Treasure Quest Lusitania Revealed


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Alvin Dusaran

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Does anybody already watched the discovery channel episode of treasure quest featuring the lusitania? I didn't found any thread about it in this section. I just watched it recently and found it good but still need to have more in-depth study, just like what study they gave to the titanic and britannic

the documentary includes dives on the ship, solving mysteries of second explosion, myth and probable cover up of british admiralty, factor affecting its deterioration and its declaration as protected area(although the ship is protected area the wreck is still a target for fishermen. Several fishing net was found that just recently installed on the wreck).


it also includes why the lusitania funnel was painted black as well as her name, does the british admiralty is pushing her as a target and unrecognizable as passenger ship so they can brought US in the war.

the oil painting canvass that is stored in a lead tube and sealed in the cargo, that probably still preserved is not even proven or yet to be proven in the future expeditions.

they also found a "depth charging" that didn't explode, probably proof that admiralty tried to destroy the entire wreck to avoid future dives.

but in the end of the documentary the second explosion is still not yet been identified.


I hope future documentary will follow soon. time is running out for lusitania, in the next few decades the ship will become a flat steel and the mysteries will never been solved.
 
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>>it also includes why the lusitania funnel was painted black as well as her name, does the british admiralty is pushing her as a target and unrecognizable as passenger ship so they can brought US in the war.<<

And this is why one should be very careful when watching anything by Discovery or any other so-called history channel as they have a very bad habit of repeating myth at the expense of reality.

There was no advantage to Great Britain in drawing the United States into the war. There were some very real concerns that the instant this happened, that a major source of munitions would dry up. This concern was well justified to as when the United States entered the war, this was exactly what happened.

>>they also found a "depth charging" that didn't explode, probably proof that admiralty tried to destroy the entire wreck to avoid future dives.<<

Sorry, but nope. There were two reasons why the wreck was depth charged. One being that it made a handy and large target for training purposes and another being the concern that hostile submarines could or were using it as a hiding place.

All this stuff about "cover up" ignores the fact that there wasn't much to cover up in the first place. All else aside, the fact that the ship was carrying a modest cargo of munitions was really no secret.

Why cover up something that everybody knew about from the Longshoreman to the German spies who watched the movements and loading of every British vessel in the harbour?
 

Alvin Dusaran

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i've always read in history books that the sinking of the lusitania draw the US into war, even since i watched several documentaries a about WW I lusitania always came out into the scene, and its an old issue for me. But some time i read an issue telling the sinking of the lusitania did not trigger the anger of us with german, i've only remember one thing in this arcticle, ''it takes a year after the sinking of the lusitania for US to join the war'' which means that the death of more 100 americans was not the reason for america to join the war.

About the depth charging i've already heard the that issue before, it was also featured in documentary 'in search of light features lusitania' it was said in that docu that ship wreckage was threat for destroyer in locating the german submarines and might be a hiding place for them. But did the british admitted that they depth charged the lusitania?

In this documentary 'treasure quest' the owner of the wreck questioned the large amount of butter that is being stored in forward cargo. Why would they put butter in a not refrigerated storage? That the supposed to be butter might be where the explosives was stored, i don't know if this huge number of butter storage in forward cargo was an old issue.. even this issue was not even proven in this docu,. Does anybody know why there was a huge butter cargo in the forward of the ship? Or the owner of the wreck might be misinterpret it?
 

danny perry

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yes I thought that too, until I got interested and started reading about it. The sinking of Lusitania became famous because it was a big famous ship already and because a lot of people drowned. The americans did kick up a fuss and the Germans promised to be more careful next time they sank a ship. The British were good at the propaganda war, and probably the US was more than halfway on their side already, but the truth was that the British were deliberately making it impossible for the Germans to follow internatinal rules on how a warship was supposed to challenge an unarmed enemy ship. Merchant ships had orders to run or attack, some had hidden guns and most of them were capable of running down a submarine and making a hole in it with a bit of luck and if the germans got too close. Under international law an attacker was supposed to allow the crew and passengers to take to the boats before they sank a ship, but in return merchant ships were supposed to stop when ordered to and not to fight. The British government had given them all orders to do exactly the opposite, so the germans had just two alternatives, give up sinking british ships, or sink them without warning. The british were deliberately trying to get as many other countries involved as possible, using tricks like flying other countries flags, knowing that inevitably some foreign ships would be sunk by accident. In reality the US had little reason to complain if US citizens chose to travel on British ships, when there were much safer US ships which they could have used. The Germans tried quite hard to persuade US citizens not to travel on british vessels.

There is a lot of argument about exactly what cargo Lusitania carried, but even if it was only carrying the declared cargo, that meant it had a cargo of rifle bullets and they were not intended for killing rabbits. It is just exactly like what happened in the recent Gulf wars, where Iraqi's had civilians camped in military targets and dared the US to attack.
 

Alvin Dusaran

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i found this cargo manifest section of lusitania dated back may 8,1915 in this section of lusitania resource website:

http://rmslusitania.info/pages/cargo.html

in this documentary the wreck owner Mr. Gregg Bemis mentioned about the huge amount of butter that is being stored in the forward cargo hold instead in refrigerated storage. why would they stored a butter along with the other cargo? is it where the explosive were stored? or the wreck owner misenterpret its location or its use? we all know that lusitania actually carrying munitions but it was proven that it didn't explode..
 

danny perry

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It was proven it didnt blow to pieces, but something seems to have exploded. The simplest explanation seems to be that the boilers blew up when the water got to them or maybe there was damage from the torpedo. But it is also true the british were lying through their teeth about what cargoes were being carried, and the americans were helping them bend US laws.

I am not totally convinced you cannot store butter unrefrigerated - once upon a time we had no refrigeration, and this was 100 years ago. But it is also true that food was a non-controversial sort of thing to write down if you wanted to carry something else. There seem to be several different versions of the cargo manifest. One was submitted before sailing, habitually this one always left off almost everything controversial even though legal. The longer version, officially the last minute 'corrections', was handed in 4 or 5 days later when the ship was safely away and I think mentions the bullets. Bullets were legit. Then there are other versions, one submitted to the american enquiry which is different, and one held by Cunard.

If the ship did carry explosives, there is no way they could have declared it on the manifest because it would have been breaking US law to carry explosives on a passenger ship. So, obviously, there would not be any such entries, even if the actual US officials were privately cooperative. A different ship carried giant naval guns to britain as deck cargo, but US customs apparently did not notice they were not included on the cargo manifest. Perhaps they were busy that day.

There is a reasonable explanation why they handed in false manifests before sailing, because they didnt want the Germans to know about the cargo until after it had arrived in Britain. But as to why they lied about the cargoes later...at the very least they were breaking the letter of US law. It is fair to say the british tried very hard indeed to prove the ship could not possibly have sunk because of a cargo explosion, to the extent of inventing extra torpedoes to explain reported explosions. There was even sworn testimony by witnesses of other torpedos, which absolutley definitely did not exist. Funny how ex-military people can make mistakes like that.

Oh, and the British government had total control over what Cunard's ships did and what cargoes they carried.
 
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>>i've always read in history books that the sinking of the lusitania draw the US into war...<<

One problem, it didn't. Even with all the diplomatic posturing, the U.S. managed to stay out of it, and a good thing too since the U.S. was simply unprepared for any major conflict.

If you want to see what the causus belli was for the U.S. entry into the war, google up "The Zimmerman Telegram." While there were other factors which had been building up over time, this was one was the last straw. By this time, except as a useful propaganda item, the Lusitania was a non-issue.
 

danny perry

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Note, Hall at the admiralty in charge of intelligence and dirty tricks admitted to the conspiracy which led to the staged release of the zimmerman telegram to the best effect for Britain. (in fact boasted about it).
 
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>>Note, Hall at the admiralty in charge of intelligence and dirty tricks admitted to the conspiracy which led to the staged release of the zimmerman telegram to the best effect for Britain. (in fact boasted about it).<<

Source?
 

danny perry

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off hand I think he was prone to going round at dinner parties and saying 'it was I that did it'

Correction... eg chapterX11 of the david ramsay biography of Hall, 'Blinker Hall, spymaster'. The chapter title is war comes to america: 'Alone I did it', which is what Hall claimed. I'm not sure exactly the context of the quote which may be explained in there somewhere but it does say he said it to Guy Gaunt who was wartime naval attache to washington. Similar things are said in the earlier biography by James. James used to work for Hall in intelligence at the admiralty and previously as his first officer on ships. Similarly Beesly, 'room 40' uses the same quote. Beesly worked in intelligence plotting submarine movements in WWII. Incidentally, (or not) seems to have been a colleague in investigation with John Light.
 
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>>off hand I think he was prone to going round at dinner parties and saying 'it was I that did it'<<

Doesn't sound especially reliable. The Zimmerman Telegram was unquestionably of German origin and the most this guy could have done...IF he had anything to do with getting this information to the American government...was to pass along what the "Bad Guys" had already written.

At worst, he was grandstanding to make himself look good, kind of like men who claim to have served on U.S. navy SEAL teams.
 

danny perry

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The zimmerman telegram is the incident which is famous, because Hall deliberately publicised it. They had the telegram before the German intended recipients did. Hall then leaked it to the US ambassadors assistant in London (I think from memory) with whom he was on good terms, without first consulting the British government. He similarly was on nodding terms with the important members of the British government so would go direct to them when necessary. The board of admiralty apparently asked him to get rid of Fisher as first sea Lord when they felt he would have to go but didnt dare speak out themselves against him.

The real problem he faced was how to publicise the telegram without Germany realising he was reading every message they sent. Indeed, the US realising the same. He was reading all US diplomatic messages. The US eventually pretended that they had intercepted it since it was sent at one point via a US telegraph office. There were also some games somewhere in south america where they blamed leaks on staff at the german embassy. It is hard to say what these people were really doing because there are reasons for people both to minimise and exaggerate what they did, but think James Bond with less gadgets and you would not be far wrong. Legality does not seem to have been much of an issue, but then there was a war. Hall illegally intercepted mail and messages in the UK, had people arrested, and certainly didnt mind breaking other people's laws. The Germans seem to have been involved in organising sabotage in the US, so I would presume Hall was busy doing the same if he had the chance (though obviously not against the US since they were on our side, though presumably he did organise dirty tricks against US german sympathisers.

His achievement was not simply in leaking the telegram, but in creating the organisation which intercepted it.

As far as Lusitania goes, probably the one thing he was not aware of was the german submarine movements, because naval messages were being handled by room 40. He created his own department handling diplomatic intercepts. Having said that, it is just what the books say. He knew all the people concerned, so if he was really interested, I am sure he could have found out anything in particular. Then, the messages must have overlapped in content. If someone in the admiralty was in a position to organise the sinking of the Lusitania and would be willing to do it if necessary, it was Hall. I dont know much about Wilson, though he seems to have been a mate of Oliver who Oliver got in to help and did not have executive authority. Oliver could have organised a plot against Lusitania, but it wasnt really his job to do so. He was running the place day to day with an emphasis on naval operations. churchill seems to have been obsessed with Gallipoli, which was steadily going down the tubes and taking his career with it. Fisher was eternally fighting Churchill because of the endless drain he saw Gallipoli becoming on navy resources. Political espionage was Hall's job.

I think it might be a mistake to be thinking along the lines that the objective of sinking Lusitania was to make the US join the war on the side of the UK. Various arguments have been given why this might not have helped as much as the US remaining a partial neutral. So the real objective would be to persuade the US to help. The sinking of Lusitania was a thoroughgoing success in this regard, whether it was accidental or deliberate. I incline towards accidental, because it simply wasnt necessary to plot the demise of the ship. What did happen was inevitable eventually, if not Lusitania then another ship. But there is no question the British- which probably means Hall - were trying to maneuver the Germans into making diplomatic mistakes, especially with regard to embarrassing sinkings.

But having said that, it is clear some ships were regarded as more important to protect than others, and there is certainly some doubt how hard they tried to protect Lusitania on its final voyage. But she might ultimately have been unlucky: the navy was engaged in a misdirection operation pretending to be launching an attack on the north German coast (i dont know who was organising this? possibly Hall) The navy was deliberately still using a compromised merchant ship code, presumable to make deliberate leaks and trying to trap enemy submarines, but meaning it could not send directions to ships. Lusitania was practically on u-boat top targets list as a potential troop transport. U-20 was there on the day she was because of this leaked misinformation.
 
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>>The zimmerman telegram is the incident which is famous, because Hall deliberately publicised it. They had the telegram before the German intended recipients did.<<

But it was still written by the Germans. It wasn't a put up job by the British. That's the crucial and most important point. Had the Germans not made the deal, there would have been no cause to go to war in that instance. That doesn't mean that one couldn't come up later on, but the fact was that it didn't.

>>He knew all the people concerned, so if he was really interested, I am sure he could have found out anything in particular.<<

Don't be so sure. The security around signals intelligence tends to be very closely held with information given only to those who had a need to know. The same is true today.

>>But having said that, it is clear some ships were regarded as more important to protect than others, and there is certainly some doubt how hard they tried to protect Lusitania on its final voyage.<<

Protect her with what? Most of what was available locally were armed trawlers and small patrol craft. The destroyers were more urgently needed elsewhere, particularly to act as a screen for the battlefleet in case of an attempted German breakout of the High Seas Fleet.

Even then, very few destroyers had both the speed and the endurance to keep up. Don't forget that the destroyers of that age were essentially large engine rooms around which were built some spartan crew accomadations and whatever ammunition they could stash on board. They just weren't the long legged high speed warships which you see today.

>>Lusitania was practically on u-boat top targets list as a potential troop transport.<<

And as a potential auxilary cruiser. The thing is, this is far from unreasonable and not much of a secret.

>>U-20 was there on the day she was because of this leaked misinformation.<<

I would like to know what that claim is based on. Radio communications were amazingly primitive so when the U-20 got underway, she was essentially on her own in regards to the course she chose to persue.
 

danny perry

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I agree about the issue of supply but there were four destroyers assigned to protecting ships which were then in milford haven or somewhere near which had been convoying a transport but had finished by then. On the face of it, they were available. They were especially available if someone had been planning to wait until the afternoon when lusitania got to the corner of Ireland and escort her through the Irish sea, which is where U20 ought to have been. I think they were the same destroyers sent out to escort her before, which failed to find her. But presumably would have been easier to catch her if they waited at the narrow point.

I think it was U30 which was given new orders while at sea which also detailed where U20 would be going. These were intercepted, decoded by room 40 in the normal way and would have been passed to Oliver, possibly fisher and Churchill if they were interested. Each submarine had orders of where it was supposed to go (well, obviously, this was an organised war not lucky dip.) Then they made regular reports while crossing the north sea which were intecepted. I dont know if they made reports from the south of Ireland but this should have been within range, I would have thought (but england might have been blocking signals compared to transmitting the same distance across the sea). One problem the Germans suffered from seems to have been very high quality radio equipment with a long range! The british made a point of using minimum power transmissions and even relay ships to pass messages because they were very aware of this issue. German radio transmissions from home transmitters were high power with a very long range, halfway to america I think I read yesterday. The U30, U20 and U whatever were sent off ireland specifically because the british had leaked fictitious reports about troop movements just before which had caused the Germans to send them at that specific time. Submarines had been held at home by Germany waiting for these anticipated movements (according to Beesly/room 40, I think). Beesly also says the British were trying to use the fact that Germany had broken their merchant code to trap submarines and that they got one. I dont know who was responsible for these leaks, room 40 was for receiving info. Hall seems to have dealt with diplomatic dirty tricks, I dont know if he would have been involved in the submarine misdirections. But someone must have been organising it.

Bear in mind the codebreaking and interception service totally did not exist before the war and was invented as it went along. Similarly Hall's dirty tricks department. He invented the rules as he went. Yes, there was too much secrecy which prevented full use being made of this information but equally the few people at the centre of it seem to have had freedom to do pretty much whatever they wanted. This was half a dozen people running the war according to their own fancy. Similarly Kitchener seems to have had absolute control of the army and done pretty much whatever he wanted. Unfortunately he totally did not get on with Churchill who was in charge of the navy. Government was an insiders club. The navy did not really get away from this one man band approach until after Jellicoe became first sea lord, after the various intelligence failings at Jutland. Oliver issued most orders personally for three years.
 
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>>I agree about the issue of supply but there were four destroyers assigned to protecting ships which were then in milford haven or somewhere near which had been convoying a transport but had finished by then. On the face of it, they were available.<<

And in reality, this may not have been the case. In fact, it's extremely unlikely that they would have been since they would need to take on coal after an operation. Underway replenishment just didn't exist as much of an art form so these craft would have to put into port and stay there as long as it took to reprovision and refuel.
 

danny perry

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Beesly says legion Lucifer Linnet and Laverock finished escorting duties in the Irish sea on 5 May and then proceeded to Milford Haven. top speed 29 knots. He says that two Q ships, Baralong and Lyons were also doing nothing. I seem to recall that some destroyers were oil fueled because I remember reading an account of Jutland which mentioned refuelling them at sea (they had poorer endurance then the big ships).
 
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>>Beesly says legion Lucifer Linnet and Laverock finished escorting duties in the Irish sea on 5 May and then proceeded to Milford Haven. top speed 29 knots.<<

Don't be so sure about the top speed. About the only time that ever happened was on trials, with a clean hull, and often under very unrealistic conditions. These ships rarely if ever achieved such speeds in service. The ship's you're speaking to would have been at the end of their rope as far as fuel reserves went. Having been out of refit for who knows how long, there would have been fouling on their bottoms which would have reduced their achievable speed even more, then there would have been the matter of fuel consumption at their top speeds which would have been astronomical.

The Q-ships as an escort for a speed demon like the Lusitania doesn't even bear discussion. Even on her worst day, the Lusitania would have left these ship's panting in her wake.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Also, from passenger accounts taken from earlier voyages, the escort ships (and on the final sailing from Liverpool, airplane)seem to have appeared where the REAL danger was, at the approach to the Mersey.

The previous fall, the course had been altered on a westbound voyage, with the Lusitania arriving in US territorial waters far south of NY and then coming up the coast. There was a lot of ocean to hide in, and relatively few U-boats or war ships on it or under it. Had Turner opted to lose himself in mid-channel, the presense of escort vessels would have served as a giveaway. And, had there been escort vessels, Turner's inexplicable hugging of the Irish coast, veer towards mid-channel and then beeline for the submarine would have negated their presense anyway.
 
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