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Rare Lusitania memorabilia under the hammer

April 5th, 2021 11:40 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The Lusitania porthole window that was damaged during the explosion, showing a crack from the impact.

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RARE blueprints of the RMS Lusitania as well as a postcard – in which the writer expressed anxiety about a German attack just two days before it sunk – are some of the ill-fated ship’s     memorabilia that will be on auction later this month.

Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd, a leading auction house based in Wiltshire in the UK, are the world leaders in the sale of Titanic liner memorabilia but they will also be auctioning Lusitania memorabilia in the online and  telephone  bid auction on April 17th.

The Lusitania sank off the Old Head of Kinsale on May 7th 1915 after being torpedoed by a German U-boat that claimed over 2,000 lives.

Speaking to The Southern Star, managing director Andrew Aldridge said the headline act is the Titanic, and liners which also included the Lusitania.

‘There will be a reasonable amount of interest in the Lusitania memorabilia, although it’s not the main headline,’ said Andrew.

‘There is a fantastic postcard, dated May 5th 1915 to a Miss Powell and it mentions a man called George Marks. It read that his wife “is on the water now on the Lusitania, we feel a bit anxious as it was reported in the paper the Germans are going to sink her.”’

Sadly, Elizabeth Marks, who was travelling as a third class passenger with her daughter Georgina, drowned in the sinking of the ship.

There are also Lusitania postcards, which include unusual bas-relief and an example is signed by survivors Alice Drury and Avis Foley.

Also up for auction are extremely rare blueprints of the liner which show a cross sectional plan of the ship, with handwritten notation on the reverse. This blueprint was subsequently used in the British Lusitania inquiry by Alexander Galbraith, superintendent engineer for the Cunard Line.

Meanwhile, the company planning to build a state-of-the-art Lusitania museum on the Old Head of Kinsale said their GoFundMe page is going solidly since they recently launched it, with almost €14,000 raised in just a few weeks.

The Lusitania Museum/Old Head Signal Tower Heritage CLG, who are the owners of the wreck of the Lusitania after its owner Gregg Bemis bequeathed it to them in 2019, are hoping to raise €150,000 to help fund the design process.

They have released some pictures of the artefacts that were recovered from the Lusitania wreck, including a filigree window, a porthole window that was damaged during the explosion, and the port bridge single handed telegraph.

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