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© Copyright Kerry McCoy
© Copyright Kerry McCoy

Sibling Rivalry

RMS Lusitania and RMS Mauretania passing at sea, spring 1908.

In the vast expanse of the open North Atlantic, Cunard's speed queens of the Edwardian era - Lusitania and Mauretania - pass each other at speed in the spring of 1908. Affectionately known by passengers and crew alike as "Lucy" and "Maury," the sisters engaged in a friendly, sisterly competition for the coveted Blue Riband - a prestigious award given to the passenger liner that made the fastest average crossing of the Atlantic. During their first few years of service, they stole the award from each other over and over again until, in 1909, Mauretania won it back with the slightest edge over her older sister. No matter how hard Lusitania's crew tried, they couldn't win it back. Mauretania would go on to hold the record for the next twenty years, until the debut of Germany's superliner Bremen in 1929. Lusitania would remain a favorite, but would tragically fall victim to a torpedo from the German submarine U-20 on May 7, 1915, off the Old Head of Kinsale. 1,198 lives would be lost, among them 128 Americans. The sinking - and the resulting deaths of neutral American citizens - would be one of the contributing factors in the United States' entry into WWI.


In this windswept scene set during happier times, Lusitania is going for the westbound record once again as she races towards New York, while Mauretania is returning to Liverpool.

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