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Lusitania memorial service

Posted on Friday 2nd May 2014
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Museum marks loss of liner on Wednesday 7 May 2014

A service marking the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania will take place alongside the ship’s salvaged propeller on Wednesday 7 May 2014.

The Cunard luxury liner was torpedoed with the loss of 1,198 lives in one of the most horrific incidents at sea during the First World War. Only 761 people survived. At the time, Lusitania was the most famous ship in the world.

Each May Merseyside Maritime Museum holds a commemoration of the disaster. Museum staff and families lay floral tributes to remember those men, women and children who perished.

The service usually takes around 20 minutes at the propeller of Lusitania situated on the dockside between Merseyside Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool.

This year’s service will include a welcome by Ian Murphy, historical overview by historian Dave Roberts, a contribution from Roy Baker, Curator of Leece Museum - about the rescue efforts of the PL11 Wanderer, and then the Act of Remembrance led by The Revd David Baverstock.

In March 2015 Merseyside Maritime Museum will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking with a brand new exhibition. Lusitania: life, loss, legacy opens on 27 March 2015 and will tell the story of the city’s most loved ship and the passengers and crew who sailed aboard her on the tragic last voyage.

The exhibition will feature many items from the ship which have never been on display before, as well as stories from the Merseyside families devastated by the loss of loved ones.   

As many as 600 people aboard Lusitania had connections with Liverpool, Wirral and the wider region.

Ian Murphy, Deputy Director, Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: “Our commemoration of the loss of Lusitania becomes ever more poignant as we approach the centenary of her sinking in 2015. In 1915 Lusitania was the world’s most famous ship, and the jewel in Liverpool’s crown. Her sinking sent shock waves around the globe and was said to have influenced America’s entry to the war.  

“Our annual service gives people time to reflect on the human tragedy of her sinking and we want to invite people to come along and pay their respects.”

It was a calm sunny day on 7 May 1915 when the 31,550-ton liner was torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, and sank in just 18 minutes.

Germany had issued a warning that all Allied shipping, including Lusitania, would be valid targets. The action by U-20 submarine sparked revulsion, particularly in Liverpool and New York, where Lusitania had been a regular visitor.

A series of free events to mark the 99th anniversary of the sinking will run from 3-14 May at Merseyside Maritime Museum. This includes a lecture “Lusitania: Liverpool’s liners and the First World War” on Wednesday 14 May  at 1pm. Ellie Moffat, Curator of Maritime Collections will talk about Lusitania and pivotal role Liverpool’s seafarers, liners and merchant ships played during the First World War.

To find our more about the Museum’s Lusitania events go to: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/lusitaniaevents

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic.

We attract more than 2.7m visitors every year. Our venues are the International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum,  Museum of Liverpool, Sudley House, Border Force National Museum, Walker Art Gallery and World Museum.     

Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated at the Albert Dock. It contains a variety of objects associated with the social and commercial history of the port of Liverpool. Highlights include ship models, maritime paintings, colourful posters from the golden age of liners and even some full sized vessels. There is also the major current exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story. This tells the story of Liverpool's links to the ill-fated liner.