Lusitania Memorials


Senan Molony

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The 90th anniversary of the tragedy will be also be commemorated tomorrow when the Courtmacsherry lifeboat (which went out in 1915) sails from Barry's Point just before noon. It will make the 18km voyage south to the wrecksite.

On board will be representatives of the clergy, the Bandon War Memorial committee and various dignitaries.

The lifeboat will anchor over the wreck site for a wreath-laying ceremony at the exact time the torpedo struck in memory of those who perished.

More ceremonies involving the FCA, coastguard and RNLI, will follow at the memorial later. A 91-year-old survivor from Wales will be present.


Martin, thank you very much for your kind words about "Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy." I tried to make it as different as possible from others already out there, with nothing about the "deadly rendezvous," as it were.

As they said on another thread, is 100% Frohman-free, low in Vanderbilt (using only legend-removed ingredient), contains no saccharine and I see from the index was made without Hubbard.

There may be nut traces.

Regards,

Senan
 

Mike Poirier

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Hello Peter,
Can't wait to see the photos. Make sure that you are in at least one of them. As I mentioned before, we are such slackers here in the US as there is nothing major planned. The only thing I can think of is the 3 part lecture being given in East Aurora, New York.

Senan, I won't get that image out of my head all day!
 

Jim Kalafus

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Peter: I thought you said that I was the smart one, Mike the funny one, and you the good looking one in our research group.....surprised to read that you are camera shy. Or was the order reversed, I forget....
 
May 3, 2002
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On this day in 1915...

Peter thanks for for your offer to record the event. on the other side of the world I feel quite removed from the scene. Do you know of any photos taken of the coast from the spot where she went down as these would help my artwork. I read from Senan that the Courtmacsherry lifeboat will go out. I hope they get "Lusitania weather" for it.

Senan thanks for your commemts re my post, I hope all is well in that maternity hospital you spoke of otherwise i hope you make it to the Old Head or the lifeboat.

siochain go an uile

Martin
 

Noel F. Jones

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"The specific allegation is untrue - the Lusitania memorial has never been a focus, per se, for such activity."

I'm afraid we are in dispute. I distinctly remember reading the contemporaneous press reports accompanied by photographs showing the memorial literally hedged around with placards.

I would surmise that according to the limited reasonings of the IRA at the time, the structure and its message would have been perceived as "English" and therefore fair game.

The press reports and the photography no doubt remain in the press archives to be referenced. As this costs money I'll not bother for the present.

I suggest you make discreet enquiries when next in Cobh - but you may find the locals somewhat coy on the subject.

Noel
 

Senan Molony

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Jeez, Noel, give it a rest.

You have a bee in your bonnet. Wanna know something? I went on hunger strike marches in 1981. Do you consider me an IRA man? There were hundreds of thousands inflamed by Margaret Thatcher's attitudes, as you experienced in Britain in 1984 and at other periods during her illustrious reign.

There were demonstrations everywhere. The Lusy memorial may have been used because it was central, and they could stand up on it.

It is not a case of the monument being perceived as English. That is so jingoistic as to be ridiculous.

An Phoblacht, the mouthpiece of the IRA, is reviewing my Lusitania book this month. It will be interesting to see what they say about it.
Maybe they will not be as narrow-minded as you suppose.

Martin Ferris, named by our Minister for Justice as a member of the Army Council of the IRA, had a grand-uncle who died on the Lusitania.

I sit down and have lunch occasionally with Martin, who was jailed for donkey's years for spiriting huge shipments of arms across the Atlantic for the IRA in the Marita Ann.

He is a very nice bloke, as many of these individuals are. Martin McGuinness is a lovely man, as it happens. They just believe, or did believe, in killing people for political ends.

So Noel, I regret you introduced this note into the discussion. You seem to feel the need to prove you are right. I have no doubt that they stood on the steps and waved their silly placards - but I have been living in this country for over 40 years and I say for the last time that the Lusitania memorial was not "desecrated" for "months and years" by the IRA.

So your specific allegation remains untrue, and I wish you had the good grace to withdraw it.

Regards OM,

Senan
 

Senan Molony

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I would surmise that according to the limited reasonings of the IRA at the time, the structure and its message would have been perceived as "English" and therefore fair game.
I too, remember seeing media coverage of an event in the 1980s. Arthur Scargill addressed NUM members in Trafalgar Square by megaphone during the Miners' Strike.

There were miners sitting astride the great lions at the base, defacing this historic monument with their "Coal Not Dole" placards. I'm not sure if it went on for months or years, but I very much doubt it.

Why did the NUM single out this centrepiece of a central square in central London? Was it because it was, ahem, central?

Why no, it must have been because of their "limited understanding" of what Lord Nelson signified. It cannot have been Nelson's Englishness, as they were English also.

He must obviously have represented the Establishment. I conclude therefore that the Miners were anti-Establishment, anti-Monarchist, traitorously pro-French, anarchist, nihilist and all the rest of it. So when the police cracked miners' heads, they were acting in defence of our most basic freedoms.
They were standing up for Lord Nelson.

Am I right? Or do I have the "limited understanding" that I ascribe to agitators in another country?

I can quite see why a photo of hunger strike placards on a Lusitania memorial would be printed in a British newspaper at the time. It is a lovely piece of supremely subtle spin. The type of thing that would stick in the mind. It is a true image, but everything it conveys is untrue.

Much better than a picture of demonstrators outside an embassy or circling the street. As I say, subtle.

The careful truth that tells the blacker lie.

Meanwhile, to address points raised in your quote, above:

Was the structure perceived as "English"?

It was designed by an Irish sculptor who also did a famous realisation of Irish rebel Robert Emmet of 1803, and, separately, American patriots.
For this latter reason Jerome Connor was commissioned by an American fundraising committee to carry out the work. The money had to be supplemented by the townspeople of Cobh and the Irish Arts Council to enable it to be completed. Nobody else paid for it.

Could the monument's message be perceived as English?

The monument shows the Angel of Peace surmounting a representation of two anguished fishermen. The main message says "Siochain in Ainm De" - Peace in God's Name. There is an inscription in Latin under the fishermen saying "Laborare Est Orare," to work is to pray, reflecting their practical efforts at assistance.
A further inscription is seen above the fishermen's heads in the photo posted above. It is in memory of ALL who died on the Lusitania, "and in the cause of universal and lasting peace."

On this 90th Anniversary, putting all politics and sectional viewpoints aside, it remains the noblest of sentiments.
 

Inger Sheil

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I went on hunger strike marches in 1981.
A belated round of applause, Senan - somewhere around 24 years too late, but heartfelt nonetheless.

Who knows - if I'd been a wee bit older in 1981, or on the other side of the Atlantic, I might have been displaying placards in the middle of Cobh at the Memorial, or in Trafalgar Square against the Nelson column. Doesn't mean I bear any personal grudge against either Nelson or theLusitania victims, but that these are community focal points (as monuments in D.C. have been the focal point for various demonstrations in the US without any malice being felt against Lincoln et al).

Perhaps clambering up on the base of the Nelson memorial during the 2003 World Cup, with hundreds of other jubilant Brits, also qualifies as a 'desecration' of the monument to a man I deeply admire.
 

Inger Sheil

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Owen, I will be attending the ceremony at the Old Head tomorrow and I will post photos when I get an opportunity during the next week or so.
Looking forward to seeing the photos, Peter. I hope you have a great day for it...not unlike the day she went down.
 

Mike Poirier

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Hello Inger-
Nice to see you in 'Lusitania Land'. I didn't realize you were interested? Is it more the ship or the people. The picture of the top of the memorial is great- I have never seen that before. Thank you very much for sharing that and the pictures of the stones for Alfred Witherbee, Jr and George Butler Vernon. Believe it or not, had George and Alfred survived and Inez not died shortly afterwards- they all would have been related when Alfred's mother Trixie married Inez's brother! Ironic!
Mike
 

Jim Kalafus

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Odd too, how Alfred ended up buried at the foot of the grave holding George's body and Inez's cremains....forming a family plot, so to speak,
before they were family

For those reading along at home who might not know the story, Inez Vernon was the older sister of Rita Jolivet and a classical violinist of some repute-she had performed at the Met in NYC, did recitals in Paris and Vienna, and became friends with Nicholas II of Russia's younger brother Michael after she appeared in St. Petersburg. Her husband George, whom she had met in 1902 when she was about 19, was a tenor turned
arms merchant aboard the Lusitania en route to Russia to complete an arms transaction involving the sale of 3,000,000 (I believe)rifles, engineered by himself, Inez and Michael. He died in the disaster, and Inez returned to NYC from London where she had been staying. She shot herself to death in her Greenwich Village apartment on July 22, 1915, and the position of her body led some members of her family to suspect homicide rather than suicide for she was kneeling beside her bed in a prayer position holding her face in her hands. She was also kneeling atop the gun. She had recieved a "bad news" telegram from someone named Adams on the afternoon of her death. Homicide, although possible, is improbable. In early 1917, just before the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, the bulk of the money owed for the 1915 arms deal was paid into Inez's estate. It seems that a large chunk of the financing for Rita Jolivet's Lusitania movie Lest We Forget may have come from the Romanov funds- the story of which will be in the next part of our article on ET.
 

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