Sunday, May 27, 2007

Great Uncle George, the Lusitania and the U-20

pic. RMS Lusitania

In 1915, whilst grandfather Charles was in France with the Northumberland Fusiliers, his elder brother George was working for the Hudson Bay Company in Canada, but his decision to return to England in May of that year was to put him right on the front line in an unexpected way.

George's route home was via New York City, leaving from Pier 54 on 1 May 1915 aboard the Cunard Line's RMS Lusitania. She and her sister ship the Mauretania were the fastest liners of their day.

Tragically, the Lusitania was never to reach her destination as she was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine, the U-20, and sank at 2:28 pm on 7 May, 8 miles off of the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland.

Of the 1,962 people on board only 761 survived, including Great Uncle George who was treated in Ireland for a broken rib before returning home, via London, to Newcastle upon Tyne.