HS-102 Readings

Lusitania
(newspaper report)

     LONDON, Saturday, May 8. - The Cunard Liner Lusitania, which  sailed
out of New York last Saturday with 1,918 souls
aboard, lies at the bottom of the ocean off the Irish coast.

      She was sunk by a German submarine, which sent two torpedoes
crashing into her side, while the passengers, seemingly confident that the
great swift vessel could elude the German underwater craft, were having
a luncheon.

      How many of the Lusitania's Passengers and crew were rescued cannot
be told at the present. Official statements from the British Admiralty up
to midnight accounted for not more than 500 or 600, and unofficial
reports tell of several hundreds landed at Queenstown, Kinsale and other
points.

      Up to midnight 520 passengers from the Lusitania had been landed at
Queenstown from boats. Ten or eleven boatloads have come ashore and
many more are expected.

      A press dispatch says seven torpedoes were discharged from the
German craft and one of them struck the Lusitania amidships.

      Probably at least 1,000 persons, including many Americans have lost
their lives.

      The stricken vessel went down in less than a half an hour according to
all reports. The most definite statement puts fifteen minutes as the time
passed between the fatal blow and the disappearance of the Lusitania
beneath the waves.

      There were 1,253 passengers from New York on board the steamship,
including 200 who were transferred to her from the steamer Cameronia.
The crew numbered 665. No names of the rescued are yet available.

              THE STORY OF THE ATTACK

      The tug, Stormcock, has returned to Queenstown, bringing about 150
survivors of the Lusitania, principally passengers. Among them were many
women, several of the crew and one steward. Describing the experience of
the Lusitania, the steward said:
     " The passengers were at lunch when a submarine came up and fired
two torpedoes, which struck the Lusitania on the starboard side, one
forward and another in the engine room. They caused terrific explosions.

     "Captain Turner immediately ordered the boats out. The ship began to
list badly immediately.

     "Ten boats were put into the water, and between 400 and   500
passengers entered them. The boat in which I was, approached the land
with three other boats, and we were picked up shortly after 4 o'clock by
the Storm Cock.
 
     " I fear that few of the officials were saved. They acted bravely.

     " There was only fifteen minutes from the time the ship was struck
until she foundered, going down bow foremost. It was a dreadful sight."
 
     At the time this dispatch was sent from Queenstown, two other
vessels were approaching the port with survivors.

     The Cunard line received a message saying that a motorboat, towing
two boats containing fifty passengers, and two tugs with passengers, was
passing Kinsale. A majority of the rescue boats are proceeding to
Queenstown.

     An Admiralty report states that between  500 and 600 survivors from
the Lusitania have now been landed, many of them being hospital cases.
Several of them have died. Some also have been landed at Kinsale, but the
number has not yet been received.

                    HIT 10 MILES OFF KINSALE HEAD

      This greatest sea tragedy of the war, because of the terrible loss of
lives of non-combatants and citizens of neutral nations, took place ten
miles off the Old Head of Kinsale about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

      A dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph from Liverpool quotes the Cunard
Company as stating that " the Lusitania was sunk without warning."
 
      According to a Queenstown dispatch the Lusitania was seen from the
signal station at Kinsale to be in difficulties at 2:12 P.M., and at 2:33 she
had completely disappeared.

     This indicated, the dispatch added, that the liner was afloat twenty-
one minutes after what evidently was the beginning of her trouble.

      Official announcement was also made here last night  by the Cunard
Line that the Lusitania remained afloat at least twenty minutes after
being torpedoed, and that " twenty boats were on the spot at the time."
Sixteen more boats, officials of the line said, had been dispatched to the
scene for rescue work.

       As soon as the Lusitania's wireless call for assistance was received
at Queenstown at 2:15 o'clock, Admiral Coke, in command of the naval
station, dispatched to the scene all assistance available.
      The tugs Warrior, Stormcock, and Julia, together with five trawlers
and the local life boat in tow of a tug, were hurried out to sea. It was
thought it would take most of them about two hours to reach the spot
where the Lusitania was reported to be sinking.

       One dispatch received here said the liner was eight miles off the
Irish coast when she finally went down.

                  LONDON TORN WITH ANXIETY

        All the afternoon, following the first startling message from Ireland
and the fragmentary bulletins, indicating a possibility of heavy loss of
life, London waited with intense anxiety for further news.

        The anxiety grew steadily through the evening as hour after hour
passed without any definite statement from an authoritative source as to
the extent of the disaster.

        The Cunard offices, which will remain open throughout the night,
were besieged by a great crowd, largely composed of women, many of
them weeping bitterly as the hours passed and no definite news came of
those aboard the Lusitania.

        Accommodation was provided inside the offices for those  who had
relative or friends on the steamer, while hundreds waited outside, eagerly
reading the scanty bulletins which told of rescue boats arriving at Kinsale
and Queenstown, but gave no names of the saved, and consequently did not
allay the anxiety.

                  FLICKERING GLEAM OF HOPE

         There was a gleam of hope in the general gloom soon after 8 o'clock,
when this announcement was made unofficially:

         The Cunard company has definitely ascertained that the lives of the
passengers and the crew of the Lusitania have been saved.
 
         This was speedily proved untrue, however, but more optimistic
reports still refused to credit the early reports of the swift sinking of the
big liner. If it was proved true that her watertight bulkheads would tend
to keep her afloat, and if she floated a reasonable length of the time
before going down, it was possible that rescuing ships got to her side in
time to save all on board.

        Owing to the fact that all the news of the Lusitania came through the
Admiralty, and that only fragments filtered through at intervals, the
crowds got increasingly more impatient, though the Cunard officials
posted quickly all bulletins received.

        Late in the evening the Admiralty felt compelled to give out notice
that it was not holding  back any known facts, but did not feel justified in
giving out rumors.

 

 
                  AMERICANS BESIEGE EMBASSY

          The American Embassy and Consulate and the American newspaper
offices were flooded with telephonic inquiries from Americans as to the
fate of the passengers on the Lusitania, but there was no definite news
there until after midnight, and the only hope that could be held out was
that some boats had landed survivors and others had been making for the
shore. The Embassy decided to remain open all night, so that any news that
was received could be made public.

         Up to 1 o"clock no news tending to allay the public anxiety had been
received in the city. Then, dispatches issued by the Admiralty, indicated
that among the survivors landed at Queenstown were some injured,
presumably by the explosion.

         A later dispatch from the same source increased the apprehensions
in this direction. Those wounded are being sent to the naval and military
hospitals.

         A press dispatch from Queenstown reported that 400 passengers and
crew had been landed at Kinsale. This stated that none of the first-class
passengers had been saved, but this is proved not true by private
dispatches.

         An Admiralty statement states, however, that the survivors from
the Lusitania landed at Kinsale numbered about eleven.

         A private telegram from Clonakiety to Dublin says that several
hundred passengers had landed from the Lusitania.

                   WARNED OF MINES BEFORE

         In spite of the warnings that had been received from time to time
that the Germans would make an attempt to blow up the Lusitania, Captain
William T. Turner expressed no fear for the safety of his ship when he
sailed from New York last Saturday.

         "I wonder what the Germans will do next?" was his only comment
when he read  the advertisement in the New York Times sent out by the
German Embassy warning Americans that they sailed
at "their own risk" on British ships which were liable to destruction in the
war zone.

         When Captain Turner was questioned by a Times reporter regarding
the ship being met off the Irish coast by British torpedo destroyers, he
replied:
         " The Admiralty never trouble to send out to meet the Lusitania. They
only look after the ships that are bringing the big guns over, like the
Orduna and the Transylvania, last voyage. On the eastward trip I never saw
a warship until we reached Liverpool. The ship is steaming under three
sections of boilers and we will average about twenty-two knots if the
weather is fine, which ought to bring her into Liverpool about Friday
evening.

        One of the Cunard officers now in the port, who was on the Lusitania
on her last voyage, yesterday confirmed Captain Turner's statement that
the liner had not sighted a single warship before arriving at Liverpool.