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The Cunard passenger ship LUISITANIA was torpedoed by the German submarine U20 on the 7th May 1915, 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale lighthouse on the Irish coast. Of 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 people were drowned, including 128 Americans. The sinking caused outrage as the British government claimed that she was an unarmed merchant ship and was not carrying war material. At this time the United States of America was neutral but the loss of 128 citizens started a tide of public feeling against Germany which eventually resulted with the U.S.A. joining the war on the allies’ side. Amongst the crew were three local men – John Idwal Lewis. Third Officer born Porthmadog 1885 William Williams. Master at Arms born Tremadog 1869 Robert Henry Duncan Born 1873 Liverpool. Third Engineer was related by marriage to a Porthmadog family All three survived after spending several hours in the water. Not so fortunate was Walter Mclean, a business man travelling first class, who was drowned. He was born in Porthmadog and his mother resided there at the time of the disaster.

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