The Home Port of R.M.S. Lusitania Lusitania Online
Comments and suggestions to    admin@lusitania.net
Chronology
Due to intense competition from the record-breaking German liners and the worrying takeover of most of the Premier British shipping lines by the American I.M.M. Co., Cunard and the British Admiralty finalise a special agreement whereby the British Government will loan Cunard £2,600,000 over 20 years at only 2.75 per cent interest Over those same 20 years, the Admiralty will pay Cunard a subsidy of £150,000 per annum. In return, Cunard will use the money loaned to them to build two new ships. They would have to defer to the Admiralty on all aspects of basic design as both vessels were to be built to the Admiralty specifications for heavy cruisers. In time of war, these two ships and indeed the entire Cunard fleet, were to be placed at the disposal of the Admiralty. The two new ships were to become the LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA. Cunard also guarantee to remain a British Company.
JUNE 7th 1906 The first rivet on the keel plates of LUSITANIA is laid by Lord Inverclyde, the Cunard Chairman, at John Browns shipyard on the Clyde. Sadly, Lord InverClyde did not live to see the LUSITANIA. He died eight months before she was launched. Launch of the Lusitania by John Gray. At 12.30pm, Mary, Lady Inverclyde, named the new vessel LUSITANIA, (after the old Roman Empire's name for the province which is now called Portugal) and launced the ship. Thousands turned out to watch the ceremony. LUSITANIA is then moved to the fitting out berth,where she will spend the next year, being completed. JULY 27th1907 Actual invitation sent to select guests for Lusitania's trial cruise. The original card was gilt-edged. Lusitania Online collection. Her fitting out complete, LUSITANIA undergoes a two-day preliminary sea trial off Ireland. This was followed by her formal acceptance trials, which she failed. AUGUST 1907 RMS Lusitania. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA spent the whole of August in John Brown's yard having all the second class accommodation in the stern gutted. The formal trials had revealed a violent twofold vibration problem: the outer propellers were affected bythe wake of the inner ones and there was also considerable resonance of the framework, caused by the unprecedented high speed that her propellers rotated at. Extensive bracing and stiffening had to be installed and the second class section refitted. Cunard then accepted the LUSITANIA. SEPTEMBER,7th 1907 Under the command of Cunard's Commodore, Captain James B. Watt,LUSITANIA makes her maiden voyage to New York. Bad weather prevents her from achieving her maximum speed. Though she did not regain the Blue Riband, her maiden arrival at Pier 54 in New York on Friday, September 13th 1907, was a gala event in itself. Lusitania's Maiden arrival at Pier 54 by John Gray. She stayed in New York for a week, during which time she was open to the public, and left to return home on Saturday 21st September. Lusitania docked at Pier 54 in New York by John Gray. SEPTEMBER 21st 1907 Lusitania berthed on a foggy winter's day at the Prince's landing stage, Liverpool.Modern reprint of a contemporary photograph. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA again misses the record on her first return voyage, due to fog. The Germans were so far delighted with her performance! OCTOBER 1907 On her second voyage to New York, (which was her third Atlantic crossing) LUSITANIA regained the Blue Riband for Great Britain with an average speed of 23.99 knots. 11th NOVEMBER 1908 Captain Turner: Collection of Lusitania Online. Captain William Thomas Turner is selected as LUSITANIA'S new Captain, on the recommendation of the retiring Commodore, Captain Watt. 8th APRIL 1909 All four original 3-bladed propellers replaced with larger 4-bladed propellers. JUNE 1909 LUSITANIA under Captain Turner's command, retakes Blue Riband for the last time. MAURETANIA retakes it the following month and retains the honour for the next twenty years. Contemporary Cunard Poster: Lusitania Online Collection. DECEMBER 1909 Captain Turner is appointed to command the MAURETANIA. Captain James T. Charles is selected as LUSITANIA'S new Captain. Cunard souvenir postcard: Lusitania Online collection. FEBRUARY 1910. Lusitania starts to make Fishguard a regular stop on her eastbound crossings. There had been odd occurrences of her and Mauretania stopping there before, for special trips such as the Christmas specials, the Coronation specials and such like. Lusitania loading at Liverpool. Modern print from a contemporary postcard. Collection of Lusitania Online. APRIL 1910. After negotiations with the then owner/operator of Fishguard Harbour - the Great Western Railway (GWR) - Cunard formally announce that with the commencing of the winter season of 1911, eastbound Cunard ships would no longer call at Queenstown, Ireland; calling at Fishguard instead, but only during the winter season, from November to April. This was the beginning of the end for the Queenstown stop. The GWR had attracted a number of eastbound transatlantic liners to call at Fishguard to transfer the mails and their passengers by tender to the GWR network, for onward transport to London (Paddington). Use of this route meant that passengers and mails could reach London much sooner than by going on to Liverpool and onwards to London (Euston) via the rail network of the LNWR (a GWR competitor). Using the GWR's Fishguard route, New York passengers and mails could arrive in London in the record time of approx 5 days 3.5 hrs. DECEMBER 9th 1911 Captain Charles and LUSITANIA step into the breach to perform that year's "Christmas Special", a round voyage from Liverpool to New York and back in 12 days. This was a trip which Captain Turner and the MAURETANIA set the precedent for, but MAURETANIA had been damaged when she broke free of her moorings in Liverpool during a violent storm. Captain Charles and the LUSITANIA completed the trip on time thanks to a lightning turnaround in New York. DECEMBER 1912 LUSITANIA limps home with major engine damage. Several blades in her four turbines had buckled due to thermal distortion. An extensive refit lasting eight months is needed to rebuild the engines. Admiralty take this opportunity to install gun mountings in preparation for her envisaged duties as a cruiser. AUGUST 1913 Lusitania being docked in the Sandon half-tide basin at Liverpool. Modern reprint from a contemporary photograph. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA returns to service. Captain J.T.W. Charles is appointed to command the MAURETANIA and Captain Daniel Dowis selected as LUSITANIA'S new captain. Under Captain Dow,LUSITANIA sets her last ever speed record, achieving a personal best of 26.70 knots on westbound voyage in March of 1914. AUGUST 4th, 1914 War! Lord Kitchener Poster by John Gray Upon arrival in Liverpool, LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA are requisitioned by the Admiralty. LUSITANIA undergoes another Admiralty refit. This latest refit was to remove most of the forward 3rd class accommodation so as to enlarge the forward cargo hold. Gun mountings had already been installed the previous year. Guns are never fitted though, as Admiralty ultimately decide against using LUSITANIA as a cruiser due to the fact that she consumed to much coal. Instead, they return her to Cunard with "a very important job to do". SEPTEMBER 1914.   RMS Lusitania which first called at Fishguard in September 1909, was in fact the last transatlantic liner ever to call at Fishguard, on 14 September 1914. Whilst the GWR hoped that the transatlantic trade via Fishguard could be resumed after WW1, this did not transpire. NOVEMBER 1914 LUSITANIA's schedule is reduced to one round voyage per month. To save Cunard incurring further expenses, one boiler room is closed down and her maximum speed is thereby reduced to 21 knots and her optimum cruising speed is down to 18 knots. She is now regularly carrying large quantities of American made munitions home to England. German Poster: Lusitania Online Collection. FEBRUARY 1915 In response to British Naval blockade of Germany and the Admiralty's inflamatory orders to British Merchant ships to fly neutral flags and make a ramming attempt at any U-boat that challenges them, the Germans declare a war zone around the British Isles. Germans announce that henceforth, ANY ship of Great Britain or her Allies encountered in this war zone is likely to be sunk without warning. Churchill introduces a new "secret weapon" against U-boats; the Q-Ship.On February's return trip, Captain Dow is informed of a U-boat peril. He promptly runs up the U.S. flag and bolts for Liverpool. He has yet to see a German U-boat, but his continual fear of being torpedoed and the strain of constantly worrying about the safety of his passengers is telling on him. Cunard decide to give him leave. MARCH 1915 Captain Turner is re-appointed to command the LUSITANIA. APRIL 1915 LUSITANIA makes her last voyage to New York. It is her 201st Atlantic crossing. Her funnels have now been painted black as she is under Admiralty Charter. MAY 1st 1915 LUSITANIA leaves New York for the last time. As she leaves, the Master at Arms discovers three Germans on board who should have left the ship. The Germans have a camera with them. Captain Turner confiscates the camera and orders the Germans to be locked in the ship's cells. Amongst her cargo is a large consignment of live artillery shells, stored in the forward hold. Friday 7th MAY, 1915: 14:10 GMT Schwieger's torpedo strikes home by John Gray. LUSITANIA is torpedoed 14 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Southern Ireland, by the German U-boat, U-20. One torpedo is fired and it strikes the ship in the forward cargo hold. A huge second explosion occurs and the LUSITANIA sinks in a mere 18 minutes. 1,201 men, women and children perish in the disaster. This figure includes the three Germans in the cells. Lusitania's New York berth today. Pier 54, New York harbour as it is today. Photo: J. Andrews/Lusitania Online. Google Maps link This photograph was taken from the boat deck of the P&O Liner Oriana in September 2000. It clearly shows the new decking which  has recently been fitted to Pier 54 now that the large Cunard transit shed has been demolished. Pier 54 awaits its planned  redevelopment as a museum to historic shipping. In the middle  ground can be seen the rotting remains of the other former  Cunard Pier, No. 56, whilst to the left of the photo is Pier 57.
The Home Port of R.M.S. Lusitania Lusitania Online
Comments and suggestions to    admin@lusitania.net
Chronology
Due to intense competition from the record-breaking German liners and the worrying takeover of most of the Premier British shipping lines by the American I.M.M. Co., Cunard and the British Admiralty finalise a agreement whereby the British Government will loan Cunard £2,600,000 over 20 years at only 2.75 per cent interest Over those same 20 years, the Admiralty will pay Cunard a subsidy of £150,000 per annum. In return, Cunard will use the money loaned to them to build two new ships. They would have to defer to the Admiralty on all aspects of basic design as both vessels were to be built to the Admiralty specifications for heavy cruisers. In time of war, these two ships and indeed the entire Cunard fleet, were to be placed at the disposal of the Admiralty. The two new ships were to become the LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA. Cunard also guarantee to remain a British Company. JUNE 7th 1906 The first rivet on the keel plates of LUSITANIA is laid by Lord Inverclyde, the Cunard Chairman, at John Browns shipyard on the Clyde. Sadly, Lord InverClyde did not live to see the LUSITANIA. He died eight months before she was launched. Launch of the Lusitania by John Gray. At 12.30pm, Mary, Lady Inverclyde, named the new vessel LUSITANIA, (after the old Roman Empire's name for the province which is now called Portugal) and launced the ship. Thousands turned out to watch the ceremony. LUSITANIA is then moved to the fitting out berth,where she will spend the next year, being completed. JULY 27th1907 Actual invitation sent to select guests for Lusitania's trial cruise. The original card was gilt-edged. Lusitania Online collection. Her fitting out complete, LUSITANIA undergoes a two-day preliminary sea trial off Ireland. This was followed by her formal acceptance trials, which she failed. AUGUST 1907 RMS Lusitania. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA spent the whole of August in John Brown's yard having all the second class accommodation in the stern gutted. The formal trials had revealed a violent two fold vibration problem: the outer propellers were affected bythe wake of the inner ones and there was also considerable resonance of the framework, caused by the unprecedented high speed that her propellers rotated at. Extensive bracing and stiffening had to be installed and the second class section refitted. Cunard then accepted the LUSITANIA. SEPTEMBER,7th 1907 Under the command of Cunard's Commodore, Captain James B. Watt,LUSITANIA makes her maiden voyage to New York. Bad weather prevents her from achieving her maximum speed. Though she did not regain the Blue Riband, her maiden arrival at Pier 54 in New York on Friday, September 13th 1907, was a gala event in itself. Lusitania's Maiden arrival at Pier 54 by John Gray. She stayed in New York for a week, during which time she was open to the public, and left to return home on Saturday 21st September. Lusitania docked at Pier 54 in New York by John Gray. SEPTEMBER 21st 1907 Lusitania berthed on a foggy winter's day at the Prince's landing stage, Liverpool.Modern reprint of a contemporary photograph. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA again misses the record on her first return voyage, due to fog. The Germans were so far delighted with her performance! OCTOBER 1907 On her second voyage to New York, (which was her third Atlantic crossing) LUSITANIA regained the Blue Riband for Great Britain with an average speed of 23.99 knots. 11th NOVEMBER 1908 Captain Turner: Collection of Lusitania Online. Captain William Thomas Turner is selected as LUSITANIA'S new Captain, on the recommendation of the retiring Commodore, Captain Watt. 8th APRIL 1909 All four original 3-bladed propellers replaced with larger 4-bladed propellers. JUNE 1909 LUSITANIA under Captain Turner's command, retakes Blue Riband for the last time. MAURETANIA retakes it the following month and retains the honour for the next twenty years. Contemporary Cunard Poster: Lusitania Online Collection. DECEMBER 1909 Captain Turner is appointed to command the MAURETANIA. Captain James T. Charles is selected as LUSITANIA'S new Captain. Cunard souvenir postcard: Lusitania Online collection. FEBRUARY 1910. Lusitania starts to make Fishguard a regular stop on her eastbound crossings. There had been odd occurrences of her and Mauretania stopping there before, for special trips such as the Christmas specials, the Coronation specials and such like. Lusitania loading at Liverpool. Modern print from a contemporary postcard. Collection of Lusitania Online. APRIL 1910. After negotiations with the then owner/operator of Fishguard Harbour - the Great Western Railway (GWR) - Cunard formally announce that with the commencing of the winter season of 1911, eastbound Cunard ships would no longer call at Queenstown, Ireland; calling at Fishguard instead, but only during the winter season, from November to April. This was the beginning of the end for the Queenstown stop. The GWR had attracted a number of eastbound transatlantic liners to call at Fishguard to transfer the mails and their passengers by tender to the GWR network, for onward transport to London (Euston) via the rail network of the LNWR (a GWR competitor). Using the GWR's Fishguard route, New York passengers and mails could arrive in London in the record time of approx 5 days 3.5 hrs. DECEMBER 9th 1911 Captain Charles and LUSITANIA step into the breach to perform that year's "Christmas Special", a round voyage from Liverpool to New York and back in 12 days. This was a trip which Captain Turner and the MAURETANIA set the precedent for, but MAURETANIA had been damaged when she broke free of her moorings in Liverpool during a violent storm. Captain Charles and the LUSITANIA completed the trip on time thanks to a lightning turnaround in New York. DECEMBER 1912 LUSITANIA limps home with major engine damage. Several blades in her four turbines had buckled due to thermal distortion. An extensive refit lasting eight months is needed to rebuild the engines. Admiralty take this opportunity to install gun mountings in preparation for her envisaged duties as a cruiser. AUGUST 1913 Lusitania being docked in the Sandon half-tide basin at Liverpool. Modern reprint from a contemporary photograph. Collection of Lusitania Online. LUSITANIA returns to service. Captain J.T.W. Charles is appointed to command the MAURETANIA and Captain Daniel Dowis selected as LUSITANIA'S new captain. Under Captain Dow,LUSITANIA sets her last ever speed record, achieving a personal best of 26.70 knots on westbound voyage in March of 1914. AUGUST 4th, 1914 War! Lord Kitchener Poster by John Gray Upon arrival in Liverpool, LUSITANIA and MAURETANIA are requisitioned by the Admiralty. LUSITANIA undergoes another Admiralty refit. This latest refit was to remove most of the forward 3rd class accommodation so as to enlarge the forward cargo hold. Gun mountings had already been installed the previous year. Guns are never fitted though, as Admiralty ultimately decide against using LUSITANIA as a cruiser due to the fact that she consumed to much coal. Instead, they return her to Cunard with "a very important job to do". SEPTEMBER 1914.   RMS Lusitania which first called at Fishguard in September 1909, was in fact the last transatlantic liner ever to call at Fishguard, on 14 September 1914. Whilst the GWR hoped that the transatlantic trade via Fishguard could be resumed after WW1, this did not transpire. NOVEMBER 1914 LUSITANIA's schedule is reduced to one round voyage per month. To save Cunard incurring further expenses, one boiler room is closed down and her maximum speed is thereby reduced to 21 knots and her optimum cruising speed is down to 18 knots. She is now regularly carrying large quantities of American made munitions home to England. German Poster: Lusitania Online Collection. FEBRUARY 1915 In response to British Naval blockade of Germany and the Admiralty's inflamatory orders to British Merchant ships to fly neutral flags and make a ramming attempt at any U-boat that challenges them, the Germans declare a war zone around the British Isles. Germans announce that henceforth, ANY ship of Great Britain or her Allies encountered in this war zone is likely to be sunk without warning. Churchill introduces a new "secret weapon" against U-boats; the Q-Ship.On February's return trip, Captain Dow is informed of a U-boat peril. He promptly runs up the U.S. flag and bolts for Liverpool. He has yet to see a German U-boat, but his continual fear of being torpedoed and the strain of constantly worrying about the safety of his passengers is telling on him. decide to give him leave. MARCH 1915 Captain Turner is re-appointed to command the LUSITANIA. APRIL 1915 LUSITANIA makes her last voyage to New York. It is her 201st Atlantic crossing. Her funnels have now been painted black as she is under Admiralty Charter. MAY 1st 1915 LUSITANIA leaves New York for the last time. As she leaves, the Master at Arms discovers three Germans on board who should have left the ship. The Germans have a camera with them. Captain Turner confiscates the camera and orders the Germans to be locked in the ship's cells. Amongst her cargo is a large consignment of live artillery shells, stored in the forward hold. Friday 7th MAY, 1915: 14:10 GMT Schwieger's torpedo strikes home by John Gray. LUSITANIA is torpedoed 14 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Southern Ireland, by the German U-boat, U-20. One torpedo is fired and it strikes the ship in the forward cargo hold. A huge second explosion occurs and the LUSITANIA sinks in a mere 18 minutes. 1,201 men, women and children perish in the disaster. This figure includes the three Germans in the cells. Lusitania's New York berth today. Pier 54, New York harbour as it is today. Photo: J. Andrews/Lusitania Online. Google Maps link This photograph was taken from the boat deck of the P&O Liner Oriana in September 2000. It clearly shows the new decking which  has recently been fitted to Pier 54 now that the large Cunard transit shed has been demolished. Pier 54 awaits its planned  redevelopment as a museum to historic shipping. In the middle  ground can be seen the rotting remains of the other former  Cunard Pier, No. 56, whilst to the left of the photo is Pier 57.