Before the Titanic, the largest passenger ship ever, built by man, was named in honor of Cunard and its future liners of the 20th century. Her name was the Royal Mail Ship Lusitania. Launched in 1906, she and her sister, the Mauretania, were built as a duo of ocean liners carrying passengers across the Atlantic from Britain to America. Since then, the Lusitania had broken a record for her fast speed during her crossings, and received a blue riband as the fastest ship in the world.
Until 1911, White Star Line's Olympic began service as the largest luxury liner to carry passengers. A year later, her sister, Titanic began her voyage, but ended too soon by her tragic loss on the night of April 15, when she struck an iceberg and sank with over 1,500 souls in a freezing night.
As the Lusitania and the other two liners carried on with their careers at sea, mankind suddenly broke out when World War I was fought against the Germans. Her captain, William Turner, have received this notice entering the zone.
At the beginning of WWI, the Olympic and the Mauretania served as troop ships that carried American and British solders for the battle against the Germans from taking over the United Kingdom. However, the Germans surrounded the Atlantic Ocean with their deadly enemies to strike any ship in their war zone.
German subs, known as U-boats, were on duty to strike any ship that carry munitions to be transferred for the battle. Until May 7, 1915, one sub, the U-20, targeted the RMS Lusitania when she was close to arriving 12 miles off the coast of Ireland. When suddenly, it launched its torpedo, and immediately struck the ocean liner down. Fires and explosions were interrupted by many, and people had no time but to escape the doomed liner. She began to list shortly by the bow as six of her lifeboats were lowered. Her fate was very critical, and she could not hold on much longer after she was shot by an enemy. Many Americans and British struggled to escape, some were able to swim to safety, and some barely survived the sinking. After 18 minutes, the Lusitania plunged all the way down, and disappeared at a frightening sight.
Stranded for two hours, passengers were horrified to swim in the freezing Atlantic. About 1,198 people had lost a chance of survival, but plenty were able to chance it with the remaining boats in the ocean.
Today is the centennial day that we honor the innocent lives that were murdered at sea during WWI, and the Lusitania was one of the victims of war. She was also regarded as the largest ocean liner built in the early 20th century, and is remembered by those that had their families lost on board.
R.I.P. RMS Lusitania
September 7, 1907- May 7, 1915
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