Ship of the Day from Conway Books

The last photo of the Lusitania before she was sunk by a U boat torpedo in 1915

This is said to be the last known photograph of the Lusitania taken in 1915 before she was sunk by a German U-boat during World War I, and it comes from Conway Books’ splendid Ship of the Day series.

As its name suggests, Conway’s series presents an image of a ship each day, accompanied by a genuinely informative potted history. For example, I’d forgotten that the sinking of civilian ships including the Lusitania is said to have been among the reasons the United States entered WWI. Among the 1,198 lives lost when the Lusitania went down were some 124 US citizens.

The Ship of the Day series is all good. Lusitania was yesterday’s ship: today’s is the Hunley.

A Southwold memorial explained

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UK Home Built Boat Rally member John Lockwood has been in touch with a photo of the ship commanded by brave Captain David W Simpson MBE when he met his death.

Captain Simpson is today remembered by a memorial plaque outside Southwold’s Sailor’s Reading Room.

John writes:

‘I know you like following interesting threads. In connection with the memorial plaque included in yesterday’s post, I have attached a picture of the West Isleta, later the Empire Merlin, built in 1919 in Seattle, managed by Ropners Shipping, and torpedoed by U-boat U48 about 190 miles west of Cape Wrath.

‘The thought of a 70 year old captain working on that open bridge in the North Atlantic in winter makes me appreciate what a tough lot merchant navy sailors were in those days.  Incidentally Captain Simpson was previously Master of the SS Wandy, which attacked and sank a German U-boat in WWI.

‘Regards,  John’

I certainly do like a good story! Many thanks for the old photo and information John.