The Tragedy - Josiah(11)
Eight year old William Turner wanted to be a sailor and convinced his parents to let him become a cabin boy. In a few years he became second mate on the Thunderbolt. While sailing on the Thunderbolt, Turner was swept overboard on the way to Calcutta, India, fishing for dolphins. The first mate threw him a lifebuoy which kept Turner afloat for the next hour and twenty minutes while the Thunderbolt reset her sails and finally came to his rescue in the shark-infested waters. Turner had an exiting life. Yet it was far from over.
On July 28, 1914 World War I started, and the Royal Mail Steamer Lusitania, a giant ocean liner, was called for duty. Captain William Turner was assigned to the Lusitania for the ship's 101st voyage. The German Embassy in Washington had issued a warning on April 22, 1915 making the ship's passengers and crew anxious. Despite the danger, the Lusitania was ready for departure from New York on May 1, 1915. A tragedy was soon to strike!
How could that happen? Captain Turner calmed the passengers by explaining that the ship's speed made her safe from attack by a submarine. Unwisely, however, one of the ship's four boiler rooms was shut down to lower costs, reducing her speed. Soon the Lusitania steamed away. A few days later as they neared southern Ireland, there was heavy fog. Captian Turner ordered the foghorn to be sounded which concerned some of the passengers. However, the sun was soon shining over a sea as calm as glass. Although the passengers thought the danger might be over, they were sadly mistaken.
What happened on that fateful day of May 6, 1915? German Captain Schwieger of the U-20 submarine ordered one single torpedo shot into the starboard side of the Lusitania. There was a shower of debris when the torpedo hit. A few minutes later there was a second, more powerful explosion. Captian Turner ordered to turn 'hard-a-starboard,' however, the ship failed to respond. All that could be done was to abondon ship. Frantically climbing into the boats, many people fell into the sea because the boats capsized. Out of 48 lifeboats only six reached land. Captain Turner survived. Most significantly, however, firing one torpedo caused 1,195 people their lives and decided the minds of the United States citizens to join World War I, the "war to end all wars".