Propeller from RMS Lusitania

Contributed by National Museums Liverpool

Port-side propeller and cone from Cunard ship RMS Lusitania © National Museums Liverpool

The sinking was a major factor that brought the United States in to the war in 1917It was one of four that drove RMS Lusitania across the Atlantic. Lusitania and her sister-ship Mauretania were originally fitted with three-bladed propellers. In 1908 Mauretania had a new set of four-bladed propellers fitted, which immediately improved her speed. In early 1909, Lusitania also had hers replaced. She was the first ocean liner to be propelled by quadruple screws, the first ship of over 700 feet in length to be powered by turbine engines, and the first of a number of four-funnelled passenger liners. The Cunard ship was returning to Liverpool from New York when she was torpedoed by German submarine U-20 off the coast of southern Ireland, on 7 May 1915. She sank in less than 20 minutes and 1198 men, women and children perished. The propeller was salvaged by Oceaneering International Services Ltd in 1982. Each year on the anniversary the museum holds a memorial service around it to remember those who lost their lives.

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