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Lusitania & Mauretania


The Lusitania and Mauretania were together designed to win back the Blue Riband from the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
The government lent them the money on condition that they were capable of being armed in times of national emergency - which was just as well as this was exactly what was to happen in later years.
Both ships were 785 feet long and weighed 32,000 tonnes.

The were so fast (exceeding 25 knots) that White Star Line decided that their trio of ships - Olympic, Titanic and Britannic would have to be larger and more luxurious rather than faster.

LusitaniaR.M.S. Lusitania

Launched on the 7th of June 1906 the Lusitania was the largest vessel afloat at the time and the first with steam turbines and was capable of 25 knots.
It was estimated that 200,000 people gathered to see her leave for New York from Liverpool on her maiden voyage.


On the 1st of May 1915 she left New York with 1959 passengers on board. By the 7th of May she had entered the wartime danger zone. The lifeboats were swung out, the bulkhead doors were all kept closed, look-outs were doubled and she was ready for full speed in case of emergency. She was hit and sunk by a German torpedo at 2.15pm just as the passengers were finishing lunch. She took just 20 minutes to sink with the loss of 1198 lives.



The MauretaniaR.M.S. Mauretania

The Mauretania held the Blue Riband from 1909 to 1929 and in later years was capable of averaging more than 26 knots on the transatlantic run.

I'll let Franklin D Roosevelt explain:-

"When she was born in 1907 the Mauretania was the largest thing ever put together by man.  She always fascinated me with her graceful, yacht-like lines, her four enormous black-topped red funnels and her appearance of power and good breeding."

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