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Lusitania families’ event

8 November 2013 by Ellie

RMS Lusitania at the Liverpool Landing Stage in 1907

MCR/25/117 Image courtesy of NML, image not copyright NML.

At this time of year we pause to remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

With that in mind, Merseyside Maritime Museum is continuing to work towards marking the centenary of the sinking of Liverpool’s most famous ship, ‘RMS Lusitania’, in 2015.

On the 7 May 1915, while en route to Liverpool, ‘Lusitania’ was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20 off the Irish coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. She sank in just 18 minutes, and 1198 men, women and children perished. The sinking sent shockwaves around the world, but her loss was felt particularly keenly in Liverpool – where rioting broke out against German-owned businesses.  A large number of the crew had strong connections to the city and many families were devastated by the event. “Lusi”, as she was affectionately known in the city, was held high regard by local people and had been a familiar site at the Landing Stage since her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York in September 1907.

Each year Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary with a commemoration around our ‘Lusitania’ propeller, on the quayside across from the museum. Many of those who join us have family connections to those who were on board, and this year we met with people after the event to listen to their stories.

Lusitania propeller on the museum quayside

MMM.1989.159

On Friday 15th November we are hosting a follow-up event, and are hoping to see some familiar faces but also make new connections with local people who have family ties to ‘Lusitania’. If you, or someone you know, would like to come along then head for Learning Base 2, on the second floor of the museum, from 2pm.

If you would like more information then please email us at Lusitania@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.

Remembering Lusitania

10 May 2012 by Sam

detail of flowers

Many flowers were left at the Lusitania’s propeller at the service to mark the 97th anniversary of the sinking

On Bank Holiday Monday, Merseyside Maritime Museum held its annual commemoration for the sinking of Cunard liner ‘RMS Lusitania’. Ellie Moffat, Curator of Maritime Collections, explains why this is an important event for the museum:


“On 7th May 1915 ‘Lusitania’ was nearing the Old Head of Kinsale, off the southern coast of Ireland, when she was torpedoed by German u-boat U-20. She sank in only 18 minutes and 1201 lives were lost. It was one of the most horrific incidents at sea during the First World War.

‘Lusitania’ had strong ties to Liverpool. She was registered in Liverpool, her home port, and was owned by Cunard, still based in the city at that time. The ship, referred to affectionately as “Lusie” by local people, was a familiar sight at the landing stage. In 1907 she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage, bound for New York. Over 200,000 people came down to the Mersey to watch her depart. For the next eight years she provided a regular service across the Atlantic, breaking speed records along the way. Read more…

Maritime Tale – Lusitania Survivor

4 May 2012 by stepheng

Painting of Lusitania

A contemporary postcard of Lusitania

This is probably my last Maritime Tales blog as I voluntarily leave the museum service in July 2012 to become a freelance.

 

The Lusitania story is one of my favourites because not only does the disaster seem unbelievable to this day but because this was Liverpool’s favourite liner.

 

At my local church – St James’s in West Derby – you can see a unique glass memorial with an image of Lusitania prominently included to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering in the Great War. Read more…

Bill Please

22 March 2011 by stepheng

Two paper bills

Image courtesy Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

I once forgot to pay my bill when covering a big news story in Derbyshire – quite unintentional, of course.

 

It was at Glossop and the pub landlady came running out calling to me and waving the chit. I put it on my expenses later. In this story all those involved were happy to stay alive, never mind any unpaid bills.

 

The wealthy American businessman was savouring his time on the luxury liner, relaxing and sampling the varied menus Read more…

Lusitania losses

29 November 2010 by stepheng

napkin with image of a ship and text

Image courtesy of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

I find the words on the napkin, produced to commemorate one of the worst maritime disasters of the First World War, very moving.

To many people at the time the loss of the Lusitania came to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering, as she was the city’s favourite passenger liner.

The spectacular coloured glass war memorial at one of my local churches, St James’s in West Derby, uniquely uses an image of the doomed ship to silently express that grief. Read more…

Justicia justice

31 August 2010 by stepheng

At=rchivbe photo of the Lusitania at the Liverpool landing stage

I came across this story while reading about the conflict at sea during the First World War and was filled with gloom.

This liner seemed to have been earmarked for destruction from the start and was sunk even when under the protection of warships. Her brief life had been blighted by the misfortunes of other great ships.

The 32,234-ton Justicia was built for the Dutch Holland America Line at Belfast’s famous Harland & Wolff shipyard and launched just weeks before war broke out. Read more…

Luxury Lusitania

8 March 2010 by stepheng

archive postcard with illustration of a liner at sea

A contemporary promotional Lusitania postcard, circa 1910

It is quite frequent now to see large crowds at Liverpool’s Pier Head when liners and cruise ships come in but at one time it was a very common sight indeed.

I can remember many people shouting and cheering when the Empress liners departed on scheduled Atlantic crossings. It was a memorable spectacle – just like this occasion more than 50 years earlier.

The Lusitania, from her maiden voyage to New York to her sinking by a German U-boat submarine eight years later, was Liverpool’s favourite liner among the many using the port. Read more…

Survival rates show chivalry on the Titanic

2 March 2010 by Sam

old fashioned maid's apron

Titanic survivor’s apron

A fascinating article in the New Scientist, Women and children first? How long have you got? compares the sinking of two famous ships, the Titanic and Lusitania.

The Lusitania was torpedoed and sank within minutes, meaning that only the strongest and fittest had a chance of survival.

The sinking of the Titanic on the other hand took 2 hours and 40 minutes. This made a huge difference in the survivor profiles, as in a less panic-stricken evacuation the women and children were given priority in the lifeboats. Read more…

Beautiful sisters

26 October 2009 by stepheng

Model of a ship with smaller baots around

Model of RMS Mauretania

Throughout our lives chance can play a decisive part – perhaps I am tempting fate but I believe you can change the course of events. I do not subscribe to the theory that events follow a predestined path.

The following story, though, tests my credulity. It really looks as if this was all pre-ordained, not simply a German U-boat captain seeing his chance and ruthlessly taking it.

They were both hugely popular in Liverpool but one of the beautiful sisters was to have a tragic end while the other carried on until the close of her natural life. Read more…

Marconi marvel

12 October 2009 by stepheng

Postcard of a liner at sea

My postcard of the Republic

I sometimes go to postcard fairs and join the throngs of people leafing through piles of illustrated epistles mailed long ago with every sort of message and greeting. Each stall has cards sorted into themes and one of my favourites is ships and shipping. Recently I bought this card showing the Republic. I added it to my collection simply because I liked it, only later discovering the unique role this vessel once played.

One hundred years ago radio technology pioneered by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi and others became reality in saving lives at sea. Read more…

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.