My Voyage From New York To Liverpool On The Lusitania

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In one of the most gruesome maritime disasters on record, most of the passengers on the RMS Lusitania unwittingly embarked on a final voyage from New York to Liverpool on 1 May 1915. The following blog entries are those of Miss Grace Hope French, a second-class passenger on the ship.

My voyage from New York to Liverpool was supposed to be aboard the Cameronia, but due to reasons unbeknownst to me, I have ended up in the Lusitania courtesy of a passenger transfer at the last minute. I have to admit, it was a pleasant surprise as all of a sudden I find myself aboard the fastest and most luxurious ship in service (Larson, 2015), and that itself is an experience to relish. As we embark on the journey across the Atlantic I find myself unfortunate enough to be sick, maybe a sign of the lingering trepidation of the dreaded German U-boats, but I am determined to keep myself in good spirits.

I still vividly recollect the events of that fateful Friday even though it all remains scarcely believable. Indeed I have to consider myself one of a lucky few to have survived such an ordeal, especially without serious harm. “Only thirteen survived, among them Miss Grace French, who breezed through the ordeal with aplomb” (pg. 282). We had not truly believed that our liner could actually be attacked even though it was a possibility, and it was due to this assumption that my newly made friend, Mr. Prichard and I, were caught completely off-guard by the incident. Mr. Prichard was In the process of taking me through the deck as we sought to catch a glimpse of my double, whom he had met earlier. Suddenly, there was a terrible blow to the side of the ship and the nightmare began unfolding. The ship’s immediate list toward the starboard made me lose my footing and bearing, I also, unfortunately, lost trace of Mr. Prichard in the confusion.

My hysteria at the moment was evident, by my survival instincts would not let me give up easily. I searched in vain for a lifebelt on the deck, trying to ready myself for the water when a second explosion rang out, what I presumed to be another torpedo explosion. At this point, my hysteria surged and I was convinced that the ship was sinking too rapidly to allow me the time to plan a proper escape. In one fell swoop, I took off my heavy coat, climbed up and over the rail into the water to face my doom or survive at all costs. In hindsight, perhaps my terrible fear was useful to my decisiveness in a survival situation.

Having jumped without a lifebelt, it was only through fortune that I managed to rise to the surface and hold on to a floating piece of wood. Eventually, a collapsible lifeboat came to my rescue and delivered me safely to land. I regrettably could not trace my friend Mr. Prichard in the aftermath. It beggars belief that such a horrific deed could be meted out on innocent civilians on a voyage that had nothing to do with the war. Instinctively, I can only empathize with the other survivors who also have grave tales of loss to move on from.


Works Cited

Larson Erick. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Crown Publishers, 2015. Print

November 13, 2023



World War I

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