Craig J. Hansen

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Single Release: Lusitania

Sinking of the Lusitania. Engraving by Norman Wilkinson, The Illustrated London News, May 15, 1915. P. 631. | Public Domain

I wrote this song to try to capture a little bit of the tragedy of the Lusitania. I read a book about it a few years ago and I’ve always thought it might be a good subject for a song, but had not really figured out how to approach it. Easiest way for me is to tell a story, so that’s what I did. The Lusitania was sunk in 1915, the second year of World War I by a German U-boat submarine. It was clearly a passenger liner, and even though it was very likely carrying some munitions, it was civilian transport. Still, the German U-boat captain torpedoed it. It sank within sight of the Irish coast. The Titanic took hours to sink, and the Lusitania, an enormous ship, sunk in 18 minutes, reducing the chance for passengers to abandon ship. Also, it listed heavily to one side so that it was very difficult to launch the lifeboats. And some of the lifeboats were not properly maintained or did not have their plugs installed, so that they sank as soon as they reached the water. The water was 52° and it took 3 hours for Irish fishing boats to reach the survivors. About 1200 men, women, and children perished in this totally unnecessary act of war.

The song is available on all streaming services, and if you do not have a music service, you can access the song on YouTube:

If you would like to check out the lyrics: