RMS Lusitania

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RMS Lusitania.
Owners: Cunard Line
Builders: John Brown & Co. Ltd, yards in Clydebank, Scotland
Port of registry: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Laid down: June 16, 1904
Launched: Thursday, June 7, 1906[1]
Christened: Mary, Lady Inverclyde
Maiden voyage: September 7, 1907
Fate: Torpedoed by German U-boat U-20 May 7, 1915
Gross Tonnage: 31,550 GRT
Displacement: 44,060 Long Tons
Length: 787 ft (239.87 m)
Beam: 87 ft 6 in (26.67 m)
Number of funnels: 4
Number of masts: 2
Construction: Steel
Power: 25 Scotch boilers. Four direct-acting Parsons steam turbines producing 76000 hp geared to quadruple screws
Propulsion: Four triple blade propellers. Quadruple blade propellers installed 1909.
Service Speed: 25 knots (46.3 km/h / 28.8 mph) Top speed (single-day's run): 26.7 knots (49.4 km/h) (March, 1914)
Passenger Accommodation (Designed): 552 first class, 460 second class, 1,186 third class. 2,198 total

1272 deaths

Crew: 850

The RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner, was one of the largest and most luxurious passenger ships of the 1910 era.

During World War I, with Britain and Germany at war, on May 7, 1915 the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine/U-Boat, the U-20. It sank in only 18 minutes, killing 1198 of the 1962 civilians aboard. The attack turned sentiments in neutral nations against Germany and helped provoke the United States into entering the war two years later.


[edit] Construction and sea trials

The Lusitania was owned by the Cunard Steamship Line Shipping Company, built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, and launched on Thursday, June 7, 1906. She and her sister ship RMS Mauretania were built to compete with the German liners of the time. Lusitania took back the Blue Riband in 1907 and she and the Mauretania were the fastest liners of their day.

Lusitania and Mauretania were built during the time of a passenger liner race between shipping lines based in Germany and Great Britain. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the fastest Atlantic liners were German, and the British sought to win back the title. Simultaneously, American financier J.P. Morgan was planning to buy up all the North Atlantic shipping lines, including Britain's own White Star Line. In 1903, Cunard chairman Lord Inverclyde took these threats to his advantage and lobbied the Balfour administration for a loan of £2.6 million for the construction of Lusitania and Mauretania, providing that they met Admiralty specifications and that Cunard remain a wholly British company. The British Government also agreed to pay Cunard an annual subsidy of £150,000 for maintaining both ships in a state of war readiness, plus an additional £68,000 to carry Royal Mail.

Lusitania's keel was laid at John Brown & Clydebank as Yard no. 367 on June 16, 1904. She was launched and christened by Mary, Lady Inverclyde on Thursday, June 7 1906.[2][3] Lord Inverclyde died before this momentous occasion.

Starting on July 27, 1907, Lusitania underwent preliminary and formal acceptance trials. Engineers discovered that high speed caused violent vibrations in the stern, forcing the stern to be refitted with stronger bracings. After these physical alterations, she was finally delivered to Cunard on August 26.

[edit] Comparison with the Olympic class

The Lusitania and Mauretania were smaller than the White Star Line vessels Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic. Although significantly faster than the Olympic class, the Cunard ships were not fast enough to allow Cunard to provide a weekly transatlantic departure schedule using just two vessels. Consequently Cunard would require a third ship to maintain a weekly ferry, and after White Star announced its plans to build the Olympic class, Cunard ordered its third ship, Aquitania. Like the White Star trio, Aquitania would be larger and slower, but also more luxurious, than Lusitania and Mauretania.

The Olympic class differed from Lusitania and Mauretania in the subdivision of underwater compartments. The Olympic class ships were divided by transverse watertight bulkheads. Lusitania also had transverse bulkheads, but in addition she had longitudinal bulkheads on each side, between the boiler and engine rooms and the coal bunkers on the outside of the vessel. The British commission that investigated the Titanic disaster heard testimony that the flooding of bunkers outside of longitudinal bulkheads over a considerable length could increase the ship's list and "make the lowering of the boats on the other side impracticable"-- exactly what happened with Lusitiania. [4]

[edit] Career

The Lusitania being escorted by tug boats.
The Lusitania being escorted by tug boats.

The Lusitania departed Liverpool, England for her maiden voyage on September 7, 1907 and arrived in New York City, NY on September 13. At the time she was the largest ocean liner in service and would continue to be until the introduction of her sister Mauretania in November that year.

In October 1907, the Lusitania took the Blue Riband from the Kaiser Wilhelm II of the North German Lloyd, ending Germany's 10 year dominance of the Atlantic. The Lusitania averaged 23.99 knots (44.4 km/h) westbound and 23.61 knots (43.7 km/h) eastbound.

With the introduction of the Mauretania in November 1907, the Lusitania and Mauretania continued to hand off the Blue Riband to each other. The Lusitania made her fastest westbound crossing in 1909, averaging 25.85 knots (47.9 km/h). In September of that same year, the Lusitania lost the Blue Riband permanently to the Mauretania. The Mauretania held the record as fastest ship on the Atlantic for the next 20 years, until she lost the title to the North German Lloyd liner Bremen.

[edit] War

The Lusitania, like a number of liners of the era, was part of a subsidy scheme meant to convert ships into Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMC) if requisitioned by the government. This involved structural provisions for mounting deck guns.

At the onset of World War I, the British Admiralty considered the Lusitania for requisition as an armed merchant cruiser; however, large liners such as the Lusitania consumed too much coal, presented too large a target, and put at risk large crews and were therefore deemed inappropriate for the role. Smaller liners were used as AMCs.

The large liners were either not requisitioned, or were used for troop transport or as hospital ships. Mauretania became a troop transport while Lusitania continued in its role as a luxury liner built to convey people between England and the United States. For economic reasons, the Lusitania's transatlantic crossings were reduced to once a month and boiler room Number 4 was shut down. Maximum speed was reduced to 21 knots (39 km/h), but even at that speed, the Lusitania was the fastest passenger liner on the North Atlantic in commercial service, and 10 knots faster than submarines.

On February 4, 1915, Germany declared the seas around the British Isles a war zone. Effective February 18, Allied ships in the area would be sunk without warning. This was not wholly unrestricted submarine warfare, since efforts would be taken to avoid sinking neutral ships. (Germany's second submarine campaign against the Allies during World War One was unrestricted in scope, as was submarine warfare during the Second World War.)

When Lusitania was to arrive in Liverpool on March 6, 1915, the Admiralty issued specific instructions to her on how to avoid submarines. Despite the fact that there was a severe shortage of destroyers, Admiral Henry Oliver ordered the HMS Louis and HMS Laverlock to escort Lusitania, and took the further precaution of sending the Q ship HMS Lyons to patrol Liverpool Bay. Captain Dow of the Lusitania, not knowing whether the Laverock and Louis were actual Admiralty escorts or a trap by the German navy, evaded the sent escorts and arrived in Liverpool without incident.[1]

On April 17, 1915, Lusitania left Liverpool on her 101st transatlantic voyage, arriving in New York on April 24. A group of German-Americans, hoping to avoid controversy if the Lusitania were attacked by a U-boat, discussed their concerns with a representative of the German embassy. The embassy decided to warn passengers not to sail on the Lusitania before her next crossing.

[edit] Last voyage and sinking

[edit] Last departure

The Lusitania departed Pier 54 in New York on May 1, 1915. Prior to departure on that very day, a newspaper warning was given advising people not to travel because of U-boat activity. The German Embassy in Washington had issued this warning on April 22.

TRAVELLERS intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Washington, D.C. April 22, 1915

This warning was printed right next to an advertisement for Lusitania's return voyage.

The warning led to some agitation in the press and worried the ship's passengers and crew, except for the captain, an experienced 58-year old sailor and captain named William "Bowler Bill" Turner. Turner downplayed the concerns, and told one passenger that Lusitania was "safer than the trolley cars in New York City."

Lusitania steamed out of New York at noon that day, two hours behind schedule due to a transfer of passengers and crew from the recently requisitioned Cameronia. Shortly after departure, three German spies were found on board, arrested, and detained below decks.


[edit] Passengers

Lusitania carried 1,256 passengers on her last voyage. Those on board included British MP David Alfred Thomas and his daughter Margaret, Lady Mackworth, American architect Theodate Pope, Oxford professor and writer Ian Stoughton Holbourn, H. Montagu Allan's wife Marguerite and daughters Anna Marjory and Gwendolyn Evelyn, playwrights Justus Miles Forman and Charles Klein, American theatre impresario Charles Frohman, American philosopher, writer and Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard and his second wife Alice, American pianist Charles Harwood Knight, renowned Irish art collector Sir Hugh Lane, American engineer and entrepreneur Frederick Stark Pearson and his wife Mabel, genealogist Lothrop Withington, and sportsman, millionaire, and leader of the Vanderbilt family, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.

[edit] Eastbound

Lusitania's landfall on the return leg of her transatlantic circuit was Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland. As the liner steamed across the ocean, the British Admiralty was tracking through wireless intercepts the movements of the German submarine U-20, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger and operating along the west coast of Ireland and moving south.

On the 5th and 6th of May, U-20 sank three vessels in the area of Fastnet Rock, and the Royal Navy sent a warning to all British ships: "Submarines active off the south coast of Ireland". Captain Turner of Lusitania was given the message twice on the evening of the 6th, and took what he felt were prudent precautions. He closed watertight doors, posted double lookouts, ordered a black-out, and had the lifeboats swung out on their davits so they could be quickly put into the water if need be. That same evening, a Seamen's Charities fund concert took place in the first class lounge.

At about 11:00, on Friday, May 7, the Admiralty radioed another warning, and Turner adjusted his course to the northwest, apparently thinking that submarines would be more likely to keep to the open sea and so the Lusitania would be safer close to land.

U-20 was low on fuel and only had three torpedoes left, and her commander, Walther Schwieger, had decided to head for home. The U-boat was moving at top speed on the surface at 13:00 when Schwieger spotted a vessel on the horizon. He ordered the crew to take the vessel under and to take up battle stations.

[edit] Sinking

Lusitania was making for the port of Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, 70 kilometers from the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 2:10 p.m. It was sheer chance that the liner became such a convenient target, since U-20 could hardly have caught the fast vessel otherwise. Schwieger gave the order to fire, sending a single torpedo towards Lusitania. It hit cleanly under the bridge, blowing a hole in the side of the ship, and was then followed by a much larger secondary explosion that blew out the starboard bow.

Schwieger's own log entries attests that he only fired one torpedo. Some doubt the validity of this claim, citing that the German government subsequently doctored Schwieger's log, but accounts from other U-20 crewmembers confirm that only one torpedo was fired.

Lusitania's wireless operator sent out an immediate SOS and Captain Turner gave the order to abandon ship; however, the liner was in a difficult position. The hole caused by the torpedo was causing her to list severely, the damage to the bow was making the foredeck sink under the waves, and the ship was still moving at relatively high speed.

Lusitania's severe starboard list during the sinking considerably complicated launching the lifeboats — the lifeboats on the starboard side of the ship swung out too far to conveniently step aboard. [5] While it was still possible to board the lifeboats on the port side, lowering them presented a different problem. As was typical for this period of time, the hull plates of the Lusitania were fastened with large rivets. As the lifeboats were lowered, they dragged on these rivets, which threatened to rip the boats apart. Many lifeboats overturned while loading or lowering, spilling their passengers into the sea below; those that were lowered tended to be overturned by the ship's motion when they hit the water. Some, by the negligence of some officers, crashed down onto the deck, crushing other passengers, and sliding down towards the bridge. Lusitania had 48 lifeboats, more than enough for all the crew and passengers, but only six managed to get to the water and stay afloat.

Turner tried to make for land to beach the liner and to reduce her speed, but Lusitania no longer answered the helm. There was panic and disorder on the decks. Schwieger had been observing this nightmare through U-20's periscope, but by 2:25 p.m. he decided he'd seen enough. He dropped the periscope and headed out to sea.

Turner stayed with the bridge until the water came up to meet him, and he managed to save himself by grabbing onto a floating chair. Lusitania's bow slammed into the bottom, her stern pitched up in the air, and she overturned on her side before sinking. Along the way, boilers proceeded to blow up with one causing the third funnel to explode and collapse, with the remaining funnels proceeding to snap off soon after. The liner then disappeared beneath the ocean. About a couple of minutes later, the ship hit the bottom and caused a backdraft of water, people and debris. There was then silence except for the people struggling in the water.

Lusitania sank in 18 minutes at 2:28 pm, 8 miles off of the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland. 1,198 people died with her, including almost a hundred children.[2] The bodies of many of the victims are buried at either the Lusitania plot in Cobh or at the Church of St. Multose in Kinsale.

[edit] Schwieger's war diary

Bailey (1935) p. 55 provides a translation of the war diary of Kommandant Kapitanleutnant Schwieger:

"Ahead and to starboard four funnels and two masts of a steamer with course perpendicular to us come into sight (coming from SSW it steered toward Galley Head). Ship is made out to be large passenger steamer. [We] submerged to a depth of eleven meters and went ahead at full speed, taking a course converging with the one of the steamer, hoping it might change its course to starboard along the Irish coast. The steamer turns to starboard, takes course to Queenstown thus making possible an approach for a shot. Until 3 P. M. we ran at high speed in order to gain position directly ahead. Clean bow shot at a distance of 700 meters (G-torpedo, three meters depth adjustment); angle 90°, estimated speed twenty-two knots. Torpedo hits starboard side right behind the bridge. An unusually heavy explosion takes place with a very strong explosion cloud (cloud reaches far beyond front funnel). The explosion of the torpedo must have been followed by a second one (boiler or coal or powder?). The superstructure right above the point of impact and the bridge are torn asunder, fire breaks out, and smoke envelops the high bridge. The ship stops immediately and heels over to starboard very quickly, immersing simultaneously at the bow. It appears as if the ship were going to capsize very shortly. Great confusion ensues on board; the boats are made clear and some of them are lowered to the water. In doing so great confusion must have reigned; some boats, full to capacity, are lowered, rushed from above, touch the water with either stem or stern first and founder immediately. On the port side fewer boats are made clear than on the starboard side on account of the ship's list. The ship blows off [steam]; painted black, no flag was set astern. Ship was running twenty knots. Since it seems as if the steamer will keep above water only a short time, we dived to a depth of twenty-four meters and ran out to sea. It would have been impossible for me, anyhow, to fire a second torpedo into this crowd of people struggling to save their lives."

[edit] Last survivors

The three people below have made claims to be survivors but are not on the passenger list and not listed on Ellis Island as having returned. The offical passenger list can be found on a number of sites such as www.rmslusitania.info or a copy can be acquired from the National Archives in Washington and in Kew.

  • Rosalie Altamore Bonsignore,still alive as of April 2007 and doing great,she has been on the channel 12 news on long island and spoke in Cary high School.
  • Victor Hiertsford, alive as of January 2007
  • Deej Dot Maan, alive as of Februrary 2007

[edit] Political consequences

A medal recognizing the sinking of the Lusitania.
A medal recognizing the sinking of the Lusitania.

Schwieger was condemned in the press as a war criminal. What he was thinking when he gave the order to fire the torpedo is a mystery, as he was killed in 1917 when the submarine he commanded at that time, U-88, hit a mine.

Of the 197 Americans on board, 128 lost their lives. There was massive outrage in Britain and America. The British felt the Americans had to declare war on Germany. US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, fearing that the US would declare war, resigned from the Cabinet in protest; however, President Woodrow Wilson still did not want the country to get involved in a European dispute because the American population (many of whom were German-American) did not want to be involved in a war. Instead of declaring war, he sent a formal protest to Germany. Wilson was bitterly criticized in Britain as a coward.

Wilson's restraint now seems remarkable under the circumstances, since there was a wave of American anger over the sinking of Lusitania. Although unrestricted submarine warfare continued at a varying pace into the summer, on August 19 U-24 sank the White Star liner Arabic, with the loss of 44 passengers and crew. Three of the dead were Americans, and President Wilson angrily protested through German diplomatic channels.

On August 27, the Kaiser imposed severe restrictions on U-boats attacks against large passenger vessels. On September 18 1915, he called off unrestricted submarine warfare completely.

Munich metalworker Karl Goetz struck commemorative medallions in August 1915 to satirise the greed of Cunard line and the foolishness of contraband smuggled with the help of US neutrality. The original medal has the incorrect date of 5th of May 1915 on it. Some time thereafter British intelligence obtained a copy and saw a propaganda opportunity as the medal apparently celebrated the sinking as a premeditated crime. The incorrect date was taken as proof of this theory and combined with possibly apocryphal German press reports touting the triumph. British propagandists pre-commissioned Selfridges of London to make 250-300,000 copies of the medal in an attractive case claiming to be an exact copy of the German medal, which then were sold for a shilling to benefit the British Red Cross and other charities. Belatedly realising his mistake Goetz issued a corrected medal with the date of 7th of May. The Bavarian government suppressed the medal and ordered their confiscation in April 1917. The original German medals (less than 500 were struck) can most easily be distinguished from the English copies because the date is in German; the English version spells 'May' rather than 'Mai'. After the war Goetz expressed his regret his work had been the cause of increasing anti-German feelings, but it remains one of the most celebrated propaganda acts of all time.

According to French newspapers, the opening of the Paris Peace Conference, which resulted in the Treaty of Versailles, coincided deliberately with the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

[edit] Controversies

[edit] Contraband and second explosion

The telegraph on the wreck of Lusitania.
The telegraph on the wreck of Lusitania.
A bollard on the Lusitania's Forecastle. Note the rope still wound around them.
A bollard on the Lusitania's Forecastle. Note the rope still wound around them.

The Lusitania was carrying small arms ammunition. It could not explode. [3] By international law, the presence of military cargo was irrelevant. The Germans could sink the ship only after guaranteeing the safety of all the passengers.

Recent expeditions to the wreck have shown that her cargo holds are still intact and show no evidence of internal explosion. The question remains, however: if ammunition and alleged "secret" cargo did not cause the violent second explosion, what did?

In 1993, Dr. Robert Ballard, famous explorer who discovered the Titanic, conducted an in-depth exploration of the wreck of the Lusitania. Ballard found that Light had been mistaken in his identification of a gaping hole in the ship's side. To explain the second explosion, Ballard advanced the theory of a coal-dust explosion. He believed that the dust in the coal bunkers would have been thrown into the air by the vibration from the explosion; the resulting cloud would have been ignited by a spark, causing the second explosion. In the years since he first advanced this theory, it has been argued that this is a near-impossibility.

Critics of this theory say that the coal dust would have been too damp to have been stirred into the air by the torpedo impact in explosive concentrations; additionally, the coal bunker where the torpedo struck would have been flooded almost immediately by the influx of seawater which poured through the damaged hull plates.

More recently, marine forensic investigators have become convinced that an explosion in the ship's steam-generating plant is a far more plausible scenario to explain the second explosion. There were very few survivors from the forward two boiler rooms, but they did report that the ship's boilers did not explode; they were also under extreme duress in those moments after the torpedo's impact, however. Leading Fireman Albert Martin later testified that he thought the torpedo actually entered the Boiler Room and exploded between a group of boilers, which was a physical impossibility. It is also known that the forward Boiler Room filled with steam, and that the steam pressure feeding the turbines dropped dramatically following the second explosion. These point toward a failure, of one sort or another, in the ship's steam-generating plant. It is possible that the failure came, not directly from one of the Scotch boilers in boiler room no. 1, but rather in the high-pressure steam lines which transmitted steam to the turbine engines, which engines were located far astern.

In any case, most researchers and historians agree that a steam explosion is far more likely than clandestine high-explosives as the reason for the second explosion. It must be noted, however, that it is quite likely that the original torpedo damage alone, striking the ship on the starboard coal bunker of boiler room no. 1, would have sent the ship to the bottom without the aid of the second explosion. This first blast was able to cause, on its own, off-center flooding of a serious nature. The deficiencies of the ship's original watertight bulkhead design exacerbated the situation, as did the many portholes which had been left open to aid in ventilation.

[edit] Deliberate action by the British admiralty

Conspiracy theorists have long tried to demonstrate that Great Britain, and in particular First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, conspired to have the Lusitania sunk in order to draw the United States into the First World War. However, there is strong evidence against such a theory. For one thing, it was well-known by British, American and German authorities at the time that if the Americans entered the war, they would divert war materials and ammunition - then keeping the British going in their war effort - to raising and equipping their own army for fighting. This would have been detrimental to the Allies, not the Germans. Indeed, two days after the sinking, the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, telegraphed London that it was Britain's "main interest to preserve U.S. as a base of supplies." U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing had also prepared, prior to the disaster, a memorandum clearly outlining why American involvement in the war would be detrimental to the Allies.

[edit] The future

The Irish Government in 1995 declared the wreck a heritage site under the National Monuments Act. This protects the wreck for 100 years. One of the reasons for this is attributed to the presumed presence of art treasures in lead containers located in the hold believed to have been carried by Sir Hugh Lane.

In June 2005, the owner of the wreck of the Lusitania, F Gregg Bemis Jr won his High Court challenge with the Irish State and is now in a position to legally inspect the liner and carry out a $2 million research expedition on the wreck. Mr Bemis wants to send divers to the wreck to prove his theory that the second explosion was caused by munitions being carried on the ship.

A diving team from Cork Sub Aqua Club, under license, made the first known discovery of munitions aboard the wreck in 2006. These include 15,000 rounds of .303 bullets in cases in the bow section of the ship. The find was photographed but left in situ under the terms of the license.

Bemis also hopes to salvage components from the wreck for display in museums. Any fine art recovered, such as the Rubens rumoured to be on board, will remain in the ownership of the Irish Government.

On 28th March 2007, the Irish Times reported that the Irish Government will grant F.Gregg Bemis a licence to carry out research on the vessel.

[edit] Interesting Facts

  • The launch date of the Lusitania is frequently, though incorrectly, cited as June 6, 1907. This has been repeated in numerous books on the subject. However, according to firsthand period accounts and the National Maritime Museum, the correct launch date was Thursday, June 7, 1906.[6]
  • It was first proposed to raise the wreck of the Lusitania in 1920 by cutting the ship into five pieces. The cost of the undertaking would be covered by the recovery of millions of dollars worth of art and treasure. (The Edmonton Journal, July 31, 1920)
  • In July 1920, a life jacket bearing the name 'Lusitania' was found by two railroad workers washed up in the Delaware River in the city of Philadelphia, United States. (The Edmonton Journal, July 16, 1920)
  • Songwriter Jerome Kern was meant to accompany Charles Frohman on the voyage, but missed his passage after being kept up late playing requests at a party. Frohman lost his life.

[edit] See also

[edit] Bibliography

  • Thomas A. Bailey. "The Sinking of the Lusitania," The American Historical Review, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Oct., 1935), pp. 54-73 in JSTOR
  • Thomas A. Bailey; Paul B. Ryan. The Lusitania Disaster: An Episode in Modern Warfare and Diplomacy (1975)
  • Ballard, Robert D., & Dunmore, Spencer. (1995). Exploring the Lusitania. New York: Warner Books.
  • Hoehling, A.A. and Mary Hoehling. (1956). The Last Voyage of the Lusitania. Maryland: Madison Books.
  • Layton, J. Kent (2007). Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography of the Ship of Splendor.
  • Layton, J. Kent (2005). Atlantic Liners: A Trio of Trios. CafePress Publishing.
  • Ljungström, Henrik. Lusitania. The Great Ocean Liners.
  • O'Sullivan, Patrick. (2000). The Lusitania: Unravelling the Mysteries. New York: Sheridan House.
  • Preston, Diana. (2002). Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy. Waterville: Thorndike Press. Preston (2002 p 384) states:
"The British government is still unwilling to disclose all its information about the Lusitania case and the associated machinations of its espionage and counterespionage activities in the United States. Even evidence that apparently was once available has disappeared. For example, the present Lord Mersey has no knowledge of the papers belonging to his forebear which author Colin Simpson states that he examined at the family home in the early 1970s. Nor are they in any national collection. Many of the Cunard Company's Lusitania files disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Some but not all of them have resurfaced and been purchased by the Cunard archives. Official files in Britain, the United States, and Germany give tantalizing leads that then disappear. Blank sheets inserted to preserve pagination sequences suggest that certain documents, like telegrams sent to and from the ship during her final voyage, have been removed. The authenticity of certain "official" documents or alleged statements is open to question."

[edit] Primary Sources

  • Thomas A. Bailey, "German Documents Relating to the 'Lusitania'", The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Sep., 1936), pp. 320-337 in JSTOR

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Holder of the Blue Riband (Westbound)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Holder of the Blue Riband (Eastbound)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
World's Largest Passenger Ship
Succeeded by