Lusitania disaster: Record-breaking liner to U-boat target

The Lusitania twice held the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing
The Lusitania twice held the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing

Here are some of the key events involving the Lusitania as the 100th anniversary of its sinking is commemorated.

June 7 1906: The Lusitania was named by Lady Inverclyde, widow of former Cunard chairman Lord Inverclyde;

September 7 1907: The liner makes its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, arriving in America on September 13;

October 1907: On its third Atlantic voyage the Lusitania regains for Britain the Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing, averaging 24 knots (about 27.6mph);

November 11 1908: Captain William Thomas Turner is selected as Lusitania’s new captain on the recommendation of the retiring Commodore, Captain Watt;

June 1909: Lusitania retakes the Blue Riband for the last time, with its sister ship Mauretania retaking it the following month and keeping it for the next 20 years;

December 1909: Captain Turner takes command of Mauretania with Captain James T Charles taking over Lusitania;

December 1912: Lusitania limps home with major engine damage and has to undergo an eight-month refit returning to service in August 1913;

August 4 1914: With war imminent, Lusitania and Mauretania are requisitioned by the Admiralty. Gun mountings had been installed on Lusitania in 1913 but guns were never fitted and the ship is returned to Cunard;

November 1914: By this time Lusitania is carrying large quantities of American-made munitions to England;

February 1915: Germany declares a war zone around the British Isles. Germany announces that henceforth, any ship of Britain or her Allies encountered in this war zone is likely to be sunk without warning. Sailing back to Britain the Lusitania’s captain Daniel Dow is informed of a U-boat peril. He runs up the US flag and bolts for Liverpool. With Captain Dow under strain from possible attacks, Cunard give him leave.

March 1915: Captain Turner is reappointed to command Lusitania. The ship makes its last voyage to New York the following month, leaving New York for the last time on May 1;

May 1 1915: Three Germans who should have left the ship as it sailed from New York are discovered on board. They have a camera. They are locked in the ship’s cells and are among those who died in the sinking;

May 7 1915: Lusitania is torpedoed 14 miles off the Old Head of Kinsdale in southern Ireland.