What is your favorite Lusitania documentary


Aug 14, 2005
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i saw one called mysteries of the lusitania as part of a uk series called secrets of the deep featuring reenacted scenes in costume.one part showed schwieger putting on a record aboard u 20.i dont suppose anyone remebers it and could tell me the tune?
 
Aug 15, 2005
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A long way to Tipperary, perhaps?
The Germans loved that one.
Or maybe they were doing the old 'Apocalypse Now' scene - playing Dance of the Valkyries.
Schweiger - "I love the smell of torpedo smoke in the morning."
Not in good taste, I know.
Apologies, Ryan.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,
I thought that Ballard did not actually write that book? There is an error or two I think as well. And the "Tipperary" thing was from the film Das Boot unless I am mistaken although I am sure it could have been used in both.

Best,
Eric
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Das Boot, which had nothing to do with the Lusi of course, gave a good look into how life was aboard a German U boat in WW-II. I could only imagine that conditions were a little tighter in WW-I vintage boats. US subs produced after that war were referred to as pig boats.
 
Aug 14, 2005
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ive just seen a 2 hour documentary on the history channel called murder on the atlantic or something like that.
very interesting.
Apparently Alfred Vanderbilt had narrowly missed the titanics maiden voyage after cancelling at the last minute.
also the documantary said that just prior to sailing captain turner had taken part in a titanic liability hearing in new york.when asked by someone what he had learned from the titanic(as a captain)he said"nothing,it will happen again".interesting.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Yes, I read about Vanderbilt. I expect that he would have done the same on Titanic's sloping decks as he did on Lusitania's. As an American, he should have known not to sail on Lusitania.
Did you know that American passengers were warned not to sail on the Lusitania (that voyage in particular) by the German Embassy, as old Lucy was earmarked for destruction?
I was amazed at how bold their statement actually was when I saw it; I think it was in the New York Times a week before, or something.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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It appeared the morning of the sailing. Many were aware of it, but just as many, if not more, were not.

>As an American, he should have known not to sail on Lusitania.

It was not quite as simple as that. Many of the "better placed" Americans were concerned enough before the warning appeared to directly ask Cunard if the voyage was safe. Ogden Hammond, for one, asked a Cunard "high up" (off the top of my head I do not recall whom it was) and was reassured that the voyage would be "as safe as crossing Broadway." Buy a transcript of the Limitation of Liability hearings to read further on this tangent. For those not as wealthy as Vanderbilt or Mrs. Hammond, that is to say 99% of those on board, the timing of the message guaranteed that it could not be heeded. Walking off the ship at that point was possible for all on board, of course, but offloading their already loaded luggage might have been difficult
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and only an experienced traveller would have known if the U.S. Line's New York, sailing that day, would have honored their Cunard tickets- for most of those on board the idea of possibly forfeiting their fare would have been a daunting one. As would have been the thought of the 8 day crossing on the New York without one's baggage.

Fact is, " should have known not to" is redolent of the old 'she should have known better' charge people used to make about women who had been the victims of certain crimes. The only person to whom "should have known not to" can be applied in this case is Captain Turner- had he followed the clearly stated Admiralty orders, of which he was aware, it is fairly likely that Vanderbilt and all of the rest would have arrived in Liverpool unscathed. He DID know not to and, for reasons never satisfactorily explained, delivered his ship and close to 2000 people directly to the Germans.

That said, there WERE a lot of cavalier quotes attributed to various first class passengers by the NY Press on sailing day which can indicate either A) almost bizarre indifference to the obvious, or B) graveyard whistling. If you check out Mike and my article here on ET, there is a long and ingeniously weird rationale for staying aboard the ship offered by Theodore Naish (victim) to his wife, Belle (survivor) quoted in it, which shows the extend that people may have gone to to 'normalise' a decidedly abnormal situation.

One other thought- as of May 1st, nothing of the scale of the Lusitania torpedoing had yet happened, at least with regards to transatlantic travellers, so rationalizing away the ad (which ran on the travel page and not in the hard news section of the paper) would have been easier then than it would have been for someone reading it on May 8th.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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No ship the size of Lusitania had been SUNK by such an event, but Mauretania had a torpedo fired at her. Thanks to captain whoever's quick thinking and the ship builders competence, the missile missed by several feet.
For the record, the captain pushed the engines to their maximum and hard-swung the helm (P or S, I will have to check).
The torpedo missed by several feet. In the defence of Turner, I will have to say that he expected some kind of similar action to be taken in such a circumstance.
Regards, Ryan.
 

Jim Kalafus

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> In the defence of Turner, I will have to say that he expected some kind of similar action to be taken in such a circumstance

Which is no defense at all. One recurring theme in survivor accounts of the events of May 7th is that earlier in the day, for some reason, Turner slowed the ship down to such an extent that it had people talking amongst themselves- yet another interesting detail to be found in the L.o.L. transcripts. So in addition to his ignoring the orders to zig-zag, stay in mid channel, avoid headlands, there is also the matter of this still not-well-explained slow down in the middle of a war zone in an area where he already knew a submarine was, or submarines were. His later explanation of his horrendous judgment errors during the ship's final hour, that he misunderstood the orders, is beyond risible.

Frankly, even if the Germans had hung a banner off of the NDL pier saying "we are going to sink you on May 7th" which the passengers saw and chose to ignore, they would most likely have survived, and the crossing been as safe as Cunard assured those who asked that it would be, if the captain had followed his orders and the ship been where she should have been.

>No ship the size of Lusitania had been SUNK by such an event, but Mauretania had a torpedo fired at her. Thanks to captain whoever's quick thinking and the ship builders competence, the missile missed by several feet

which reenforces

as of May 1st, nothing of the scale of the Lusitania torpedoing had yet happened, at least with regards to transatlantic travellers, so rationalizing away the ad (which ran on the travel page and not in the hard news section of the paper) would have been easier then than it would have been for someone reading it on May 8th.

Because anyone who who read the warning on the morning of May 1, who was aware of the event you described, would probably have interpreted it as a sign of the safety of the large Cunard ships, not of the danger of torpedoes.
 
May 12, 2005
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The cavalier attitude of Lusitania passengers to the threat of attack by submarines is striking when one considers the high feeling of nervousness on that part of at least one segment of the travelling public that prevailed just a few months before.

In the first months of 1915, Cunard stepped up its advertising campaign in the leading fashion trade paper, Women’s Wear Daily, in reaction to a falling off of business from buyers and stylists. Fashion professionals were among the most frequent sea-goers but these men and women had curtailed their shopping expeditions to Paris due to the war, or more specifically to the threat of U-boats. Their absence was cutting into profits and Cunard, for one, was very proactive in regaining the confidence of these business travelers.

Cunard took out full and double page ads in WWD, promoting its voyages, and stressing the speed and safety of Lusitania in particular. The paper’s editorial department even cooperated in Cunard’s campaign by publishing on the front page increasingly longer lists of names of prominent fashion folk who were travelling on Lusitania.

The media blitz obviously worked as Lusitania’s passenger list for her final trip was full of buyers. It also included two undisputed leaders in the New York fashion world, manufacturer Max Schwarz (Max M. Schwarz, Inc) and designer Caroline Hickson-Kennedy (Hickson, Inc). The Schwarz and Hickson empires were mainstays in American fashion at the turn of the century and were in fact pioneers in creating the mystique of "Fifth Avenue," where their palatial showrooms were located. Sadly both Schwarz and Hickson-Kennedy lost their lives in the sinking.

A separate point is that, in contrast to all the subsequent stories of last-minute cancellations by apprehensive wealthy passengers, two documented cases bear out personal rather than political reasons for not sailing. Top fashion designer "Lucile," Lady Duff Gordon, cancelled her passage because of genuine health complications (she had an emergency hysterectomy), and Mrs. Claude Graham-White, wife of the famous aviator, cancelled because of a sudden legal matter involving a family investment.
 

Nancy Bratby

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Apr 18, 2005
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For me it's a draw between Murder on the Atlantic and The Last Voyage of the Lusitania by Network First.

The latter is specially moving for me as they use the music of Enya for the soundtrack.
 

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