up to the time she went down.

"When she was struck she listed to star-board. I stood on the bridge when she sank, and the Lusitania went down under me. She floated about eighteen minutes after the torpedo struck her. My watch stopped at 2.36. I was picked up from among the wreckage and afterward was brought aboard a trawler.

"No warship was convoying us. I saw no warship, and none was reported to me as having been seen. At the time I was picked up I noticed bodies floating on the surface, but saw no living persons."

"Eighteen knots was not the normal speed of the Lusitania, was it?"

"At ordinary times," answered Captain Turner, "she could make twenty-five knots, but in war times her speed was reduced to twenty-one knots. My reason for going eighteen knots was that I wanted to arrive at Liver-pool bar without stopping, and within two or three hours of high water."

"Was there a lookout kept for submarines, having regard to previous warnings?"

"Yes, we had double lookouts."

"Were you going a zigzag course at the moment the torpedoing took place?"

"No. It was bright weather, and land was clearly visible."

"Was it possible for a submarine to approach without being seen?"

"Oh, yes; quite possible."

"Something has been said regarding the impossibility of launching the boats on the port side?"

"Yes," said Captain Turner, "owing to the listing of the ship."

"How many boats were launched safely?" "I cannot say."

"Were any launched safely?"

"Yes, and one or two on the port side." "Were your orders promptly carried out?" "Yes."

"Was there any panic on board?"

"No, there was no panic at all. It was a most calm."

"How many persons were on board?" "There were 1,500 passengers and about 600 crew."

By the foreman of the jury—"In the face of the warnings at New York that the Lusitania would be torpedoed, did you make any application to the Admiralty asking for an escort?"

"No, I left that to them. It is their business, not mine. I simply had to carry out my orders to go, and I would do it again." Captain Turner uttered the last words of this reply with great emphasis.

By the coroner—"I am glad to hear you say so, Captain."

By the juryman—"Did you get a wireless to steer your vessel in a northern direction?"

"No," replied Captain Turner.

"Was the course of the vessel altered after the torpedoes struck her?"

"I headed straight for land, but it was useless. Previous to this the watertight bulk-heads were closed. I suppose the explosion forced them open. I don't know the exact extent to which the Lusitania was damaged."

"There must have been serious damage done to the watertight bulkheads?"

"There certainly was, without doubt." "Were the passengers supplied with life-belts?"

"Yes."

"Were any special orders given that morning that lifebelts be put on?"

"No."

"Was any warning given before you were torpedoed?"

"None whatever. It was suddenly done and finished."

"If there had been a patrol boat about, might it have been of assistance?"

"It might, but it is one of those things one never knows."

With regard to the threats against his ship, Captain Turner said he saw nothing except what appeared in the New York papers the day before the Lusitania sailed. He had never heard the passengers talking about the threats, he said.

"Was a warning given to the lower decks after the ship had been struck?" Captain Turner was asked.

"All the passengers must have heard the explosion," Captain Turner replied.

Captain Turner, in answer to another question, said he received no report from the look-out before the torpedo struck the Lusitania.

Ship's Bugler Livermore testified that the watertight compartments were closed, but that the explosion and the force of the water must have burst them open. He said that all the officers were at their posts and that earlier arrivals of the rescue craft would not have saved the situation.

After physicians had testified that the victims had met death through prolonged immersion and exhaustion the coroner summed up the case.

He said that the first torpedo fired by the German submarine did serious damage to the Lusitania, but that, not satisfied with this, the Germans had discharged another torpedo. The second torpedo, he said, must have been more deadly, because it went right through the ship, hastening the work of destruction.

The characteristic courage of the Irish and British people was manifested at the time of this terrible disaster, the coroner continued, and there was no panic. Ile charged that the responsibility "lay on the German Government and the whole people of Germany, who collaborated in the terrible crime."

"I propose to ask the jury," he continued, "to return the only verdict possible for a self-respecting jury, that the men in charge of the German submarine were guilty of wilful murder."

The jury then retired and after due deliberation prepared this verdict :

We find that the deceased met death from prolonged immersion and exhaustion in the sea eight miles south-southeast of Old Head of Kinsale, Friday, May 7, 1915, owing to the sinking of the Lusitania by torpedoes fired by a German submarine.

We find that the appalling crime was committed contrary to international law and the conventions of all civilized nations.

We also charge the officers of said submarine and the Emperor and the Government of Germany, under whose orders they acted, wth the crime of wholesale murder before the tribunal of the civilized world.

We desire to express sincere condolences and sympathy with the relatives of the deceased, the Cunard Company, and the United States, many of whose citizens perished in this murderous attack on an unarmed liner.

President Wilson's note to Germany, writ-ten consequent on the torpedoing of the Lusitania, was dated six days later, showing that time for careful deliberation was duly taken. The President's Secretary, Joseph P. Tumulty, on May 8th made this statement.

Of course the President feels the distress and the gravity of the situation to the utmost, and is considering very earnestly but very calmly, the right course of action to pursue. He knows that the people of the country wish and expect him to act with deliberation as well as with firmness.

Although signed by Mr. Bryan, as Secretary of State, the note was written by the President in shorthand—a favorite method of Mr. Wilson in making memoranda—and transcribed by him on his own typewriter. The document was presented to the members of the President's Cabinet, a draft of it was sent to Counselor Lansing of the State Department, and after a few minor changes, it was transmitted by cable to Ambassador Gerard.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON, MAY 18, 1915.

The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador at Berlin:

Please call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and after reading to him this communication leave with him a copy.

In view of the recent acts of the German authorities in violation of American rights on the high seas, which culminated in the torpedoing and sinking of the British steamship Lusitania on May 7, 1915, by which over 100 American citizens lost their lives, it is clearly wise and desirable that the Government of the United States and the Imperial German Government should come to a clear and full understanding as to the grave situation which has resulted.

The sinking of the British passenger steamer Falaba by a German submarine on March 28th, through which Leon C. Thrasher, an American citizen, was drowned; the attack on April 28th, on the American vessel Cushing by a German aeroplane; the torpedoing on May 1st of the American vessel Gulflight by a German submarine, as a result of which two or more American citizens met their death; and, finally, the torpedoing and sinking of the steamship Lusitania, constitute a series of events which the Government of the United States has observed with growing concern, distress, and amazement.

Recalling the humane and enlightened attitude hitherto assumed by the Imperial German Government in matters of international right, and particularly with regard to the freedom of the seas; having learned to recognize the German views and the German influence in the field of international obligation as always engaged upon the side of justice and humanity; and having under-stood the instructions of the Imperial German Government to its naval commanders to be upon the same plane of human action prescribed by the naval codes of the other nations, the Government of the United States was loath to believe—it cannot now bring itself to believe—that these acts, so absolutely contrary to the rules, the practices, and the spirit of modern warfare, could have the countenance, or sanction of that great government. It feels it to be its duty, therefore, to address the lmperial German Government concerning them with the utmost frankness and in the earnest hope that it is not mistaken in expecting action on the part of the Imperial German Government, which will correct the unfortunate impressions which have been created, and vindicate once more the position of that government with regard to the sacred freedom of the seas.

The Government of the United States has been apprised that the Imperial German Government considered themselves to be obliged by the extraordinary circumstances of the present war and the measure adopted by their adversaries in seeking to cut Germany off from all commerce, to adopt methods of retaliation which go much beyond the ordinary methods of warfare at sea, in the proclamation of a war zone from which they have warned neutral ships to keep away. This government has already taken occasion to inform the Imperial German Government that it cannot admit the adoption of such measures or such a warning of danger to operate as in any degree an abbreviation of the rights of American shipmasters or of American citizens bound on lawful errands as passengers on merchant ships of belligerent nationality, and that it must hold the Imperial German Government to a strict accountability for any infringement of those rights, intentional or incidental. It does not understand the Imperial German Government to question these rights. It assumes, on the contrary, that the Imperial Government accept, as of course, the rule that the lives of noncombatants, whether they be of neutral citizenship or citizens of one of the nations at war, cannot lawfully or rightfully be put in jeopardy by the capture or destruction of an unarmed merchantman, and recognize also, as all other nations do, the obligation to take the usual precaution of visit and search to ascertain whether a suspected merchant-man is in fact of belligerent nationality or is in fact carrying contraband of war under a neutral flag.

The Government of the United States, therefore, de-sires to call the attention of the Imperial German Government with the utmost earnestness to the fact that the objection to their present method of attack against the trade of their enemies lies in the practical impossibility of employing submarines in the destruction of commerce without disregarding those rules of fairness, reason, justice, and humanity which all modern opinion regards as imperative, It is practically impossible for the officers of a submarine to visit a merchantman at sea and examine her papers and cargo. It is practically impossible for them to make a prize of her; and, if they cannot put a prize crew on board of her, they cannot sink her without leaving her crew and all on board of her to the mercy of the sea in her small boats. These facts, it is understood, the Imperial German Government frankly admit. We are informed that in the in-stances of which we have spoken time enough for even that poor measure of safety was not given, and in at least two of the cases cited not so much as a warning was received. Manifestly, submarines cannot be used against merchantmen, as the last few weeks have shown, without an inevitable violation of many sacred principles of justice and humanity.

American citizens act within their indisputable rights in taking their ships and in traveling wherever their legitimate business calls them upon the high seas, and exercise those rights in what should be the well-justified confidence that their lives will not be endangered by acts done in clear violation of universally acknowledged international obligations, and certainly in the confidence that their own government will sustain them in the exercise of their rights.

There was recently published in the newspapers of the United States, I regret to inform the Imperial German Government, a formal warning, purporting to come from the Imperial German Embassy at Washington, addressed to the people of the United States, and stating, in effect, that any citizen of the United States who exercised his right of free travel upon the seas would do so at his peril if his journey should take him within the zone of waters within which the Imperial German Navy was using submarines against the commerce of Great Britain and France, notwithstanding the respectful but very earnest protest of the Government of the United States. I do not refer to this for the purpose of calling the attention of the Imperial German Government at this time to the surprising irregularity of a communication from the Imperial German Embassy at Washington addressed to the people of the United States through the newspapers, but only for the purpose of pointing out that no warning that an unlawful and inhumane act will be committed can possibly be accepted as an excuse or palliation for that act or as an abatement of the responsibility for its commission.

Long acquainted as this government has been with the character of the Imperial Government, and with the high principles of equity by which they have in the past been actuated and guided, the Government of the United States cannot believe that the commanders of the vessels which committed these acts of lawlessness did so except under a misapprehension of the orders issued by the Imperial German naval authorities. It takes for granted that, at least within the practical possibilities of every such case, the commanders even of submarines were expected to do nothing that would involve the lives of noncombatants or the safety of neutral ships, even at the cost of failing of their object of capture or destruction.

It confidently expects, therefore, that the Imperial German Government will disavow the acts of which the Government of the United States complains; that they will make reparation so far as reparation is possible for injuries which are without measure, and that they will take immediate steps to prevent the recurrence of any-thing so obviously subversive of the principles of war-fare for which the Imperial German Government have in the past so wisely and so firmly contended.

The government and people of the United States look to the Imperial German Government for just, prompt, and enlightened action in this vital matter with the greater confidence, because the United States and Germany are bound together not only by ties of friendship, but also by the explicit stipulations of the Treaty of 1828, between the United States and the Kingdom of Prussia.

Expressions of regret and offers of reparation in case of the destruction of neutral ships sunk by mistake, while they may satisfy international obligations, if no loss of life results, cannot justify or excuse a practice the natural and necessary effect of which is to subject neutral nations and neutral persons to new and immeasurable risks.

The Imperial German Government will not expect the Government of the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment.

BRYAN

Ex-President Roosevelt, after learning details of the sinking of the Lusitania, made these statements :

"This represents not merely piracy, but piracy on a vaster scale of murder than old-time pirate ever practiced. This is the warfare which destroyed Louvain and Dinant and hundreds of men, women, and children in Belgium. It is a warfare against innocent men, women, and children traveling on the ocean, and our own fellow countrymen and country-women, who were among the sufferers.

"It seems inconceivable that we can refrain from taking action in this matter, for we owe it not only to humanity, but to our own national self-respect."

Former President Taft made this statement:

"I do not wish to embarrass the President of the Administration by a discussion of the subject at this stage of the information, except to express confidence that the President will follow a wise and patriotic course. We must bear in mind that if we have a war it is the people, the men and women, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who must pay with lives and money the cost of it, and therefore they should not be hurried into the sacrifices until it is made clear that they wish it and know what they are doing when they wish it.

"I agree that the inhumanity of the circumstances in the case now presses us on, but in the heat of even just indignation is this the best time to act, when action involves such momentous consequences and means untold loss of life and treasure? There are things worse than war, but delay, due to calm deliberation, cannot change the situation or minimize the effect of what we finally conclude to do.

"With the present condition of the war in Europe, our action, if it is to be extreme, will not lose efficiency by giving time to the people, whose war it will be, to know what they are facing.

"A demand for war that cannot survive the passion of the first days of public indignation and will not endure the test of delay and deliberation by all the people is not one that should be yielded to."

President Wilson was criticized later by many persons for not insisting upon a declaration of war immediately after the sinking of the Lusitania. Undoubtedly the advice of former President Taft and of others high in statesmanship, prevailed with the President. This in substance was that America should prepare resolutely and thoroughly, giving Germany in the meantime no excuse for charges that America's entrance into the conflict was for aggression or for selfish purposes.

It was seen even as early as the sinking of the Lusitania that Germany's only hope for final success Iay in the submarine. It was reasoned that unrestricted submarine warfare against the shipping of the world, so far as tended toward the provisioning and munitioning of the Allies, would be the inevitable out-come. It was further seen that when that declaration would be made by Germany, America's decision for war must be made. The President and his Cabinet thereupon made all their plans looking toward that eventuality.

The resignation of Mr. Bryan from the Cabinet was followed by the appointment of Robert Lansing as Secretary of State. It was recognized on both sides of the Atlantic that President Wilson in all essential matters affecting the war was active in the preparation of all state papers and in the direction of that department. Another Cabinet vacancy was created when Lindley M. Garrison, of New Jersey, resigned the portfolio of Secretary of War because of a clash upon his militant views for preparedness. Newton D. Baker, of Cleveland, Ohio, a close friend and supporter of President Wilson, was appointed in his stead.

http://www.oldandsold.com/articles26/world-war-one-16.shtml
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Sep 2007 15:58    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



De Lusitania,bij het begin van haar fatale reis.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Jul 2008 22:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Nog wat "Lucy"-linkjes: een mooie uitgebreide, met name over de vele tegenstrijdigheden en raadsels die de ondergang van de Lusitania omringen, zeer de moeite van het lezen waard!: http://www.gwpda.org/naval/lusika00.htm, een algemene, wel zeer informatieve site met het laatste nieuws: http://www.lusitania.net/, en nog eentje: http://www.lostliners.com/Liners/Cunard/Lusitania/index.html, leuk om eens een tijdje in te verdwalen als je er zin in hebt. Smile

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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Jul 2008 14:08    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

On May 7, 1915, the German submarine (U-boat) U-20 torpedoed and sank the Lusitania, a swift-moving British cruise liner traveling from New York to Liverpool, England. Of the 1,959 men, women, and children on board, 1,195 perished, including 123 Americans. A headline in the New York Times the following day—"Divergent Views of the Sinking of The Lusitania"—sums up the initial public response to the disaster. Some saw it as a blatant act of evil and transgression against the conventions of war. Others understood that Germany previously had unambiguously alerted all neutral passengers of Atlantic vessels to the potential for submarine attacks on British ships and that Germany considered the Lusitania a British, and therefore an "enemy ship."

The sinking of the Lusitania was not the single largest factor contributing to the entrance of the United States into the war two years later, but it certainly solidified the public's opinions towards Germany. President Woodrow Wilson, who guided the U.S. through its isolationist foreign policy, held his position of neutrality for almost two more years. Many, though, consider the sinking a turning point—technologically, ideologically, and strategically—in the history of modern warfare, signaling the end of the "gentlemanly" war practices of the nineteenth century and the beginning of a more ominous and vicious era of total warfare.

Throughout the war, the first few pages of the Sunday New York Times rotogravure section were filled with photographs from the battlefront, training camps, and war effort at home. In the weeks following May 7, many photos of victims of the disaster were run, including a two-page spread in the May 16 edition entitled: "Prominent Americans Who Lost Their Lives on the S. S. Lusitania." Another two-page spread in the May 30 edition carried the banner: "Burying The Lusitania's Dead—And Succoring Her Survivors." The images on these spreads reflect a panorama of responses to the disaster—sorrow, heroism, ambivalence, consolation, and anger.

Remarkably, this event dominated the headlines for only about a week before being overtaken by a newer story. Functioning more as a "week in review" section than as a "breaking news" outlet, the rotogravure section illustrates a snapshot of world events—the sinking of the Lusitania shared page space with photographs of soldiers fighting along the Russian frontier, breadlines forming in Berlin, and various European leaders.

foto's en © http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/rotogravures/rotolusit.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Aug 2008 18:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lusitania” mysteries – is Bemis in search of treasure trove ?

The amazing Mr. F. Greg Bemis Jnr. is back in Kinsale. Once more he’s exploring the wreck of the Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915, an event America later used to justify its entry into the First World War. It was fishermen from Kinsale, Cobh and Courtmacsherry who rescued survivors and carried out the grisly task of fishing the dead from the sea.

But, although the sinking is now a curious footnote of history, battles concerning the vessel continue to rage in the Irish courts, the government and among interested parties in the three towns who believe Bemis, a one-time US Republican politician, should leave the wreck alone because it is a war grave. It is the resting place for many of the 1,200 people who perished.

F. Greg Bemis Jnr., on the other hand, argues that an investigation of the vessel will prove his theory that the liner was secretly carrying ammunition to Britain which, on exploding, caused the destruction of the liner. He says the expedition is costing him §3 million and he’s brought a high-tech Florida team to make a detailed study of the wreck site.

He hopes to recoup some of his money by means of a television documentary on the expedition. It’s not his first attempt to exploit the famous sinking. In 1982 he hauled up the ship’s bow, three brass propellers and two bow anchors, as well as thousands of other items such as clocks, spoons (8,000 with the head of General Kitchener), and a complete dinner service bearing the Cunard name.

The artifacts were landed in Wales and Scotland, not in Kinsale or any Irish port, and were promptly seized by the British Receiver of Wrecks. It was the British Government and not the Irish one that challenged his claim to the objects. An Admiralty Court in London later ruled in his favour.

Cobh Heritage Centre would have liked to possess one of the propellers but was unable to raise the money and it was bought by Merseyside Maritime Museum. Another propeller was purchased by a Saudi businessman and, grotesquely, the third was melted down to make a personalised set of golf clubs for a wealthy Yank.

Sotheby’s auctioned the ship’s bell and the ship’s whistle. Not one artefact, absolutely nothing, was handed over to the Irish authorities, nor to any Irish museum.

The ransacking of the liner angered many people, who complained that objects of historical value should have remained in this country and not sold abroad. The Irish government belatedly agreed and brought in the Underwater Heritage Order to protect the Lusitania site. It is significant that on this occasion a team from the Department of the Environment is accompanying Bemis to ensure that whatever he’s up to will be carried out in a non-invasive manner.

TREASURE TROVE

Adding spice to the Lusitania controversy is the assertion made some years ago by American and British divers (acting independently of Bemis) that among the ship’s debris are lead containers that hold a number of masterpieces from the famous Lane collection. Sir Hugh Lane, an Irish patron of the arts, was a victim of the sinking, and according to Miss Polly Tapson, the dive leader at the time, the paintings by Monet and Rubens are still recoverable.

The idea is not as fanciful as it seems. Because of the war conditions in 1915 the insurers, Lloyds, would have insisted on special waterproof lead tubes and, it is claimed, these would have preserved the paintings even after such a long passage of time.

Bemis, however, says that his only motivation is the search for truth about the torpedoing and promises that any durable objects salvaged will be donated to museums – which on past evidence has been taken with the proverbial pinch of sea-salt.

LEGAL WRECKS

Bemis’ claim to the Lusitania goes back to 1969 when he, a Mr. Macomber of Boston and a Mr. John Light formed the Kinvara Shipping Company and bought the wreck for £1,000 from the Liverpool and War Risks Company. Of the 30 shares held by the three men, Bemis and Macomber had thirteen and a half, while Light held three.

The plan then was to recover non-ferrous metals from the vessel, but the venture failed and eventually the company was declared insolvent. John Light, who remained for some time in Kinsale, believed the salvage rights belonged to him and subsequently his share of the company was transferred to his wife Muriel Acton of Kinsale.

She challenged Bemis in a Virginian court on his right to the wreck, observed by a number of interested Kinsale creditors who provided services during the early salvaging. Also involved was a group of American weekend divers, called 50 Fathom Venturers, who also contested Bemis’ claim of ownership. He, in turn, threatened the diving club with a quarter-of-a-million-dollar piracy suit.

A key plank of Bemis’ legal argument was that an American court should have jurisdiction over the wreck because the Irish authorities were unable to patrol their own territorial waters.

Also affecting matters was the government decision in the late 1980s to extend our territorial waters from three nautical miles to twelve – which brought the Lusitania into Irish jurisdiction.

Bemis won in America and was established as the ship’s legal owner but after the imposition of the Underwater Heritage Order in 1995 the site was made off limits to all divers, including Bemis. The State continued to refuse him a licence to dive, arguing that it had a right to all personal effects and cargo – which Bemis disputed. The former American ambassador, Jean Kennedy Smith, senior US Embassy diplomats and members of the American Congress all lobbied on his behalf.

So it was back to the courts for the millionaire – this time the High Court in Dublin. Finally in 2005 he was successful and he got his licence. What’s more, Mr. Justice Daniel Herbert ruled that the State had misinterpreted the current legislation and that it had acted in an “irrational and unreasonable manner”. He said the State had the right to acquire remains from the vessel for research or public education – but only by purchase from or voluntary donation from Mr. Bemis.

Hence the recent expedition and for the 80-year-old Bemis the possibility that he can solve the mystery as to why the Lusitania sank so fast and what was the cause of the second explosion.

BANDON SOLUTION

Ironically, the answer to that conundrum may well be nearer home – that is if he bothers to read Patrick O’Sullivan’s definitive book on the atrocity, The Lusitania: Unravelling the Mysteries. The maritime historian from Bandon gives a compelling scientific explanation for the second explosion and evidence that the vessel was indeed carrying munitions for the British war effort.

The historian concludes his book with the following poignant lines: “If the Lusitania’s cargo had not included a highly explosive 46 ton shipment of aluminium fine powder, the second explosion would not have occurred, and the liner might well have made it to port in a crippled condition. Loss of life would have been minimal, and the incident would have been recorded as a minor event in the annals of war.”

That was not to be and the controversies, of one sort or another, continue to this day.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Nov 2008 17:54    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Shortly after noon on a drizzly spring day in 1915, the Cunard liner Lusitania backed slowly away from Pier 54 on New York’s Lower West Side. It was Lusitania’s 202nd Atlantic crossing, and as usual the luxury liner’s sailing attracted a crowd, for the 32,500-ton vessel was one of the fastest and most glamorous ships afloat. In the words of the London Times, she was ‘a veritable greyhound of the seas.’

Passengers, not yet settled in their accommodations, marveled at the ship’s size and splendor. With a length of 745 feet, she was one of the largest man-made objects in the world. First-class passengers could eat in a two-story Edwardian-style dining salon that featured a plasterwork dome arching some thirty feet above the floor. Those who traveled first class also occupied regal suites, consisting of twin bedrooms with a parlor, bathroom, and private dining area, for which they paid four thousand dollars one way. Second-class accommodations on Lusitania compared favorably with first-class staterooms on many other ships.

People strolling through nearby Battery Park watched as three tugs worked to point the liner’s prow downriver toward the Narrows and the great ocean beyond. While well-wishers on the pier waved handkerchiefs and straw hats, ribbons of smoke began to stream from three of the liner’s four tall funnels. Seagulls hovered astern as the liner slowly began to pick up speed.

The early years of the twentieth century belonged to the great ocean liners, and Lusitania was one of the elite. A Scotsman who was present at her launching in 1907 recalled his awe at the sight:

Was it the size of her, that great cliff of upperworks?… Was it her majesty, the manifest fitness of her to rule the waves? I think what brought the lump to the boy’s throat was just her beauty, by which I mean her fitness in every way; for this was a vessel at once large and gracious, elegant and manifestly efficient. That men could fashion such a thing by their hands out of metal and wood was a happy realization.

In 1908, on one of her first Atlantic crossings, Lusitania broke the existing transatlantic speed record, making the run from Liverpool to New York in four and one-half days, traveling at slightly more than twenty-five knots. Like her sister ship, Mauritania, she could generate sixty-eight thousand horsepower in her twenty-five boilers. Lusitania was also versatile, for the government subsidy that helped pay for her construction required her to have features that would facilitate her conversion to an armed cruiser if necessary. The liner’s engine rooms were under the waterline, and she incorporated deck supports sufficient to permit the installation of six-inch guns.

It was May 1, 1915, and Lusitania, with 1,257 passengers and a crew of 702, was beginning a slightly nervous crossing. War was raging in Europe, and although no major passenger liner had ever been sunk by a submarine, some passengers were uneasy. The German embassy had inserted advertisements in a number of American newspapers warning of dangers in the waters around the British Isles.

Because this warning appeared only on the day of sailing, not all of those who boarded Lusitania saw it. Yet for travelers with an apprehensive turn of mind, there were alternatives to the Cunarder. The American Line’s New York, with space available, sailed the same day as Lusitania, but she required eight days to cross the Atlantic as opposed to Lusitania’s six.

Despite the warning posted by the German embassy, Lusitania’s captain was not nervous. When Captain William Turner was asked about the U-boat threat he reportedly laughed, remarking that ‘by the look of the pier and the passenger list,’ the Germans had not scared away many people.

By the spring of 1915 the land war in Europe had settled into a bloody stalemate, but one in which the Central Powers held the advantage. A decisive German victory at Tannenberg had all but taken czarist Russia out of the war. The initial German thrust for Paris had been repulsed, but even as Lusitania sailed, the British were being mauled in the month-long Second Battle of Ypres.

The war at sea, however, was a different matter. The Royal Navy’s numerical superiority made it perilous for the German fleet to venture out of port and enabled the Allies to move troops and materiel by sea. Most important of all, Allied control of the sea had cut the Central Powers off from overseas supplies of food and raw materials. When the increased range of shore-based guns prevented the British from maintaining a traditional offshore blockade of German ports, the Royal Navy mounted a long-range blockade instead. British cruisers patrolled choke points well away from German ports, halting all vessels suspected of carrying supplies to Germany and enlarging the traditional definition of contraband to include even raw materials and food.

Not all contraband was headed for Germany. Lusitania carried some forty-two hundred cases of Remington rifle cartridges destined for the Western Front. Her cargo also included fuses and 1,250 cases of empty shrapnel shells. Although the Germans had no knowledge of this cargo, it is clear that British authorities were prepared to compromise Lusitania’s nonbelligerent status as a passenger liner for a small amount of war materiel.

The growing effectiveness of the Allied blockade had forced Germany to take drastic measures. Germany’s most promising offensive weapon at sea was the submarine, but international law of the time prohibited its most effective employment. If a submarine encountered a vessel that might belong to an enemy or might be carrying contraband, the U-boat had to surface, warn her intended victim, and ‘remove crew, ship papers, and, if possible, the cargo’ before destroying her prey.

In response to Britain’s unilateral redefinition of a naval blockade, Germany issued a proclamation of its own, declaring the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland to be a war zone. From February 18, 1915, on, Berlin had declared, enemy merchant vessels found within the zone would be subject to destruction without warning.

The day before Lusitania sailed from Pier 54, U-20, skippered by thirty-two-year-old Kapitänleutnant (Lt. Cmdr.) Walther Schwieger, left the German naval base at Emden on the North Sea. Schwieger’s orders were to take U-20 around Scotland and Ireland to the Irish Sea. There he was to operate in the approaches to Liverpool for as long as his supplies permitted. His orders allowed him to sink, with or without warning, all enemy ships and any other vessels whose appearance or behavior suggested that they might be disguised enemy vessels. The British were known to dispatch ships under neutral flags.

Submarine warfare was still in its infancy, and Germany had only eighteen seagoing subs, of which only about one-third could be on station at any one time. Schwieger’s U-20 displaced just 650 tons, making it about half the size of a fleet submarine in World War II. The boats were crowded and damp, and the eight torpedoes they carried were often unreliable. But the men who commanded the U-boats included some of the boldest officers of an elite service, and U-20 had a reputation as a ‘happy’ ship. The scion of a prominent Berlin family, Schwieger was popular with his officers and crew. One of his colleagues recalled him as ‘tall, broad-shouldered, and of a distinguished bearing, with well-cut features, blue eyes and blond hair–a particularly fine-looking fellow.’

On May 3, U-20’s fourth day at sea, Schwieger spotted a small steamer just north of the Hebrides. Although the vessel was flying Danish colors, Schwieger concluded that she was British and fired a torpedo at her from three hundred meters. The torpedo misfired and his quarry escaped, but the incident said much about Schwieger’s interpretation of his orders. He would not risk his boat by questioning possible neutrals. Rather, he would make full use of his authorization to sink ships without warning.

On the sixth day of his patrol, Schwieger rounded the southern tip of Ireland and entered the Irish Channel. There he encountered a small schooner, Earl of Lathom, under sail. Schwieger considered her so minimal a threat that he surfaced, allowed the schooner’s five-man crew to abandon ship, and destroyed the vessel with shellfire. Later the same day he attacked a three-thousand-ton steamer flying Norwegian colors, but the single torpedo he fired missed.

The next day, May 6, brought better fortune. That morning U-20 surfaced and pursued a medium-sized freighter, bringing her to a halt with gunfire. Schwieger believed in shooting first and identifying later, but in this case he was vindicated, for his prey turned out to be a British merchantman, Candidate, out of Liverpool. Schwieger dispatched her with a torpedo. That same afternoon U-20 sighted another ship of undetermined nationality. Schwieger stopped her with one torpedo and watched as her crew took to the boats. He then sent her to the bottom with a second torpedo. This victim was Centurion, sister ship to the fifty-nine-hundred-ton Candidate.

After sinking Centurion, Schwieger made a critical decision. Although his orders called for him to press on to Liverpool, he had only three torpedoes left and was near the end of his cruising range. Schwieger would expend one more torpedo in his current operational area and then begin the return voyage, confident of finding targets en route for his remaining two torpedoes.

Although Lusitania had left New York City with much of the pomp of a peacetime crossing, not all was well aboard the liner. To conserve coal, six of the ship’s twenty-five boilers had been shut down, effectively reducing her top speed from twenty-five to twenty-one knots. Perhaps most important, there was a shortage of experienced seamen on Lusitania. The Royal Navy had called up most reservists, leaving Cunard to recruit crewmen as best it could.

Nevertheless, the ship was in the hands of one of the most experienced skippers on the Atlantic run. Captain Turner, sixty-three, had been assigned to Lusitania just before her previous crossing, but he was a veteran commander. One of his officers, Albert Worley, saw his skipper as a typical British merchant captain, ‘jovial yet with an air of authority.’ The son of a sea captain, Turner had signed aboard a clipper as a cabin boy at age thirteen and had served as a junior officer on a variety of sailing vessels. Some believed that Turner’s blunt speech and unpolitic manner were liabilities, but no one questioned his seamanship. In 1912, while captain of Mauritania, he had won the Humane Society’s medal for rescuing the crew of the burning steamer West Point.

Much would later be made of Turner’s seeming lack of concern about the submarine menace. But the skipper knew that no ship the size and speed of Lusitania had ever fallen victim to a U-boat. Even steaming at a reduced speed, Lusitania could outrun any submarine, underwater or on the surface.

The liner plowed ahead on its northeasterly course, averaging about twenty knots. The normally festive atmosphere on board had been dampened somewhat by the war; indeed, Cunard had obtained a full passenger list only by reducing some fares. The only gilt-edged celebrity on board was multimillionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, en route to Britain for a meeting of horse breeders. Vanderbilt was fortunate in more than his inherited wealth; three years earlier he had booked passage on Titanic’s maiden voyage but had missed the fatal cruise because of a change in plans. Other first-class passengers included Broadway impresario Charles Frohman, scouting for new theatrical offerings, and Elbert Hubbard, the homespun writer of inspirational essays such as ‘A Message to Garcia.’

On Sunday, May 2, the first day out, Captain Turner conducted church services in the main lounge. The following day found the liner off Newfoundland’s Grand Banks. On May 4, Lusitania was halfway to her destination. The weather was fine, and Turner had reason to anticipate an easy crossing. Even so, the war was never entirely forgotten. On the morning of May 6, as the ship prepared to enter Berlin’s proclaimed war zone, some passengers were startled by the creak of lifeboat davits. Early risers on B deck saw the Cunard liner’s lifeboats being uncovered and swung out over the sides of the ship, where they would remain during the final, most dangerous portion of the voyage.

That evening Turner was called away from dinner to receive a radio message from the British Admiralty that warned of submarine activity off the southern coast of Ireland. There was no elaboration; the Admiralty did not mention the recent losses of Candidate and Centurion. Forty minutes later, however, came an explicit order to all British ships: ‘Take Liverpool pilot at bar, and avoid headlands. Pass harbors at full speed. Steer midchannel course. Submarines off Fastnet.’

Lusitania acknowledged the message and continued on course. She was now about 375 miles from Liverpool, making twenty-one knots. Turner ordered all watertight doors closed except those providing access to essential machinery, and he doubled the watch. Stewards were instructed to see that portholes were secured and blacked out.

May 7 began with a heavy fog, and Lusitania’s passengers awakened to the deep blasts of the liner’s foghorn. Turner maintained a course of eighty-seven degrees east but because of the fog ordered a reduction in speed to eighteen knots. The skipper was timing his arrival at the Liverpool bar for high tide so that, if no pilot was immediately available, he could enter the Mersey River without stopping.

Some 130 miles east, in his surfaced boat, Schwieger was wondering whether, given the poor visibility, he should continue on station. He recalled:

We had started back for Wilhelmshaven and were drawing near the Channel. There was a heavy sea and a thick fog, with small chance of sinking anything. At the same time, a destroyer steaming through the fog might stumble over us before we knew anything about it. So I submerged to twenty meters, below periscope depth.

About an hour and a half later…I noticed that the fog was lifting…. I brought the boat to the surface, and we continued our course above water. A few minutes after we emerged I sighted on the horizon a forest of masts and stacks. At first I thought they must belong to several ships. Then I saw it was a great steamer coming over the horizon. It was coming our way. I dived at once, hoping to get a shot at it.

Until midday, Turner had taken most of the measures that a prudent captain would be expected to take during wartime. On the fateful afternoon of May 7, however, he reverted to peacetime procedures. The coast of Ireland was in clear view at 1 p.m., but Turner was uncertain of his exact position. Ignoring Admiralty orders to zigzag in dangerous waters, to maintain top speed, and to avoid headlands, Turner changed Lusitania’s course toward land to fix his position. At 1:40 p.m. he recognized the Old Head of Kinsale, one of the most familiar headlands of the Irish coast. With cottages on the coast clearly visible to her passengers, Lusitania swung back toward her earlier course of eighty-seven degrees east and headed toward her reckoning.

The change of course involved two turns. In Schwieger’s recollection:

When the steamer was two miles away it changed its course. I had no hope now, even if we hurried at our best speed, of getting near enough to attack her…. [Then] I saw the steamer change her course again. She was coming directly at us. She could not have steered a more perfect course if she had deliberately tried to give us a dead shot….

I had already shot away my best torpedoes and had left only two bronze ones–not so good. The steamer was four hundred yards away when I gave an order to fire. The torpedo hit, and there was a rather small detonation and instantly after a much heavier one. The pilot was beside me. I told him to have a look at close range. He put his eye to the periscope and after a brief scrutiny yelled: ‘My God, it’s the Lusitania.’

U-20’s torpedo, carrying three hundred pounds of explosives in its warhead, struck between the first and second funnels, throwing a huge cloud of debris into the air. Turner, who had been in his cabin when the torpedo wake was spotted, rushed to the bridge. Survivors later testified almost unanimously that a second, heavier explosion followed. Power was cut off throughout the ship, preventing Turner from communicating with the engine room and trapping some people belowdecks. Passenger Margaret Mackworth and her father were about to step into an elevator when they felt the ship tremble from Schwieger’s detonating torpedo. Both stepped back, an action that undoubtedly saved their lives.

Above, confusion was rampant. Passengers rushed to the boat deck, only to be told that the ship was safe and that no boats need be launched. Most life rafts were still lashed to the decks. Passengers and crewmen alike milled about; although Lusitania carried ample lifeboats, passengers had never been informed to which boat they were assigned in case of an emergency. Charles Lauriat, a Boston bookseller, later noted that as many as half the passengers had put on their life jackets improperly.

The ship immediately took on a heavy list to starboard that made it impossible to lower boats from the port side. The inexperienced crew could not cope. When Third Officer Albert Bestic reached the No. 2 lifeboat on the port side, he found it filled with women–most in full-length skirts–but only one crewman was available to man the davits. When Bestic, the crewman, and a male passenger attempted to lower the boat, there was a sharp crack. One of the guys had snapped, dropping the bow of the lifeboat and spilling its passengers against the rail and into the sea.

Three years earlier, those aboard Titanic for whom there were not enough lifeboats had had some two hours in which to stare into their icy grave. Aboard Lusitania, the imminence of the disaster left little time for contemplation. For instance, shortly after the torpedo struck, second-class passenger Allan Beatty slid across the entire width of the deck, caught the side of a collapsible raft, and still almost drowned as water poured over the rail.

Although Turner never gave an order to abandon ship, individual officers began loading boats on their own initiative. But the fact that the liner was still underway made it difficult to launch even the starboard boats. Several capsized, spilling their occupants into the water. Only eighteen minutes after Schwieger’s torpedo struck, Lusitania sank with a roar that reminded one passenger of the collapse of a great building during a fire. Hundreds of passengers went down with her, trapped in elevators or between decks. Hundreds of others were swept off the ship and drowned in the roiled waters. Because Lusitania was nearly eight hundred feet long, her black-painted stern and four great screws were still visible to horrified onlookers on shore at Kinsale when the liner’s bow struck bottom at 360 feet.

Not a ship was in sight when the liner went down; other skippers appear to have taken the submarine warnings more seriously than had Turner. But a stream of fishing boats from nearby Queenstown collected the living and the dead during the afternoon and evening of May 7. More than 60 percent of the people on board died–a total of 1,198–of whom 128 were Americans. About 140 unidentified victims were buried at Queenstown, but the remains of nine hundred others were never found. Of the American celebrities, all three–Frohman, Hubbard, and Vanderbilt–went down with the ship. One survivor recalled, ‘Actuated by a less acute fear or by a higher degree of bravery which the well-bred man seems to feel in moments of danger, the men of wealth and position for the most part hung back while others rushed for the boats.’

Whatever Lusitania may have been carrying as cargo, the death toll aboard the liner ensured that the sinking would become a public relations disaster for Germany. Instead of issuing an apology, however, or at least holding out the promise of an investigation, Berlin first sought to deflect responsibility. Adding insult to injury, thousands of Germans purchased postcards that portrayed Schwieger’s torpedo striking Lusitania, with an inset of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. The newspaper of one of the centrist political parties, Kolniche Volkszeilung, editorialized:

The sinking of the Lusitania is a success of our submarines which must be placed beside the greatest achievements of this naval war…. It will not be the last. The English wish to abandon the German people to death by starvation. We are more humane. We simply sank an English ship with passengers who, at their own risk and responsibility entered the zone of operations.

In Britain, reaction to the sinking was immediate and violent. British officials denied German suspicions that Lusitania was carrying contraband, and in London and Liverpool, mobs attacked German-owned shops. The reaction in the United States was less destructive but more ominous. Former President Theodore Roosevelt denounced the sinking as piracy; to Roosevelt, it was inconceivable that the United States could fail to respond. The press reaction outside the German-American community was almost uniformly condemning. The New York Tribune warned that ‘the nation which remembered the Maine will not forget the civilians of the Lusitania.’ A cartoon in the New York Sun depicted the kaiser fastening a medal around the neck of a mad dog.

The United States was not yet ready for war, however, and amid the indignation there were calls for restraint. But the Lusitania tragedy caused thousands of Americans, heretofore indifferent to the war in Europe, to side with the Allies. On May 12 the British government released a report on German atrocities in Belgium. The report exaggerated the extent of German depredations, but in the aftermath of Lusitania’s sinking most Americans were a receptive audience. The German ambassador in Washington reported that the Lusitania affair had dealt a fatal blow to his efforts to enhance his country’s image.

The foreign reaction was sufficiently disturbing to the German government that Schwieger, on his return to Germany, met with a cool reception. Then U-20’s log mysteriously disappeared. Typewritten versions of Schwieger’s log, made available after Lusitania survivors had reported a second explosion, included this sentence: ‘It would have been impossible for me…to fire a second torpedo into this crowd of people struggling to save their lives.’

In the diplomatic exchanges that followed the sinking, Germany was for a time intransigent and then issued a statement expressing regret for the loss of American lives. President Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, resigned his post over the stern tone of Wilson’s notes protesting the German action, arguing that Germany had a right to prevent contraband from going to the Allies and that a ship carrying contraband could not rely on passengers to protect her from attack. But Germany had lost the propaganda war.

On August 19, 1915, while diplomatic notes on the Lusitania affair were still being exchanged, another British liner, Arabic, was torpedoed, with the loss of two American lives. This time the German Foreign Ministry impressed upon the kaiser the seriousness of any rupture with the United States, and Germany promised that no more merchant ships would be torpedoed without warning. The threat of Amercian intervention receded until, more than a year later, the beleaguered Germans believed it was necessary to resume unrestricted submarine warfare to break the British blockade. Berlin’s announcement, on January 31, 1917, that its submarines would’sink on sight’ brought the United States into the war.

Nearly two years had passed between the sinking of Lusitania and President Wilson’s call for a declaration of war. But when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, the picture that came to American minds was of the women and children aboard the legendary Cunard liner. Indeed, much of the world seemed prepared to accept the judgment of a British court that responsibility for Lusitania rested exclusively with the Germans, ‘those who plotted and…committed the crime.’

Turner, who survived the sinking of his ship, was roundly criticized for having failed to maintain top speed and for having ignored Admiralty orders to avoid headlands such as the Old Head of Kinsale. He never again took a Cunard liner to sea. As for Schwieger, he went on to become one of Germany’s top U-boat aces, receiving his country’s highest decoration for having destroyed 190,000 tons of Allied shipping. About five weeks after receiving his decoration, however, Schwieger took U-88 on what proved to be his last cruise. The submarine never returned; she apparently struck a mine and went down with all hands.

Although divers attempted to explore the wreck of Lusitania both before and after World War II, only recently has the availability of advanced underwater cameras and robotic vehicles made a thorough examination possible. In August 1993, Dr. Robert Ballard, whose teams had earlier explored Titanic and Bismarck, led an expedition to the wreck of Lusitania. Employing a small submarine and remote-controlled, camera-equipped vehicles, Ballard took extensive photographs, partly in an attempt to explain the mysterious second explosion.

Although the ship lies on her starboard side, with the interior largely collapsed, Ballard had sufficient access to the wreck to determine that the magazine where the cartridges had been stored was undamaged. Nor was there any evidence of a boiler explosion. Given that Schwieger’s torpedo had struck near a coal bunker, and the fact that the wreck is surrounded by spilled coal, Ballard makes a convincing case that the second, fatal blast resulted from an explosion of coal dust in the forward bunkers.

In the eight decades since the torpedoing of Lusitania, the world has passed through two world wars, the Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, and China’s Cultural Revolution. Today, the indignation aroused by the sinking of Lusitania seems almost quaint. By the time of World War II, the idea that any submarine would surface to warn of an impending torpedo attack was ludicrous; the practice of the German, British, and U.S. navies alike was to torpedo ships without warning.

By the standards of his day, however, Schwieger’s action was reprehensible. Although the U-boat commanders’ orders permitted them to attack without warning, many of his colleagues chose to warn their victims when possible, and most of them probably would have done so in the case of a passenger liner. By his own admission, Schwieger torpedoed Lusitania before he had even identified her. The one point in Schwieger’s defense is that he certainly did not expect his target to go down in eighteen minutes. As in the case of Centurion the day before, Schwieger probably expected his first torpedo to stop Lusitania. Then, after those aboard had abandoned ship, he would sink his victim at leisure. But this is not what happened, and Lusitania’s victims were not the only ones who paid a price. Winston Churchill, British first lord of the Admiralty when Lusitania went down, wrote in 1931:

The Germans never understood, and never will understand, the horror and indignation with which their opponents and the neutral world regarded their attack…. To seize even an enemy merchant ship at sea was an act which imposed strict obligations on the captor. To make a neutral ship a prize of war stirred whole histories of international law. But between taking a ship and sinking a ship was a gulf.



Een schroef van de Lusitania.






10 mei 1915,begrafenisstoet en massagraf,Queensland - Ierland




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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mrt 2010 20:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Altruism surfaces only on slow-sinking ships
By ABC Science's Branwen Morgan, posted Tue Mar 2, 2010

The primal instinct to selfishly flee from a dangerous situation takes precedence over helping others unless you have time on your hands, according to Australian researchers.

Professor Benno Torgler, of the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, and colleagues compared the behaviour of individuals on the ill-fated RMS Titanic and RMS Lusitania passenger ships.

The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic in 1912 and the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Irish coast in 1915.

The researchers found that the social norm of "women and children first" was deferred to only on the Titanic, where first class passengers also had a higher probability of survival.

Professor Torgler says this contrasts to the situation on the Lusitania, which favoured survival of the fittest.

"There were substantial behavioural differences on the Lusitania," he said.

"Those with the best chance of survival were aged 16 to 35, with little difference between genders (10.4 per cent females versus 7.9 per cent for males) and first class passengers actually fared worse.

"This suggests that competition was the strongest driving factor influencing survival."


Time pressure

The Titanic and Lusitania were chosen for the study because of the availability of individual passenger crew data, the similar passenger demographics and the historical timing of the disasters.

Co-author David Savage said the mean survival rate, age, proportion of women, and class of passenger were almost identical.

"The similarities between the two vessels are uncanny," he said.

"Given that the two events occurred within a couple of years of each other we can also assume that the social norms or manners were unchanged."

What differed between the two events was time.

The Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink after its collision with an iceberg, whereas the Lusitania was completely submerged 18 minutes after being hit by a German torpedo.

"The shortened disaster time favoured instinctive fight-or-flight behaviour, whereas the lengthier disaster led to the appearance of social norms," Professor Torgler said.

"We know the first is driven by the rush of adrenalin to the brain, but we don't know exactly when the altruistic behaviour takes over.

"These are true preferences revealed only in test conditions, they aren't something you can accurately assess by surveying responses to hypothetical situations."

Previously, the researchers had noted that British passengers on the Titanic were less likely to survive than all other nationalities.

"This had suggested that English manners were a disadvantage in a life-and-death situation, but on the Lusitania, these cultural differences didn't seem to make much difference to a passenger's chance of survival," Mr Savage said.

The group are now looking at human behaviour in risky activities such as mountaineering, as well as other tragedies such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the Australian bushfires.

Knowing how individuals and groups make decisions helps to shape policy for disaster situations.

"There's a fine line between crowding out naturally good behaviour and creating policy that has a positive impact on survival outcome," Mr Savage said.

The research will be published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/02/2834052.htm?site=news
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Nov 2010 0:07    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1915

It had been a very successful run. The German submarine U-20 had entered the Irish Sea on May 5 and now, the morning of May 7, the submarine claimed its third victim. The U-20 had only three torpedoes left in its arsenal and was low on fuel. As a result, Captain Walter Schwieger, the ship's commander, decided to steer for the open waters of the Atlantic and home. He was unaware that his greatest prize was steaming straight for him and that his actions that day would ultimately bring America into the war.

The Lusitania had left New York City on May 1 bound for Liverpool. On the afternoon of May 7 she was steaming off the coast of Ireland within easy sailing distance of her destination. Known as the "Greyhound of the Seas," the Lusitania was the fastest liner afloat and relied on her speed to defend against submarine attack. However, she was not running at full speed because of fog. Nor was the ship taking an evasive zigzag course. It was a sitting duck and was headed straight into the sights of the U-20.

The two ships converged at about 2 pm. After stalking his prey for an hour, Captain Schwieger unleashed one torpedo that hit its target amidships. The initial explosion was followed quickly by a second, more powerful, detonation. Within 20 minutes the great liner had slipped under the water, taking 1,198 victims with her. Among the dead were 138 Americans. Many in the United States were outraged. A declaration of war was narrowly averted when Germany vowed to cease her policy of unrestricted submarine warfare that allowed attacks on merchant ships without warning. However, American public opinion had turned against Germany and when she resurrected her unrestricted submarine warfare policy in February of 1917, America decided to go to war.

"Great confusion arose on the ship. . ."

Captain Schwieger kept a diary of the voyage. We join his story as he first catches sight of the Lusitania in the early afternoon of May 7, 1915:

"2 pm Straight ahead the 4 funnels and 3 masts of a steamer with a course at right angles to ours. . . Ship is made out to be a large passenger liner.

3:05 pm Went to 11m and ran at high speed on a course converging with that of the steamer, in hopes that it would change course to starboard along the Irish Coast.

The steamer turned to starboard, headed for Queenstown and thus made it possible to approach for a shot. Ran at high speed till 3 pm in order to secure an advantageous position.


3:10 pm Clear bow shot at 700 m. . . angle of intersection 90 [degrees] estimated speed 22 nautical miles.

Shot struck starboard side close behind the bridge. An extraordinary heavy detonation followed, with a very large cloud of smoke (far above the front funnel). A second explosion must have followed that of the torpedo (boiler or coal or powder?).

The superstructure above the point of impact and the bridge were torn apart; fire broke out; light smoke veiled the high bridge. The ship stopped immediately and quickly listed sharply to starboard, sinking deeper by the head at the same time.

Great confusion arose on the ship; some of the boats were swung clear and lowered into the water. Many people must have lost their heads; several boats loaded with people rushed downward, struck the water bow or stern first and filled at once.

On the port side, because of the sloping position, fewer boats were swung clear than on the starboard side.

The ship blew off steam; at the bow the name “Lusitania” in golden letters was visible. It was running 20 nautical miles.

3:25 pm Since it seemed as if the steamer could only remain above water for a short time, went to 24m. and ran toward the Sea. Nor could I have fired a second torpedo into this swarm of people who were trying to save themselves.

4:15 pm Went to 11m and took a look around. In the distance straight ahead a number of life-boats were moving; nothing more was to be seen of the Lusitania. The wreck must lie 14 nautical miles from the Old Head of Kinsale light-house, at an angle of 358 degrees to the right of it, in 90m of water (27 nautical miles from Queenstown) 51 degrees 22’ 6” N and 8 degrees 31’ W. The land and the lighthouse could be seen very plainly.

4:20 pm When taking a look around, a large steamer was in sight ahead on the port side, with course laid for Fastnet Rock. Tried to get ahead at high speed, so as to get a stern shot. . .

5:08 pm Conditions for shot very favorable: no possibility of missing if torpedo kept its course. Torpedo did not strike. Since the telescope was cut off for some time after this shot the cause of failure could not be determined. . . The steamer or freighter was of the Cunard Line.

6:15 pm . . . It is remarkable that there is so much traffic on this particular day, although two large steamers were sunk the day before south of George’s Channel. It is also inexplicable that the Lusitania was not sent through the North Channel."

References:
Walter Schwieger’s diary is part of the collection of the National Archives: Record Group 45: Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, 1691 – 1945.
Other references: Hickey, Des & Smith, Gus, Seven Days to Disaster (1982); Simpson, Colin, The Lusitania (1972).

How To Cite This Article:
"The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1915," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2007).

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/lusitania.htm

Gr P
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Mei 2011 21:37    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lusitania remembered at Merseyside Maritime Museum

Theories exist that Lusitania was sunk because she may have been carrying arms



A memorial service to mark the 96th anniversary of the sinking of the Liverpool liner, Lusitania, has taken place at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

A German submarine torpedo sank the Cunard vessel off Kinsale, Ireland, on 7 May 1915, killing 1,200 people.

The disaster was pivotal in prompting the US to enter World War I as many passengers were US citizens.

Following the service between the museum and the Piermaster's House a wreath was cast into the Mersey.

Ian Murphy, deputy head of Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: "Lusitania was Liverpool's favourite ship and visited the port hundreds of times after her maiden voyage in 1907.

"Many Liverpool people died in the disaster and to lots of people she came to symbolise the city's losses in the First World War.

"Merseyside Maritime Museum started this annual service some years ago and everyone is welcome to attend.

"It is fitting that those who died are remembered on the waterfront that Lusitania called home."

The 31,550-tonne liner sank in just 18 minutes.

Germany claimed she was a valid target as they had issued a warning that all Allied shipping would be treated as legitimate targets.

Controversy still surrounds the disaster as it remains unclear whether or not the liner was carrying arms.

Merseyside Maritime Museum has a Lusitania collection which includes items from the ship and some of the letters and belongings of Captain William Turner who survived the sinking.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-13321267
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Mei 2011 2:01    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Krantenknipsels over de speech van Hudson Maxim tijdens een herdenkingsbijeenkomst voor Lusitaniaslachtoffers Elbert Hubbard en zijn vrouw. Ze waren goede vrienden van Maxim.

De knipsels zijn van hemzelf, ze werden in een exemplaar van de biografie van zijn broer Hiram Maxim ('My Life') aangetroffen, een boek wat zich in de bibliotheek van Hudson Maxim (met de nodige aantekeningen van Hudson) bevond.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Okt 2011 14:38    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



The Track of the Lusitania. View of casualties and survivors in the water and in lifeboats after the Lusitania was torpedoed, 7 May 1915, by William Lionel Wyllie. Repro ID: PW1553 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Mei 2013 14:50    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Lusitania was a famous British passenger vessel. Her sinking in May 1915 shocked the world, especially coming so close after the tragic sinking of Titanic three years before. But unlike Titanic, Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo at a time when Great Britain was at war with Germany. And contrary to mainstream history books, Lusitania was not an innocent ship that was destroyed by vengeful Germans.

Violating the Rules of War

The conflict that became known as World War I had begun in 1914. That year, the British declared the North Sea (which Germany needed for supplies) to be a war zone. British ships intercepted cargo bound for Germany and mined the main approaches to German ports. In this way, the British deliberately tried starving German civilians into submission with a “hunger blockade.” Targeting civilians rather than enemy combatants violated international law.

Verder lezen:
http://waltercoffey.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/the-real-story-of-lusitania/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Jun 2015 19:28    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ger @ 02 Jun 2015 17:38 schreef:
Lees hier verder:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/from-the-archives/11588347/Lusitania-anniversary-read-a-remarkable-account-from-a-survivor.html

Bron: Telegraph.co.uk/archives
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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Jun 2015 8:18    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

In pictures: The Lusitania disaster that helped draw the USA into WW1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10801503/In-pictures-The-Lusitania-disaster-that-helped-draw-the-USA-into-WW1.html?frame=2898198
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Laatst aangepast door Yvonne op 03 Jun 2015 9:13, in totaal 1 keer bewerkt
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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Jun 2015 8:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Cobh-Lusitania-Centenary

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cobh-Lusitania-Centenary-2015/705446759531460
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