About this object

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.

Object specifics

  • Title
  • Accession no.
  • Type
  • Artist/Maker
    Gerald Maurice Burn
  • Place made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date made
  • Materials
    Oil on canvas
  • Location
    Merseyside Maritime Museum, First Floor, Lusitania: Life, Loss, Legacy
  • Measurements
    2743 x 1536 mm
  • Related people
    Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd (Shipbuilder) ; Gerald Maurice Burn (Artist, artist/maker) ; Elder Dempster and Co (Shipowner)
  • Collection
    From the Merseyside Maritime Museum collections
Object view = Social History
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