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Lusitania memorial service

Posted on Friday 1st May 2015
Lusitania propeller

Lusitania propeller (c) National Museums Liverpool

100 year commemoration of loss of liner on Thursday 7 May 2015

A special service marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania will take place at Liverpool Parish Church, Our Lady and St Nicholas near Pier Head, at 12.30pm – 1.30pm on Thursday 7 May 2015.

The Cunard luxury liner was torpedoed with the loss of 1,191 lives in one of the most horrific incidents at sea during the First World War. Only 771 people survived. At the time, Lusitania was the most famous ship in the world.

Following the service, a walk of remembrance will take place from the church to Lusitania’s salvaged propeller, which is located on the quayside between Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Museum of Liverpool. There will be an act of commemoration for those who lost their lives, with a minute’s silence to be held at 2.10pm, the time of the sinking.

The service will include the narrative of the events of 100 years ago, including first hand accounts read by Liverpool actors Joe McGann and Roy Carruthers. It will be led by The Rector of Liverpool, Reverend Dr Crispin Pailing, assisted by The Reverend David Baverstock.

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.

This year, Cunard has also commissioned a memorial plaque for Lusitania which will be dedicated during the service and will remain at the Parish Church, alongside Cunard’s war memorials.

In March 2015, Merseyside Maritime Museum opened a brand new exhibition. Lusitania: life, loss, legacy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking. It tells the story of the city’s most loved ships and the passengers and crew who sailed aboard her on the tragic last voyage.

The exhibition features 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 is particularly poignant this year, the centenary of the tragic sinking. 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. 

“We have been working closely with many of the families affected by the loss of the Lusitania this year particularly. 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.”

Rector of Liverpool, Reverend Dr Crispin Pailing said:

“The sinking of the Lusitania was a national disaster, with so many lives lost. It was also a great tragedy for Liverpool. A significant number of the crew and passengers had Liverpool connections; there is hardly a street in the Vauxhall area that wasn’t affected. We want to pay tribute and support the community”. 

In a special tribute at Liverpool Parish Church, Our Lady and St Nicholas, a painting by Liverpool artist Anthony Brown whose great grandfather was on Lusitania’s final voyage, will be on display for the first time from 7 – 14 May. Alongside it, there will be a signature canvas so that members of the public can create a ‘living’ work of art. 

It was a calm sunny day on 7 May 1915 when the 31,550-ton linerwas 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 100th anniversary of the sinking will run alongside the
exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum. This includes a talk on Sunday 10 May at 2pm with Ellie Moffat, Curator of Maritime Community History, who will give an insight in to working on the exhibition  ‘Lusitania: life, loss, legacy’.

For more information about the Lusitania: life, loss, legacyexhibition visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/lusitania

Notes to editors

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 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. 

Lusitania: online resource and appeal for information

National Museums Liverpool is interested in any new information and images for its People of Lusitania resource, which is available online and in the Lusitania: life, loss legacy exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum. If you have anything to add to this resource then please email our curator: lusitania@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk