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RMS LUSITANIA

This model cruise ship is hand-crafted from hard wood with planks on frame construction and then painted with colors like the original real boat. Model is fully assembled and ready for display.

Item Code

Specifications

Packing Volume

CS0033P 80L x 9W x 32H (cm) 31.49L x 3.54W x 12.60H (inch) 0.056 m³ = 1.97762 ft³

RMS Lusitania

RMS Lusitania deck

RMS Lusitania bow

RMS Lusitania stern

RMS Lusitania bow deck

 

RMS Lusitania stern

RMS Lusitania stern deck

RMS Lusitania was a Lusitania-Class British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. The great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, and was probably a major factor in the eventual decision of the United States to join the war in 1917. It is often considered by historians to be the second most famous civilian passenger liner disaster after the sinking of Titanic.

 

SUGGEST: Set of 3 RMS Aquitania + RMS Lusitania + RMS Mauretania

 

Set of 3 - MAURETANIA - LUSITANIA - AQUITANIA

Set of 3 - MAURETANIA - LUSITANIA - AQUITANIA

 

RMS LUSITANIA

History in brief

RMS Lusitania was a Lusitania-Class British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. The great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, and was probably a major factor in the eventual decision of the United States to join the war in 1917. It is often considered by historians to be the second most famous civilian passenger liner disaster after the sinking of Titanic.

History in details

RMS Lusitania was a Lusitania-Class British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915. The great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, and was probably a major factor in the eventual decision of the United States to join the war in 1917. It is often considered by historians to be the second most famous civilian passenger liner disaster after the sinking of Titanic.

Overview

Owned by the Cunard Steamship Company and built by John Brown and Company, Lusitania was named for the ancient Roman province of Lusitania, in present day Portugal. Lusitania sailed on her maiden voyage to New York City on 7 September 1907, arriving on 13 September 1907, thus taking back from the Deutschland the Blue Riband record for the westbound crossing.

Lusitania and her sister, Mauretania, were built during the time of a passenger liner race between shipping lines based in Germany and Great Britain, and were the fastest liners of their day. 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 government for a loan of £2.6 million to construct the Lusitania and the Mauritania; this was conceded, on condition that the ships met Admiralty specifications and that Cunard remained a wholly British company. The British Government also agreed to pay Cunard an annual subsidy of £150,000 in order to maintain both ships in a state of war readiness, plus an additional £68,000 in exchange for carrying the Royal Mail.

Design, Construction & Trials

The Lusitania Class ships were designed by Cunard's resident naval architect, Leon Peskett. Peskett built a large model of the proposed ships in 1902 showing a three-funnel design. A fourth funnel was implemented into the design in 1904 because it was needed to vent the exhaust from Parson's new turbines which had been settled on as a powerplant. Peskett also design this class of ship with a very narrow beam as Cunard wanted high speed. In so doing stability was sacrificed and the Lusitania & Mauretania had tendencies to roll through the ocean in high seas. Before installing the turbine powerplant in the ships, Cunard installed a smaller version of turbine in it's soon to be launched Carmania, 1905, so as to get a stat report on the new technology's operation.

Lusitania's keel was laid at John Brown & Clydebank as Yard no. 367 on 16 June 1904. She was launched and christened by Mary, Lady Inverclyde, on Thursday, 7 June 1906. Lord Inverclyde (1861-1905) had died before this momentous occasion.

Much of the trim on Lusitania was designed and constructed by the Bromsgrove Guild.

Starting on 27 July 1907, Lusitania underwent preliminary and formal acceptance trials. During these trials she smashed all speed records ever set in the history of the shipping industry. The shipbuilder's engineers and Cunard officials discovered that high speeds caused violent vibrations in the stern, and this led to the fitting of stronger bracing. After these modifications, the ship was finally delivered to Cunard on 26 August.

Comparison with the Olympic class

The Lusitania and the Mauritania were smaller than the White Star Line's Olympic class vessels (which in any case only entered service five years later). Although significantly faster than the Olympics would be, the insufficient speed of these two vessels meant that Cunard could not guarantee a weekly transatlantic departure timetable. To achieve it, Cunard required a third ship and in response to White Star's announced plan to build the Olympics, Cunard ordered the third ship, the Aquitania. Like the three White Star vessels, the Aquitania was slower than her two sisters, but larger and more luxurious.

The Olympics also differed from the Lusitania and the Mauritania in the way in which they were compartmentalised below the waterline. The Olympics were divided by transverse watertight bulkheads. The Lusitania also had transverse bulkheads, but in addition had longitudinal bulkheads running along the ship on each side, between the boiler and engine rooms and the coal bunkers on the outside of the vessel. The British commission that had investigated the Titanic disaster in 1912 heard testimony on the flooding of coal bunkers lying outside longitudinal bulkheads. Being of considerable length, when flooded these could increase the ship's list and "make the lowering of the boats on the other side impracticable" — and this was precisely what later happened with the Lusitania.

Career

Lusitania departed Liverpool for her maiden voyage on 7 September 1907 under the command of Commodore James Watt of the Cunard Line and arrived in New York City on 13 September. 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. During her eight-year service, she made a total of 202 crossings on the Cunard Line's Liverpool-New York Route.

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

With the introduction of Mauretania in November 1907, Lusitania and Mauretania continued to swap the Blue Riband. Lusitania made her fastest westbound crossing in 1909, averaging 25.85 knots (47.9 km/h). In September of that same year, she lost it permanently to Mauretania 

Hudson Fulton celebration

Lusitania and other ships participated in the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York City from the end of September to early October 1909. This was in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson's trip up the river that bears his name and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton's steamboat, Clermont. The celebration also was a display of the different modes of transportation then in existence, Lusitania representing the newest advancement in steamship technology. A newer mode of travel was the aeroplane. Wilbur Wright had brought a Flyer to Governors Island and proceeded to make demonstration flights before millions of New Yorkers who had never seen an airplane. Some of Wright's trips were directly over Lusitania; a few interesting photographs of Lusitania from that week still exist.

War

Lusitania, like a number of liners of the era, was part of a subsidy scheme meant to convert ships into armed merchant cruisers if requisitioned by the government. This involved structural provisions for mounting deck guns. In 1913, during her annual overhaul, Lusitania was fitted with gun mounts on her port and starboard bow sides, hidden from passengers under large coils of docking rope.

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

Many of the large liners were used for troop transport or as hospital ships. Mauretania became a troop transport while Lusitania continued in her Cunard service as a luxury liner ferrying people between Great Britain and the United States. The newer Aquitania was pressed into service as a hospital ship while White Star's Olympic joined the Mauretania trooping to the Mediterranean. Cunard however was kept on notice from the Admiralty that Lusitania could be taken at any time if hostilities increased and before the year 1915 was out. To reduce operating costs Lusitania's transatlantic crossings were reduced to monthly voyages, and boiler room Number 4 was shut down. Maximum speed was reduced to 21 knots (39 km/h), but even then, Lusitania was the fastest passenger liner on the North Atlantic in commercial service and 10 knots (18.5 km/h) faster than submarines. However, the Lusitania underwent many changes, several of which were a response to the war:

The Lusitania's name was painted out to protect her identity from Germans.

The compass platform was added at the top of the bridge.

The Lusitania's funnels were painted all black instead of red with two or three narrow black bands and black top, to protect her identity from the Germans.

Another compass platform was added between first and second funnels.

A pair of luggage cranes were added on the aft deckhouse.

The last change on the Lusitania, and once again to confuse the Germans about her identity, the Lusitania flew no flags during her last voyage.

On 4 February 1915 Germany declared the seas around the British Isles a war zone: from 18 February 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.

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

On 17 April 1915 Lusitania left Liverpool on her 201st transatlantic voyage, arriving in New York on 24 April. A group of German–Americans, hoping to avoid controversy if Lusitania were attacked by a U-boat, discussed their concerns with a representative of the German embassy. The embassy decided to warn passengers before her next crossing not to sail aboard Lusitania.

The Imperial German embassy placed a warning advertisement in 50 American newspapers, including those in New York.

Last voyage and sinking

Lusitania departed Pier 54 in New York on 1 May 1915. The German Embassy in Washington had issued this warning on 22 April.

NOTICE!

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 Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY,

Washington, D.C. 22 April 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.

Captain William Thomas Turner, known as "Bowler Bill", had returned to his old command of Lusitania. He was commodore of the Cunard Line and a highly experienced master mariner, and had recently relieved Daniel Dow, the ship's regular captain. Dow had been instructed by his chairman, Alfred Booth, to take some leave, following his protestations that the ship should not become an armed merchant cruiser, making it a prime target for German forces. Captain Turner tried to calm the passengers by explaining that the ship's speed made her safe from attack by submarine.

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 blind passengers (evidently stowaways) were found on board and detained below decks.

Passengers

Lusitania carried 1,959 people on her last voyage, with 1,257 passengers and 702 crew aboard. Those aboard included a large number of illustrious and renowned people such as:

Canadian businessman Sir Frederick Orr Lewis, 1st Baronet (survived)

William R. G. Holt, son and heir of Canadian banker Sir Herbert Samuel Holt (survived)

Montreal socialite Frances McIntosh Stephens, wife of politician George Washington Stephens (died)

Mary Crowther Ryerson of Toronto, wife of George Sterling Ryerson, founder of the Canadian Red Cross (died)

Lindon W. Bates, Jr., New York engineer, economist and political figure (died)

British MP David Alfred Thomas (survived)

His daughter Margaret, Lady Mackworth, British suffragist (survived)

Theodate Pope Riddle, American architect and philanthropist (survived)

Edwin W. Friend, professor of philosophy at Harvard University and co-founder of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) (died) (left a wife five months pregnant behind)

Oxford professor and writer Ian Holbourn (survived)

H. Montagu Allan's wife Marguerite (survived) and daughters Anna (died) and Gwendolyn (died)

Actresses Rita Jolivet (survived), Josephine Brandell (survived) and Amelia Herbert (died)

Belgian diplomat Marie Depage (died), wife of surgeon Antoine Depage

New York fashion designer Carrie Kennedy (died) and her sister, Kathryn Hickson (died)

American building contractor and hotel proprietor Albert Bilicke (died)

Renowned chemist Anne Justice Shymer, president of the United States Chemical Company (died)

Playwright Charles Klein (died)

American writer Justus Miles Forman (died)

American theatre impresario Charles Frohman (died)

American philosopher, writer and Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard (died)

His wife Alice Moore Hubbard, author and woman's rights activist (died)

Wine merchant and philanthropist George Kessler (survived)

American pianist Charles Knight (died) and sister, Elaine Knight (died)

Renowned Irish art collector and founder of the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery in Dublin Sir Hugh Lane (died)

American socialite Beatrice Witherbee (survived), wife of Alfred S. Witherbee, president of the Mexican Petroleum Solid Fuel Company

Her son Alfred Scott Witherbee, Jr. (died) and her mother, Mary Cummings Brown (died)

American engineer and entrepreneur Frederick Stark Pearson (died) and his wife Mabel (died)

Genealogist Lothrop Withington (died)

Sportsman, millionaire, member of the Vanderbilt family, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (died) -- last seen fastening a life vest onto a woman holding a baby.

Scenic designer Oliver P. Bernard (survived), whose sketches of the sinking were published in the Illustrated London News

Politician and future United States' ambassador to Spain, Ogden Haggerty Hammond of Louisville, Kentucky (survived) and his first wife, Mary Picton Stevens of Hoboken, New Jersey (died), a descendant of John Stevens and Robert Livingston Stevens (parents of former New Jersey Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick)

Dr. Howard L. Fisher, brother of Walter L. Fisher, former United States Secretary of the Interior (survived)

Herbert S. Stone, New York newspaper editor and publisher, creator of magazines The Chap Book and The House Beautiful, son of Melville Elijah Stone (died)

Rev. Dr. Basil W. Maturin, British theologist, author and rector of St. Clement's Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (died)

Debutant Miss Phyllis Hutchinson, 20-year-old niece of businessman Robert A. Franks of West Orange, New Jersey, financial agent for Andrew Carnegie (died)

Irish composer and conductor Thomas Whitwell Butler, better known by his pen name T. O'Brien Butler (died)

Arthur H. Adams, president of the United States Rubber Company (died)

James A. Dunsmuir, of Toronto, Canadian soldier, younger son of James Dunsmuir (died)

Charles T. Jeffery, automobile manufacturer who became head of the Thomas B. Jeffery Company after his father's death (survived)

Paul Crompton, director of Booth Steamship Company Ltd. (died), and his wife Gladys (died), six children (died), and nanny (died)

Elisabeth Antill Lassetter, wife of Major General Harry B. Lassetter and sister of Major General John M. Antill (survived)

Josephine Eaton Burnside, daughter of Canadian department store founder Timothy Eaton (survived), and her daughter Iris Burnside (died)

Albert L. Hopkins, president of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (died)

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, by means of wireless intercepts, was tracking the movements of U-20, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger and operating along the west coast of Ireland and moving south.

On 5 and 6 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 that they could be launched quickly if necessary. That evening a Seamen's Charities fund concert took place in the first class lounge.

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

U-20 was low on fuel and only had three torpedoes left, and Schwieger had decided to head for home. She was moving at top speed on the surface at 13:00 when Schwieger spotted a vessel on the horizon. He ordered U-20 to dive and to take battle stations. The previous week, U-20 had encountered a small cargo vessel and allowed the crew to escape in the boats before sinking it; Schweiger could have allowed the crew and passengers of the Lusitania to take to the boats, but due to the Q-ship program, he considered the danger of being rammed or fired upon by deck guns too great. The Lusitania's captain had, in fact, been ordered to ram any U-boat that surfaced; a cash bonus had been offered for successful ramming.

Sinking

German drawing of the Lusitania being torpedoed. Incorrectly shows torpedo hit on port side of ship

English drawing of the Lusitania being torpedoed. Incorrectly shows "second torpedo"

The Lusitania is sinking as the Irish fishermen race to the rescue. In fact, the launching of the lifeboats was more chaotic.

1915 painting depicting the sinking of Lusitania by the German submarine U-Boat U-20

The track of Lusitania. View of casualties and survivors in the water and in lifeboats. Painting by William Lionel Wyllie.Lusitania was approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Cape Clear Island when she encountered fog and reduced speed to 18 knots. She was making for the port of Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, 70 kilometres (43.5 miles) from the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 14:10.

One story states that when Kapitänleutnant Schwieger of the U-20 gave the order to fire, his quartermaster, Charles Voegele, would not take part in an attack on women and children, and refused to pass on the order to the torpedo room — a decision for which he was court-martialed and served three years in prison at Kiel. However, the story may be apocryphal; Diana Preston writes in Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy that Voegele was an electrician on board U-20 and not a quartermaster.

The torpedo struck Lusitania under the bridge, sending a plume of debris, steel plating and water upward and knocking Lifeboat #5 off its davits, and was followed by a much larger secondary explosion in the starboard bow. Schwieger's log entries attest that he only fired one torpedo, but some doubt the validity of this claim, contending that the German government subsequently doctored Schwieger's log, but accounts from other U-20 crew members corroborate it.

Lusitania's wireless operator sent out an immediate SOS and Captain Turner gave the order to abandon ship. Water had flooded the ship's starboard longitudinal compartments, causing a 15-degree list to starboard. Captain Turner tried turning the ship toward the Irish coast in the hope of beaching her, but the helm would not respond as the torpedo had knocked out the steam lines to the steering motor. Meanwhile, the ship's propellers continued to drive the ship at 18 knots (33 km/h), forcing more water into her hull.

Within six minutes, Lusitania's forecastle began to go under water. Lusitania's severe starboard list complicated the launch of her lifeboats. 10 minutes after the torpedoing, when she had slowed enough to start putting boats in the water the lifeboats on the starboard side swung out too far to step aboard safely. While it was still possible to board the lifeboats on the port side, lowering them presented a different problem. As was typical for the period, the hull plates of the Lusitania were riveted, and as the lifeboats were lowered they dragged on the rivets, which threatened to seriously damage the boats before they landed in the water.

Many lifeboats overturned while loading or lowering, spilling passengers into the sea; others were overturned by the ship's motion when they hit the water. It has been claimed that some boats, due to the negligence of some officers, crashed down onto the deck, crushing other passengers, and sliding down towards the bridge. This has been refuted in various articles and by passenger and crew testimony. Crewmen would lose their grip on the falls—ropes used to lower the lifeboats—while trying to lower the boats into the ocean, and this caused the passengers from the boat to "spill into the sea like rag dolls." Others would tip on launch as some panicking people jumped into the boat. Lusitania had 48 lifeboats, more than enough for all the crew and passengers, but only six were successfully lowered, all from the starboard side. A few of her collapsible lifeboats washed off her decks as she sank and provided refuge for many of those in the water.

Despite Turner's efforts to beach the liner and reduce her speed, Lusitania no longer answered the helm. There was panic and disorder on the decks. Schwieger had been observing this through U-20's periscope, and by 14:25, he dropped the periscope and headed out to sea.

Captain Turner remained on the bridge until the water rushed upward and destroyed the sliding door, washing him overboard into the sea. He took the ship's logbook and charts with him. He managed to escape the rapidly sinking Lusitania and find a chair floating in the water which he clung to. He was pulled unconscious from the water, and survived despite having spent 3 hours in the water. Lusitania's bow slammed into the bottom about 100 m (300 ft) below at a shallow angle due to her forward momentum as she sank. Along the way, some boilers exploded, including one that caused the third funnel to collapse; the remaining funnels snapped off soon after. Turner's last navigational fix had been only two minutes before the torpedoing, and he was able to remember the ship's speed and bearing at the moment of sinking. This was accurate enough to locate the wreck after the war. The ship travelled about two miles (3 km) from the time of the torpedoing to her final resting place, leaving a trail of debris and people behind. After her bow sank completely, the Lusitania's stern rose out of the water, enough for her propellers to be seen, and went down.

Lusitania sank in 18 minutes, 8 miles (13 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale. 1,198 people died with her, including almost a hundred children. Afterwards, the Cunard line offered local fishermen and sea merchants a cash reward for the bodies floating all throughout the Irish Sea, some floating as far away as the Welsh coast. In all, only 289 bodies were recovered, 65 of which were never identified. The Cunard Steamship Company announced the official death toll of 1,195 on 1 March 1916. The bodies of many of the victims were buried at either Lusitania's destination, Queenstown, or the Church of St. Multose in Kinsale, but the bodies of the remaining 885 victims were never recovered.

 Suggest: Display case to preserve the model from dust

Picture of the ship inside the display case is for illustration purpose.

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