A contemporary illustration shows the Lusitania sinking as Irish fishermen and lifeboats race to the rescue (from the Wikipedia)
The Courtmacsherry RNLI crew is organising a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boat U-20 early in the Great War on the 7th May 1915.
A part of the County Cork village’s commemoration will be a re-enactment of the the call to service in which volunteers will row a lifeboat of the era 12 nautical miles to the disaster site.
The Cunard ocean liner RMS Lusitania went down 11 miles (18 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 and leaving 761 survivors. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the American entry into World War I and became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns of why the war was being fought.
According to the Wikipedia, argument over whether the ship was a legitimate military target raged back and forth throughout the war as both sides made claims about the ship’s cargo – several attempts to dive on the wreck to seek information have been made over the years, and the argument continues to the present day.
The re-enactment will use the Polperro Lifeboat Trust’s lifeboat Ryder, which is an engineless restored pulling and sailing lifeboat built in 1902, and very similar to the lifeboat Kezia Gwilt stationed at Courtmacsherry in 1915.
The commemoration will also include exhibitions at Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station and the local Community Hall, and a commemeration dinner.
The local organisers are appealing for artefacts, stories and memorabilia to include in the exhibitions – they would love to hear from any family members of those lost or saved in the Lusitania tragedy. If you can help, contact them at email@example.com. Loaned memorabilia or artefacts will be receipted by the curators and will be returned to owners after the exhibition.
Other Lusitania centenary commemorations are to be held nearby at Cobh, the Old Head of Kinsale, and Kinsale – see the Visit Cork County website.