Recreational divers have recovered the main ship’s telegraph from the WW1 wreck of the RMS Lusitania at the Head of Kinsale off Ireland’s west Cork coast. The artefact is now undergoing preliminary conservation ashore.
Previous attempts to raise the telegraph a year ago had proved unsuccessful after equipment failed, although another telegraph was recovered from the wreck last October.
The divers, licensed by Ireland’s Department for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs (DAHRRGA) and with the consent of the wreck‘s US owner Gregg Bemis, reported that they had located the telegraph on the seabed and marked its position. It was brought to the surface under the supervision of an archaeologist from the department’s National Monuments Service.
The Lusitania was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat on 7 May, 1915, while sailing from New York to Liverpool. The cause of a second explosion that resulted in the vessel sinking with the loss of 1198 lives is still being investigated. The wreck is covered by an Underwater Heritage Order because of its international and historical importance.
“I understand that the telegraph is undamaged and in excellent condition,” said Culture Minister Heather Humphreys.
She said she understood that Bemis intended “to place the telegraph and the pedestal successfully recovered last year on display in a local museum, along with other artefacts he has recovered during earlier dives – which is great news for the local community”.