RMS LUSITANIA 100th ANNIVERSARY 3d MODEL
May 7 1915 - May 7 2015
This medium-detail model of the Lusitania was constructed using images derived from her original plans.
The RMS Lusitania was a British turbine-powered steam passenger liner built in 1907 by John Brown & Co. of Glasgow, Scotland. At 790 feet long and 31,550 tons she was nearly as large as the Titanic and substantially faster. Her four-screw turbine power plant propelled her at speeds of over 26 knots. Launched on June 7, 1907, she entered service three months later, dominating the high-speed luxury transatlantic trade.
Early in her career she was officially recognized as the fastest ocean liner in the world, capturing the 'Blue Riband' from rival liner 'Kaiser Wilhelm II', with a transatlantic crossing that averaged 24 knots. In ensuing years, she and her sister ship 'Mauretania' would maintain a friendly rivalry, wresting the speed title back and forth amongst one another.
After the 'Titanic' disaster, the Lusitania was refitted with additional lifeboats. Other changes to her appearance included new four bladed propellers, modifications to cranes, and compass platforms on the superstructure.
Following the outbreak of World War I, the 'Lusitania' continued civilian voyages between Great Britain and the United States, under the command of Captain William Turner. Unbeknownst to her passengers, 'Lusitania' began carrying war materiel on outbound voyages, including shells and small arms ammunition.
Despite the German government's declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare around the UK, the British government disregarded risks to the liner. Little was done to protect 'Lusitania' - she sailed unescorted and one boiler room was shut down as a 'war economy' measure, cutting her top speed to only 21 knots.
On May 7, 1915, while approaching the Irish coast, 'Lusitania' was attacked without warning by the German submarine U-20. She was hit by one torpedo and suffered a massive secondary explosion. Most of her lifeboats either capsized on launching, swamped, or could not be lowered due to her heavy list to starboard. She sank off the Old Head of Kinsale within 18 minutes, drowning 1,198 passengers and crew (other estimates range from 1,195 to over 1,200), including 128 Americans. Only 761 survived. The high death toll caused an international outcry and outpouring of anti-German sentiment, contributing to America's declaration of war against Germany in 1917.
This model depicts the Lusitania as she appeared in May 1915, with funnels painted black to disguise her identity.