Why were the Lusitania's Funnels Painted Black?

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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
Why were the Lusitania's Funnels Painted Black, name painted over (bow & stern, also in black? was this a form of disguise that Capt Turner independently made the decision to do? or was he simply under Admiralty order to do so?
 
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Randy Bryan Bigham

Member
This subject was fully covered in an article by Eric Sauder for the Titanic Historical Society's journal some time ago. The author has since updated the story and published it as a feature of the Web site, Marconigraph.com

Here is the link to the article:

http://lusitania.marconigraph.com/
 
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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
that was some help. but my question was whether her funnels were black from independent decision by Caaptain Turner, or because she was simply painted in Admiralty Colors? and while that was helpful, it almost totally ignores the fact that the ship could have simply been painted in Admiralty colors and not intentionally disguised, this not to say she wasnt, she could have been, and i look at that as strong possibility too.
 
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Eric Sauder

Member
Jesse:

The reason I wrote the article was to figure out *whether* she was painted in different colors for her last voyage -- not *why* she was painted differently. I didn't "ignore the fact", but answering "why" wasn't what I set out to do. The article answers the question I wanted answered.

And, no, Turner didn't have the authority to simply wave his hand and say "camouflage my ship." I have never found anything that states who in the Admiralty or Cunard made the ultimate decision to paint her funnels black and her superstructure gray, but my guess is that it may have been a mutual decision.

Eric Sauder
 
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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
from what i have heard, although this is more famous w/ conspiracy theorist, Ramsay also supports it, and while his work has been criticised by a number of people on the boards, his work for the most part is reliable, except where he relies on SNAMES, besides that i greatly admire his book and how he challenges some of the theories of Bailey and Ryan. this is not to say i think Bailey and Ryan is unreliable, theyre book is very reliable, but the work is almost 30 years old, and so the theories of them should be put to test, as to rely on antiquated theories can be dangerous. now back to the point. the funnels of course. i hope you (Eric) should one day incorporate why the funnels were painted black into your article, as whats available on the subject is too little to make any decision w/ certainty and confidence. to me it makes more sense that the ship would be flying Admiralty Colors under Admiralty orders, why the the funnels had to be repainted at certain points is obvious, the high heat/steam pressure causing the paint to crack and fall off, and also of course the ocean sprays on the funnels too.

also another question Eric. were any parts of 3rd class gutted to make extra room for cargo? this question does not apply any coal bunkers anywhere on the ship, as they were obviously in use, and i dont think the unused ones would be much use for cargo.
 
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Eric Sauder

Member
Jesse:

You asked: "were any parts of 3rd class gutted to make extra room for cargo?"

No.

Eric Sauder
 
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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
i think no too for 3rd class being converted to cargo space, but they keep bringing up 1 piece of evidence which refrains me from thinking it completely in impossible. Dow and booth talking, and Dow mentioning how parts of 3rd class was gutted. i find it hard to believe he would lie, unless he is referring to something else.
 
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Robert W. Collier

Guest
Eric,
I just finished reading your updated article. Thank you for the additional information. Sometimes it takes so long for that "key" piece of information to surface. Fortunately it shines new light on the Lusitania's colors. Perhaps we can discuss this in depth (along with other Lusitania history) in the future. Thank you again for the well written article. You should write another book.
Respectfully,
Robert W. Collier
 
Martin Owen Cahill

Martin Owen Cahill

Member
I read somewhere that if the Admiralty requisitioned a ship they painted the funnels black as a standard practice. Any thoughts?

Martin
 
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Eric Sauder

Member
Hi, Robert:

Many thanks for your kind comments about my article. It's always nice to get positive comments like that.

I look forward to seeing you and Colleen again in the not-too-distant future for a long day of ship chat. I'll let you know when I'm out your way. Shouldn't be too long now.

Eric
 
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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
I'll agree w/ everyone that the article is good, though i think the subject "why" the funnels were black should be incorporated into the article. after all, now that we know that the funnels were black, we must now figure out why, to Disguise the Lusitania? or was she a ship under Admiralty orders painted in Admiralty colors?
 
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Eric Sauder

Member
Jesse:

Rather than incorporating the "why" question into my article, maybe you can write something about the "why" and post it here on ET.

Eric Sauder
 
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Jesse D O'Neill

Member
Eric

Exactly what colors were the Lusitania's Funnels painted for her wartime voyages. Grey or Black? im just wondering as i just got Droste & Tantum "The Lusitania Case" and there is a statement by a passanger by the name Richard Harding Davis (originally stated November 1914 in scribners, article in book comes from The Fatherland 6/30/1915). well anyway heres what Mr. Davis States on Pg 51:

"But when on the third day, we came on deck, the news was written against the sky: Swinging from the funnels, sailors were painting out the scarlet and black colors of the Cunard Line, and substituting a mouse-like grey. overnight we had passed into the hands of the Admiralty, and the Lusitania had emerged a cruiser."

I of course disagree w/ him on the Cruiser Issue, but he obviously is an important witness, as he witnessed the funnels being painted dark grey/Black. any comments Eric?
 
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Member
Just tuned in here- and am no Lusy expert but recently, while looking for info on one of my theatre interests, Charles Frohman, I found an interesting article snipped from a Montana newspaper which quotes a passenger named Crook,
" The great ship trembled from the maximum speed attained. When the gang plank had been pulled up at Liverpool, painters made the vessel black, even to the funnels. ". He goes on to say that the captain was opposed to flying an American flag. Officer John Lewis also states in his testimony "black hull, black funnels."
 
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