May 15, 2015
Posted in: Forever Cunard
7 May 2015 was a significant date in the history of Cunard. 100 years ago that day the Cunard liner Lusitania was lost off the Irish coast.
The liner, which was carrying passengers, was struck by a German torpedo, and sank within 18 minutes. The disaster forever changed the face of modern warfare.
To commemorate this tragedy, Queen Victoria called at Cobh, Ireland. It was here that one of the rescue parties went out to save the survivors of the disaster.
We awoke aboard Queen Victoria early at 3:15 on the morning of 7 May. At exactly 3:30am the ship sailed slowly and respectfully over the wreck of Lusitania. Commodore Christopher Rynd made a touching speech, before relatives of those who perished threw roses into the sea as a mark of respect.
You can view a video of this event here
Several hours later, we were alongside in Cobh. A full day of commemoration awaited us.
At noon, the President Higgins of Ireland met with Cunard Chairman David Dingle, Marketing Director Angus Struthers and Commodore Christopher Rynd at the Lusitania memorial. The President inspected the guard of honour before moving to the stage. Here he made an impassioned speech about the importance of peace in our world.
Commodore Rynd later recited a letter from a survivor of the Lusitania disaster – it brought to life the horrors those aboard faced.
At exactly 2:10pm – the time the torpedo struck Lusitania – Queen Victoria’s whistle sounded. 18 minutes later, to mark the moment the ship founded – it sounded again. It struck me, and all in the audience how quickly that 18 minutes passed. In that time, one of the greatest ships the world has ever known was gone, and the lives of all those aboard were changed forever.
After the ceremony, President Higgins along with ambassadors from Britain, the U.S. and Germany laid wreaths at the memorial as a sign of respect to the victims of the Lusitania. Later that evening, Queen Victoria’s passengers witnessed a touching light parade aboard a flotilla of local boats. We then set sail for Dublin.
You can see the light parade here
“Lusitania Remembered” was a touching and significant event in the history of Cunard, and one that all of us aboard will not soon forget.
Learn more about Lusitania: http://www.chriscunard.com/lusitania.php