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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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In   early   May   1915,   the   Cunard   liner   The   Lusitania    was   in   the   final   stages   of   her   voyage   from   New   York   to   Liverpool.   Just   off   the   southern coast   of   Ireland   she   was   torpedoed   by   a   German   submarine   and   following   a   massive   explosion   in   the   cargo   hold   of   the   ship,   sank   in   just 18   minutes.   It   was   (and   still   is)   speculated   that   the   Lusitania   was   carrying   armaments   amongst   her   cargo,   hence   the   severity   of   the   on- board   explosion,   and   thus   justifying   Germany’s   treatment   of   the   ship   as   a   legitimate   “war”   target.   That   aside,   the   British   propaganda machine   made   full   use   of   the   sinking   to   ensure   that   the   British   public   were   left   in   no   doubt   as   to   the   wickedness   and   brutality   of,   not just the German army, but the German nation as a whole.   Coming just 3 years after the tragic sinking of the Titanic, even the residents of Barns Green would have known about the Lusitania. THE LUSITANIA TORPEDOED AND SUNK GREAT LOSS OF LIFE Yesterday   afternoon   the   German   submarine   pirates   committed   the   most   infamous   outrage   of   which   they   have   yet   been   guilty   by torpedoing   and   sinking   the   famous   Cunard   liner   Lusitania,   at   a   point   eight   miles   south   by   west   of   the   Old   Head   of   Kinsale,   near Queenstown. The   fresh   crime   was   perpetrated   without   the   least   warning   of   the   submarine’s   intentions   and   without   any   opportunity   being   given to   remove   the   2,000   person   aboard   the   steamer,   who   included   upwards   of   1,300   passengers   among   them   many   women   and children. WEST SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES 8 th  May 1915    After   hearing   evidence   at   the   inquest   at   Kinsale   on   five   victims   of   the   Lusitania,   the   jury   found   that   the   crime   was   contrary   to international   law,   and   added:   “We   therefore   charge   the   officers   of   the   submarine   and   the   German   Emperor   and   the   Government   of Germany, under whose orders they acted, with wilful and wholesale murder.”    “.   .   .   .the   news   has   brought   men   flocking   to   the   colours   .   .   .   the   German   name   is   blackened   throughout   the   world   as   it   has   never been before; German repute is a stench in the nostrils of humanity all round the globe. . .” WEST SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES 15th May 1915
The Lusitania