A TERRIBLE COINCIDENCE (Illustration) Famous Historical Events World History Disasters World War I

Because the British Admiralty knew that a lurking German U-Boat had already sunk three ships off Ireland's southern coast, its staff directed Lusitania to head for Queenstown.  That directive put the great ship in a much-worse position, enabling SM U-20 to fire a well-aimed torpedo at Lusitania. Map image online via Eyewitness to History.


The great ship was making good time. Just west of the Old Head of Kinsale on Ireland's southern coast, she was about 14 miles offshore. Lusitania had passed this familiar landmark before.

The morning (May 7th) had been foggy. Captain Turner had reduced his speed to about 18 knots. Despite the fog, Kapitän-Leutnant (Kptlt) Walther Schwieger and his SM U-20 crew had been busy.

The British Admiralty became alarmed when they heard a submarine was successfully plying the waters along the south Irish Channel. Three ships had already been attacked and sank.

Admiralty officials knew Lusitania was on her way to Liverpool. They issued a warning:

Submarine active in southern part of Irish Channel, last heard of twenty miles south of Conningbeg light vessel. Make certain Lusitania gets this.

Captain Turner was directed to make port at Queenstown instead of continuing to Liverpool. That would get the ship and her passengers off the water, and out of potential danger, much more quickly.

There was, however, a serious problem with the effect of that directive. As the Lusitania changed course, she put herself in a much-worse position.

She was now within range of the lurking, unseen U-20.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Aug 11, 2017

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"A TERRIBLE COINCIDENCE" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2004. May 26, 2020.
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