The victims of the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania were honoured at a ceremony in Co Cork yesterday.
The Cunard passenger liner was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the Old Head of Kinsale in Co Cork while en route to Liverpool on May 7, 1915, with the loss of 1,198 lives, many of whom were US citizens.
The disaster was pivotal in prompting the US to enter World War I.
Most of the bodies were landed in Cobh and almost 100 were buried in three mass graves in the ‘Old Church Cemetery’, just north of the town.
Most of the 764 people who were rescued were also brought to Cobh.
Yesterday, passengers travelling aboard the second largest Cunard liner ever built, the MV Elizabeth, were among the attendees at a Lusitania Memorial Service in the town.
Commodore Christopher Rynd, master of the MV Queen Elizabeth, said there was an “eternal connection” between Cobh, the Lusitania and Cunard.
“It is a stark reminder of the tragedy of war,” he said.
“The sinking of the Lusitania was a human catastrophe on a scale that this town had not experienced before or since.
“Survivors have noted the generous hospitality of the people of Queenstown for the dead, injured and bereaved and for that, we also pay tribute to the people of Cobh today.”
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Port of Cork and local dignitaries, St Colman’s Pipe Band and representatives of ONE.
In Jan 2011 the last survivor of the Lusitania, Audrey Lawson-Johnston, died aged 95.
She was only three months when she boarded the vessel with her parents, two sisters, brother and their two maids.
Her sisters, Amy and Susan, died in the disaster and were buried in Cobh.
The €500m MV Queen Elizabeth and her 3,000 passengers sailed from Cobh just before 5pm last night.
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