The Lusitania Inquiry


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Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Dear all,

For the benefit of the membership of ET, I wanted to let everyone know that after much hard
work on the part of Rob Ottmers and Eric Sauder, the text for the British Inquiry into the loss of the Lusitania is now available on line, and can be found here:

http://www.titanicinquiry.org

Click on the Lusitania Inquiry link in the upper right-hand corner.

Eric's indefatigable efforts in transcribing the full inquiry, coupled with Rob's work in getting the site up and running have resulted in an excellent research resource to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Lusitania's sinking.

Best Regards,

Ben
 
Feb 7, 2005
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I saw the Lusitania inquiry on TIP last night. Great job, Rob and Eric! Your hard work makes researching these inquiries infinitely easier for everyone. Thanks!

Denise
 
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Glenda Bowling

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Eric--
huge congratulations on seeing this undertaking become reality. I appreciate all the time and effort it must have taken. And I hear you have a book due out soon too! Can't wait to see it. We all need to get together in Corsicana for another Titanic dinner sometime--I'll always remember that great weekend. And it was so good to finally meet you in person.

Glenda
 
Aug 29, 2000
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A very nice presentation indeed, and user -friendly too with the navigation buttons. With 77 pages of survivor testimony and expert witnesses- it is a lot of scanning or retyping. Coupled with the inquiry layout by passenger on The Lusitania Resource site, it will be easy to get information quickly on any topic. How did we live without computers!
http://www.rmslusitania.info/pages/index.html
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Rob and Eric are, officially, legends. I've only just had a chance to really get into it and check out TIP since returning from vacation a few days ago (so much catching up to do). I know this has been an ambition for both of them for some time, and it's great to see it realised.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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it looks great out of curiousity do they plan on doing the American Inquiry for the Lusitania too? or Inquiries into other shipping accidents? specific ones i have in mind are: Olympic/Hawke (Where Can I Find That Anyway? Someone Please Contact me if you Can Help me There), Empress of Ireland, Republic(1909), Britannic, Atlantic (1873). All those would be nice to see to as info on them is hard to come by.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Actually, there was the Limitation of Liability hearing in the United States which, unlike the somewhat anemic testimony at the British Inquiry makes for several hundred pages of great reading. This testimony has not been published and must be purchased directly from the archive. It is far from inexpensive, but a crucial piece of research. There are also thousands of pages of surviving letters and depositions taken by the Mixed Claim Commission (the paper trail left by the published summary from which Senan Molony posted a few pages a while back- the George Vernon case alone generated over 400 pages of paperwork) as well as the summary itself which, unlike the Mersey testimony, has not been widely used over the years and is worth seeking out through a used book dealer. Once you have it, it is simple matter to order the paperwork from the cases which interest you- there is much redundant evidence and pieces of paper which there was no reason to save in the files, but there are also entirely unpublished gems to be found therein. Once again, this is far from inexpensive but ultimately worth it. Then, there is also the published summary of the Canadian Claims which you may wish to find. Mersey is only the small tip of a very large iceberg, to mix shipwreck metaphors.
 

Inger Sheil

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Olympic/Hawke (Where Can I Find That Anyway?
You can find that at the National Archives (Public Records Office) in Kew, just out of London. Ref. ADM 116/1163

Very interesting reading in three boxes of documents (has anyone accessed them recently? I hope stocktakes have restored the missing box).
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Inger

As I don't Live in London or the UK for that matter, what would be the best way for me or anyone else for that matter to access the Olympic/Hawke Inquiry. Thank you for the Info on where it is Stored (I Think Thats What You meant, Correct me if Im Wrong). it is greatly appreciated.
 
May 5, 2005
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I've never heard of an American Inquiry on the Lusitania either. Thinking back and speculating....I wonder if the Yanks were maybe trying to distance themselves from the Great War, and trying to remain neutral. If one remembers a few years before in 1912, (Lord Mersey again) with a different well-known maritime disaster, there was an American inquiry AND a British inquiry. But then, no one ever had to declare war on an iceberg.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Hallo Jesse,

Unfortunately, these documents have not been copied and published in their entirety (or, if they have, it has been by a private researcher). That means you either have to visit the NA (PRO) in person, pay a researcher to do it for you (or for their copying department to do it), or hope that another researcher who has been there is kind enough to share the data. I have copies of segments, but not the entire three boxes worth! Others, such as Mark Chirnside, have also delved into them.

That's why research with original documents can be such an expensive, time consuming project...
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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Hi Steven,
Well the thing is that American one is for the Limit of Liability case. So the courts had to determine if Cunard was liable for the suits brought by the claimants and if so, how much.
Inger is right, it can get expensive, but if you need them for your research, it's unavoidable paying the fees.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I wonder if the Yanks were maybe trying to distance themselves from the Great War, and trying to remain neutral.<<

I don't know if it was any of those things. Keep in mind that a U.S. Senate investigation into any sort of shipping casualty is, in and of itself, {extremely} unusual. In point of fact, befor Titanic, it had never happened. Not even once, and the Senate hasn't investigated any since. Bluntly, that's not it's function and claiming legal jurisdiction was...in my opinion...quite a remarkable exercise in legalistic pretzel logic.

It helps to know that in Titanic's case, Senator Smith had a barely hidden agenda of his own in going after the Morgan trusts and the force of personality to make it happen. I think it's also worth pointing out that there are some other essential differences to point out, such as the Lusitania being a British flagged and British owned vessel (Titanic was owned by American interests) operating in British home waters and ultimately a casualty of war. The sort of international backlash which came with that was best handled or mishandled by the diplomats settling any disputes/claims for financial redress or compensation was best handled by the civil courts.

There was no need or place for the U.S. Senate to get involved.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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Jesse
The best thing to do is to contact the National Archives in the UK and they will probably recommend a researcher who will copy the info for a fee. The National Archives in the US will copy it for you, but for .50 a page
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Thanks For The Advice Michael
happy.gif
 
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