May 7, 2005, marked the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard liner RMS Lusitania. A casualty of war, the Lusitania was nearing the completion of another uneventful Atlantic crossing when she became the target of German submarine U-20 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland. Hit on the starboard side, she quickly listed and sank in only 18 minutes with the loss of 1,198 men, women, and children. Lusitania’s sinking remains one of the most infamous acts in maritime history.

RMS Lusitania was one of the best-known and best-loved passenger ships ever to sail the transatlantic route. She was only surpassed in the public’s regard by a handful of other liners, one of which was her running mate, RMS Mauretania. “Lucy” and her sister “Mary”, as they were affectionately called by their many admirers, were the first of a new generation of large liners to be completely turbine driven when they entered service in 1907. This arrangement gave them tremendous speed on the Atlantic run, and because of it, the two sisters each held the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing many times over the course of their careers.

This beautiful, unused postcard by Raphael Tuck & Sons of England is one in their “celebrated liners” series. It shows RMS Lusitania on one of her many Atlantic crossings, her bows cutting through the seas while clouds of black smoke stream downward and behind as she attempts yet another record run.

Line: Cunard
Port of Registry: Liverpool
Built: John Brown & Company Limited, Clydebank, Scotland
Keel Laid: May, 1905
Launched: June 7, 1906
Maiden Voyage: Liverpool – Queenstown – New York on September 7, 1907
Capacity: 563 First, 464 Second, 1,138 Third (total of 2,165)
Engines: Four direct-drive Parson steam turbines (two high pressure and two low pressure) generating 68,000 hp, geared to quadruple screws
Boilers: 25 cylindrical Scotch (23 double-ended, 2 single-ended) in 4 boiler rooms
Length Overall: 787' Yard Number: 367
Width: 88' Gross Tonnage: 31,550
Height: 61' Net Tonnage: 12,611
Furnaces: 192 Decks: 6
Speed: 25 knots Watertight Bulkheads: 11
Max. Speed Attained: 26.7 knots Steam Pressure: 195 psi

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