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April/May the cruelest months

Apr 14, 2008
A recently refurbished and reopened gallery at Liver-pool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum pays tribute to three ships forever linked to the great port city of northwestern England: the White Star liner Titanic, the Cunard Line’s Lusitania and Canadian Pacific’s Empress of Ireland.

In the pantheon of worldwide maritime disasters, few passenger liners are more prominently, or tragically, represented. The Liverpool-registered Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, and went down in the mid-Atlantic, taking with her some 1,500 passengers and crew. The date: April 15, 1912.

Liverpool was the Lusitania’s home port. The ship had been steaming east from New York when she was torpedoed by a German submarine off Ireland on May 7, 1915, and sank in less than 20 minutes with a loss of 1,200 lives.
The Empress of Ireland sailed in the Canadian Pacific Line’s thriving passenger trade between Canada and Liverpool. On May 29, 1914, soon after leaving Quebec, the ship collided in dense fog with a collier and sank four miles from shore. More than 1,000 died.

On view in the restored gallery are models, memorabilia and contemporary newsreel footage of the three liners. For more information, see the Merseyside Museum’s Web site, at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime.