The Captain's gold watch

Gold watch and key from the Lusitania

This gold watch and key belonged to Captain William Turner of the Lusitania. Captain Turner remained on the liner as it began to sink but was swept off the bridge. Miraculously, the 58-year-old Liverpudlian survived by clinging to a floating chair. When he was rescued, after three hours in the water, he was unconscious.

The watch is thought to have been purchased by Captain Turner in Liverpool after a voyage. The box carries the name Penlington and Batty of St George's Crescent, Lord Street, Liverpool.

Captain Turner kept the watch carefully in its leather pouch inside its original box. The watch is not engraved with an inscription but has a pawnbroker's mark indicating it was used as security for a loan at some stage.

The watch has been donated to the museum by Sally Wells (née Turner) a descendant of Turner. It went on display for the first time in 2010 to mark the 95th anniversary of the sinking.

Captain Turner

The British Government tried to blame Captain Turner for the loss of the Lusitania. However, the subsequent public inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing. Germany had warned that British shipping would be targeted. Captain Turner never forgave the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill for trying to turn him into a scapegoat.

The horror of the Lusitania sinking haunted Captain Turner for the rest of his life. He was often depressed and thought that people avoided him because he didn't go down with his ship.

History repeated itself when Captain Turner, in command the Ivernia, was torpedoed and sunk on New Year's Day 1917. Once again he survived and was awarded the OBE in 1918 for his war service before retiring the following year.

Captain Turner and his wife Mabel lived in Devon for some years but later returned to Liverpool. He died in their home in Crosby, on 23 June 1933.