The “Lusitania” left New York on Saturday morning, May 1, with approximately 1,906 souls on board. Prior to the news of the terrible disaster considerable anxiety was caused as she was overdue and because of the face that German submarines had been particularly active off the Irish coast. When nearing Queenstown Harbour, just off the Old Head of Kinsale, the “Lusitania” was struck by a torpedo fired from a German submarine, and she sank in about 20 minutes. Of the 1,906 persons aboard 1,134 men, women, and children were drowned.
The first intimation of the German designs on the Lusitania” was contained in the following notices from the German Embassy at Washington which appeared in many American newspapers on the morning of May 1, the date of the vessel’s departure from New York; -
“Travelers intending to embark for an 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 the formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or any of her allies are liable to the destruction in those waters; and that travelers sailing in the war zone in ships of Great Britain or her allies do at their own risk. – Imperial Germany Embassy, Washington, April 22.”
The “Lusitania’s” Last Voyage
The Lusitania set out on her last ill-fated journey from New York to Liverpool on Saturday morning, May 1, with 1,906 souls aboard. The first intimation of danger was conveyed to the passengers on Friday morning, about one o’clock, when the vessel was some distance off the Irish coast. The ship suddenly adopted a zig-zag course, and passengers aboard her stated that they sighted a submarine on the port side. After a time this submarine disappeared altogether and an even course was resumed.
An hour later- at two o’clock- the Lusitania was sailing at a speed of eighteen knots, and was eight miles south-south-west of the Old Head of Kinsale. Here she received the first torpedo from a German submarine away to star-board.
Immediately the ship heeled over and within 20 minutes the ship sank, carrying with her 1,134 persons. There was no warning of any kind given before the torpedo was discharged, and the submarine soon disappeared after she had finished her deadly work.
After the vessel had been struck she continued for about 10 minutes to make way, leaving the passengers and crew who were already in the water astern. The torpedoes, it is thought, entered the forward stokehold, and the engines were paralyzed by the breaking of the main steam pipe.