Remembering the RMS Lusitania

Postcard_Lusitania

Yesterday the 7th May was the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of iconic ocean liner the RMS Lusitania. On her 202nd Atlantic crossing with 1,266 passengers and a crew of 696 (Total:1962) from New York bound for Liverpool. She was torpedoed by the German U-boat, U-20 approximately 11 miles (18 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse (near Cork, Ireland) in 91 m (300 ft) of water at 14:10 on the 7th May 1915. A total of 1,198 people lost their lives that day.

I was very lucky to be part of a team that carried out a ROV survey and wreck investigation with Gregg Bemis the owner of the wreck. The project was also recorded by the Discovery Channel and was a one hour episode on the show “Treasure Quest”.

It was a very interesting series of ROV dives on this majestic lady. The wreck is well broken up form periods of constant depth charge practice over the decades. I saw un-exploded hedgehog depth charges on the wreck. It is also covered in fishing net and modern net as well.

I was able to carry out some science experiments on the site and I wrote a site survey report. It was a great experience being able to see the Lusitania. If you want to see more then watch the Treasure Quest episode, “Lusitania Revealed”.

If you ever visit the lovely coastal port of Cobh near Cork you can see a memorial to the sinking and nearby a memorial to those perished on that fateful day in the local graveyard.

“The sea is the largest cemetery, and its slumbers sleep without a monument. All other graveyards show symbols of distinction between great and small, rich and poor: but in the ocean cemetery, the king, the clown, the prince and the peasant are alike, undistinguishable.” George Bruce. 1884, St Andrews.

Das Boot- Epic German WWII U-boat movie

Dass Boot

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Truly one of the world top 100 films. Das Boot is a gripping classic WWII fictional story. It is based on an autobiographical novel by German World War II photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, and tells the story of the German submarine Unterseeboot U-96 a Type VIIC U-boat.

Commissioned on 14 September 1940, U-96 was stationed in Saint Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast as part of the 7th U-boat Flotilla and member of eleven wolfpacks. U-96 had a colourfull career, conducted 11 patrols, sinking 27 ships totalling 180,206 gross register tons (GRT) and damaging four others totalling 33,043 GRT. On 30 March 1945, U-96 was sunk by an American air raid whist in the submarine pens in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. During her entire career, she suffered no casualties to her crew.

The movie, made in 1981, documents the lives of the fearless Kapitänleutnant (Captain) and his inexperienced crew as U-96 patrols the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea in search of Allied vessels. At times the submarine and her crew are both the hunter and the prey. It is well filmed and portrays the cramp and grimy conditions and everyday life in a WWII German U-boat. With an iconic theme track, you like a good war yarn and interested in U-boats….. this movie is a must watch. It is in my top 10.

I was lucky as a deep-water marine archaeologist to have investigated nine German U-boat wrecks in the Western Approaches to the English Channel some years back. Find out more about my life and career at www.rovarch.com