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Courtmacsherry RNLI pay tribute to those lost on Lusitania this Monday 7 May

Lifeboats News Release

For the past 103 years the crews of Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat Station have laid a wreath over the site of RMS Lusitania.

RNLI/Garry Barrett

The crew of Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat on board The Frederick Story Cockburn and a replica of the Kezia Gwilt as the crew re enact the heroic call to service 103 years ago.

In Courtmacsherry Bay, the old British Royal Navy watch tower of the Seven Heads peninsula is the closest point of land to the Lusitania tragedy at 11.2 nautical miles. Courtmacsherry Harbour is also home to a one of the earliest established lifeboat stations in Ireland, founded in 1825, and at the time of the Lusitania tragedy, located at Barry’s Point in Courtmacsherry.

On 7 May 1915, the Lusitania, a British Cunard line ocean liner was on passage from New York when she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat south of Courtmacsherry Bay, with the loss of 1,201 lives. The Courtmacsherry RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted to the tragedy and due to the fine weather that day, the sails were of no use so they rowed the Kezia Gwilt Lifeboat to the scene of the sinking.

The sea was strewn with the dead, some with lifebelts on, others holding on to pieces of rafts. The volunteers of Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat Kezia Gwilt spent six hours on scene, taking bodies from the water.

In 2015 the present lifeboat crew and residents of Courtmacsherry village, many of whom are related to the original 1915 RNLI Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat crew who were called to service, staged a re-enactment of that heroic row by the then lifeboat crew to the site of the Lusitania.

Since that ill-fated day the crew of Courtmacsherry Harbour lifeboat annually pay tribute to those lost by laying a wreath over the wreck of RMS Lusitania.

If anyone would like the crew to lay a wreath on their behalf for those lost on the Lusitania they can bring it to Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat Station before 12.30pm on Monday 7 May.


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Garry Barrett, Courtmacsherry RNLI Volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 0863342246, email e[email protected] or Vincent O’Donovan, Courtmacsherry RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 0862530637 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon RNLI Regional Media Officer Ireland on 00353876483547 or email [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Regional Media Manager Ireland on 00353871254124 or [email protected]

RNLI/Garry Barrett

The annual laying of a wreath over the site of RMS Lusitania

RNLI/Garry Barrett

Over RMS Lusitania

RNLI/Garry Barrett

The present crew of Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat re enact the row to RMS Lusitania 2015

RNLI/Garry Barrett

The past crew of Courtmacsherry Harbour Lifeboat 1915

RNLI/Garry Barrett

Nearly home

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.