Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Sinking Of The Lusitania

The Lusitania

You are a up and coming Blogger who just happened to be on vacation in Ireland when the Lusitania was sunk. Your location and your occupation gives you the perfect opportunity to be the FIRST to present first-hand accounts of what happened to the Lusitania. Due to the nature of blogs you will want to keep your blog short and accurate.

Go through the numerous primary sources below and retell the story of the Lusitania. Include as many significant details as you can. Be sure to answer the basic questions of any story: Who? What? When? Where? Why? 


What actually happened to the Lusitania and her passenger on the afternoon of May 7, 1915? The first reports of the sinking to reach America were confused and sketchy. Americans, particularly those who had friends or relatives on board, were eager for more information on the fate of their loved ones. Below you will find several different accounts of the sinking of the Lusitania.

Newspaper account: New York World on May 8, 1915.
The Cunard Liner Lusitania was torpedoed, supposedly by German submarines shortly after 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, ten miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, near Munster, Ireland. She sank fifteen minutes later. The company states that no warning was given her. The Lusitania carried 2,104 persons when she sailed from New York. The meager, confused reports so far received make it uncertain how many of these have been saved. A steward of the first boat that reached Queenstown with survivors from the liner said he feared that 900 lives had been lost.

Newspaper reports account: Queenstown, Ireland on May 9, 1915:
“The tugboat StormShuttle has returned here, bringing about 150 survivors of the Lusitania, among whom were many women, several of the crew, and one steward. Describing the experience of the Lusitania the steward said:
‘The passengers were at lunch when a submarine came up and fired two torpedoes which hit the Lusitania on the starboard side, one forward and the other in the engine room. They caused several explosions. Captain Turner immediately ordered the boats out. The ship began to tilt badly. Ten boats were put into the water, and between 400 and 500 passengers entered the lifeboats. I fear that few of the officers were saved. They acted bravely. There was only fifteen minutes from the time the ship was struck until she foundered and sank, bow first. It was a dreadful sight.’”

Official ship diary of Captain Schwieger, Commander of the U-boat that sunk the Lusitania:
May 6, 1915
...The voyage to the St. George’s Channel had consumed so much of our fuel oil that it would be impossible for us to return (to German) around the southern end of Ireland if we had now continued to Liverpool. I intended to return as soon as two-fifths of our fuel is used up. I intend to avoid, if at all possible, the trip through the North Channel on account of the type of service which U-20 encounter there on her last trip. Only three torpedoes are still available, of which I wish to save two, if possible, for the return trip.
May 7, 1915
3:10 p.m. Ahead to starboard four funnels and two masts of a steamer with course perpendicular to us came into sight. Ship is made out to be large passenger steamer.

Submerged to a depth of 11 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 3:00 p.m., we ran high speed in order to gain position directly ahead.

Clean bow shot at a distance of 700 meters (G-torpedo, 3 meters depth adjustment); angle 90, estimated speed 22 knots. Torpedo hits starboard side right behind the bridge.

An unusually heavy detonation takes place with a very strong explosion cloud. The explosion of the torpedo must have been followed by a second on board (boiler, coal, or gun powder). The super-structure above the point of impact and bridge are torn apart, fire breaks out, and smoke envelopes the high bridge.

The ship stops immediately and keels over to starboard very quickly, immersing simultaneously at the bow. It appears as if the ship were going to capsize very shortly. Great confusion ensures on board; the lifeboats are released and they are lowered into the water. In doing so, a great panic must have reigned; some boats, full to capacity, are rushed and sink immediately.

3:25 The ship blows off its excess steam; on the bow the name Lusitania becomes visible in golden letters. Ship was running 22 knots. Since it seems as if the steamer will keep above the water only a short time, we dived to a depth of 24 meters and ran out to sea. It would have been impossible for me to fire a second torpedo into this crowd of people struggling to save their lives.

Newspaper reports account: London Times on May 9, 1915

“Seven torpedoes were fired by the attacking German craft, one of them striking the Lusitania midship. This would indicate that at least two submarines were waiting for the ship, since the newest types of undersea boats carry but six torpedo tubes...”

Excerpts from three interviews with survivors of the Lusitania.
Oliver P. Bernard (passenger)
“I think I can say I was one of the few people who really saw a torpedo discharges at the Lusitania. Coming on deck from the dining salon, I was leaning against the starboard rail of the ship when I saw the periscope of a submarine about 200 yards away. Then I noticed a long, white streak of foam. It gave me the impression of frothy, sizzling water. Almost immediately there was a terrific impact, followed by an explosion.”

Dr. Carl E. Foss (passenger)
“I was traveling second class, and on May 7th, I was leaning against the port side of the ship, looking off towards the Irish coast. It was just at 1:30 that I noticed something low in the water about a mile away.”

Ernest Cowper (passenger)
“I was chatting with a friend at the rail about 2:00 when suddenly I caught a glimpse of the conning tower of a submarine about 1000 yards distant. I immediately called my friend’s attention to it. We both saw the track of a torpedo...”


  1. On May 7th, 1915 a passenger ship (Lusitania) was torpedoed by Germans in two submarines. The Germans knew that the passenger ship was holding ammunition of which they did not want to get to their enemies so they wanted to sink their ship to get rid of that ammunition. After firing off several torpedoes, the ship sank about 15 minutes later killing most of the passengers on the ship, but not all of them.
    Kaylynn Carew

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  3. What happened at the Lusitania sinking? Well there was one torpedo fired at the ship at around 1:45 in the afternoon. The ship was attacked by German submarines because the ship was a passenger ship but it was secretly carrying ammunition to the troops. There was 1,198 people died and about 100 of them were children. People were put on life boats but not many of the people made it out of this attack. This attack took place right by Ireland and took place on May 7th 1915. It is unfortunate for out losses

  4. May 7th,1915, 7 torpedoes were fired by the attacking Germans one of them hitting the ship called Lusitania to sink it. 1,198 people were killed but many also made it out alive. The Germans decided by cutting off their enemies resources they could win the war but in the mean time killed many innocent people from other countries.
    Carisa Weyenberg

  5. The U.S cargo ship The Lusitania, was hit by a torpedo by a Germab submarine ship on May 7th, 1915 shortly after 2 p.m. The ship was attacked after Germany received reports that along with its nearly 2000 passengers, the Lusitania was carrying ammunition to the Allies. It is reported that over 1000 passengers of The Lusitania were killed.
    -Emily Hughson

  6. The Lusitania, a U.S. support/passenger ship was traveling toward east Europe. At that time the Germans received an order to fire torpedoes from a nearby U-Boat. The Germans believed the Lusitania was carrying support weapons and supplies for the Allies. After the Lusitania had been attacked by one torpedo, about 1,000 died, and some Americans.
    -Troy Argall

  7. On May 17th, 1915 at around 2 p.m. the passenger ship known as The Lusitania was targeted and hit by German submarine ships torpedoes. The ship was hit four times, fully submerging the passenger ship about ten miles out from Munster, Ireland. Reasoning for the attack is due to The Lusitania not only carrying passengers, but ammunition for the war as well. A few less then two thousand people were killed in the attack.

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  9. On May 7th, 1915, the Lusitania was heading to St. George’s Channel, in order to secretly deliver ammunition to the Allies. Unfortunately, the cargo ship was stopped by a German Submarine and had numerous torpedoes fired through the water to sink the ship at about 2 p.m.15 minutes later the sinking sadly killed 1,198 people including 100 children out of the 2,104 people aboard.
    -Hunter Domnick

  10. May 7th 1915, tragedy occurs. A german torpedo was aimed to fire at a U.S. civilian ship, striking it and sinking the ship within 15 minutes. There was no predictions, nor were there warnings. Many are being reported dead, several being children or infants. Even more are injured.
    Katy Carl

  11. On May 7th 1915 just after two o'clock, near Munster Ireland, two torpedoes hit the starboard side of the Lusitania. The torpedoes were fired without warning by a German submarine. The Lusitania sank in fifteen minutes, killing many.
    Lizzie Galoff

  12. May 7th, 1915, the cruise ship Lusitania was attacked by a German sub at about 3 o'clock. One torpedo was fired near the coast of Ireland and hit the ship on the starboard side. Of the 2,104 passengers on board most are feared dead. Life boats were deployed and many survived on these boats. The Lusitania was just recently discovered to be carrying supplies to the allies and sunk after a massive explosion of gunpowder
    Douglas Machkovech

  13. On May 7th 1915, the Lusitania, a British ocean liner carrying weapons and supplies from America to Great Britain, was shot at and sunk by a German U-Boat. Several torpedoes were shot, but only one managed to hit the Lusitania. Over 1000 are believed to be dead, out of the near 2000 aboard the ship.
    -Jackson Helf

  14. On May 7th, 1915, the Lusitania, a passenger ship that was carrying 2,104 passengers was shot at and sunk by a German U-boat. The ship only took about 15 minutes to sink after it was struck by numerous German torpedoes. It is estimated that a little of 1,000 of the members on board were killed in this attack.

  15. On May 7th, 1915, I was sitting at the pier eating my lunch and watching the grand ship, the Lusitania come in when out of nowhere there are explosions on the sides of it. I think they were those German U-boats. I saw multiple explosions but I can't tell if they were on ship or from multiple torpedoes. Anyway, at least a thousand have died but i saw a few hundred entering life boats.
    -Nathan Tetzlaff

  16. On May 7th, 1915, the Lusitania, a ship which carried about 2,000 passengers was torpedoed by German subs at about 2 o'clock near Ireland. The ship had no warning, therefore many were unprepared and over half the passengers died within the 15 minutes it took the ship to sink.
    Ally Kolasinski

  17. On May 7th,1915, at 2:00 P.M, the Lusitania, a passenger ship carrying 2,104 passengers was shot by one torpedo by a German U-boat. It took 10 min to sink and in that time, woman, children, and the crew were rounded up. At least 1,000 people died aboard the ship carrying equipment for the German enemies. One torpedo was shot which created a larger explosion from the ammunition and gunpowder.

  18. On May 7th 1915, the U.S cargo ship called the Lusitania was targeted and hit by a German torpedo, killing over 1000 passengers, out of the close 2000 that were on the ship. Not only did the ship carry passengers, but also ammunition and supplies traveling from America to Great Britain. The incident occurred right off the coast of Ireland, shortly after 2 p.m .

  19. Around 2 o'clock on May 7th 1915, near Munster Ireland, a German submarine struck a U.S. ship called the Lusitania with two torpedoes that blew up the back end of the ship. In the 15 minutes it took for the ship to sink, over 1,000 people died of the nearly 2,000 that were on the ship. The German fired on the ship because they knew it had the ammunition to give to Great Britain.

  20. On May 7th 1915, a US cargo ship called the Luistania was sunk by a German U-Boat. The ship was fired upon because other than carrying goods, it carried weapons and ammunition that was going to be given to allied forces. Over the 15 minutes it took for the ship to sink, over 1000 of the 2000 people on board died. Only one torpedo hit the ship, but that was enough to sink it.

  21. On May 7,1915 The Luistania a passenger ship carrying a little more than 2000 people was sunk by German U-boats near Ireland around 2 in the afternoon. The Luistania was sunk with being hit with several torpedoes. Over half of the people on the ship died. The Germans attacked the Luistania because they believed that the ship carried war supplies to Great Britian

  22. On May 7th, 1915, at 2:00 PM, the Lusitania, which was a passenger ship that held about 2,000 passengers and equipment for the allied forces,was torpedoed by a german U-Boat. They had mp warning, and were unprepared for the strike. Over 1,100 people were killed.

    - Noah El-Yaagoubi

  23. On May 7th, 1915, at 2:00 PM, the Lusitania, which was a passenger ship that held about 2,000 passengers and equipment for the allied forces, was torpedoed by a german U-Boat. They had no warning, and were unprepared for the strike. Over 1,100 persons died.

    - Noah El-Yaagoubi

    P.S. - Remove my last had a typo

  24. On May 7th, 1915, a large passenger ship, the Lusitania, held somewhere around 2000 passengers. Sources also say that it contained equipment and ammunition for the allied forces. At around 2:00 pm that day, German U-Boats torpedoed down the Lusitania. Over 1,100 casualties reported.

    -Parker DeWitt

  25. Over 2,000 passengers were on board of the Lusitania ship on May 7th, 1915. No one expected anything bad to happen, but around 2:00 p.m. that day, the Germans fired torpedoes at the Lusitania causing the ship to sink and many deaths to occur.