Falaba was a passenger ship of Liverpool’s Elder Dempster Line. She left Liverpool for Sierra Leone on 27 March 1915 and sighted the German submarine U-28 off the southern coast of Ireland the following day.
U-28 surfaced, sent two warnings and Falaba’s crew were ordered to abandon ship. As the final lifeboat was being lowered, a torpedo hit. The ship sank in under 10 minutes. Germany claimed that U-28 had allowed 23 minutes for evacuation. Britain said it was only 5 minutes.
104 people died, including Leon Thrasher – the first US citizen to be killed the by actions of a U-boat. Thrasher’s body was only recovered in the aftermath of Lusitania’s sinking six weeks later, and was initially thought to be a Lusitania victim.
Many of Falaba’s crew were from Liverpool and the city was still reeling from the loss when Lusitania was sunk.