Neither the Lusitania nor the Titanic was the largest maritime disaster, not by a long shot. Yet somehow, their fateful journeys remain a source of intrigue for both researchers and curiosity seekers.
The largest loss of lives occurred during World War II in the frigid Baltic Sea. On Jan. 30, 1945, a Soviet submarine sunk Germany’s Wilhelm Gustloff.
On board the transport ship were thousands of German civilians. It is estimated that 6,000 to 9,000 people perished.
Listed below are more facts and figures that strictly concern the Lusitania and Titanic.
- The Lusitania was built in Clydebank, Scotland. The construction of the Titanic took place at Belfast in the north of Ireland.
- While both were passenger ships, the Lusitania was owned by the Cunard Line. The Titanic was part of the White Star Line.
- There were approximately 1,959 people aboard the Lusitania and about 1,198 would die. As for the Titanic, an estimated 2,240 passengers and crew set sail on the Titanic, with only about 717 people surviving.
- Twelve Butte people were among the Lusitania’s passengers, four would perish. Nine Butte people boarded the Titanic, including Copper King W.A. Clark’s nephew Walter Clark, who went down with the ship.
- The Lusitania counted amongst its passengers 159 Americans, with only 35 surviving. An estimated 306 American passengers boarded the Titanic, with 119 perishing.
- American financier Alfred G. Vanderbilt was one lucky guy when he canceled his trip aboard the Titanic. He was not so lucky three years later, as the millionaire boarded the Lusitania in New York City. The 37-year-old went down with the ship.
- In the aftermath, William Thomas Turner, the Lusitania’s captain, survived by clinging to a chair and was soon rescued. The Titanic’s Captain Edward Smith went down with the ship.
- Only four of the 35 infants on board the Lusitania survived. Of the 124 children, including infants, on the Lusitania, 30 children survived. Of the 109 children who set sail on the Titanic, only 56 would survive.
- The Lusitania, built by John Brown & Company, was 787 feet long and boasted 48 lifeboats. Harland & Wolff constructed the Titanic, which was more than 882 feet long but had just 20 lifeboats.
- Noted for its speed, the Lusitania’s maiden voyage was Sept. 7, 1907, out of Liverpool, England … final destination New York City. The “unsinkable” Titanic left Southampton, England April 10, 1912. Its final destination was NYC as well.
- It took just 18 minutes for the Lusitania to sink off the southern coast of Ireland. Just 400 miles south of Newfoundland, the Titanic stayed afloat a lot longer … 2 hours and 40 minutes, the stern was the last to slip under the ocean waves.
- The Lusitania sunk on its starboard side 300 feet below the surface. As for the Titanic, it lies on the ocean bed, 12,600 feet down.
- When the Lusitania was hit, the water’s temperature was 52 degrees. As the Titanic sunk, the Atlantic was quite a bit colder at 28 degrees.
- More than seven months after the fact, Risca Williams, a member of a popular Welsh male choir, came to Butte to talk to an audience about his experiences aboard the Lusitania and how he survived.