A forgotten 'casualty' of the sinking of the Lusitania
Many stories will be retold in relation to the torpedo attack on the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, which has its 100th anniversary this week. One worth telling is that of Jerome B Murphy, who - as the Cunard Line manager in Cobh - did everything he could to help the survivors and the victims. His great-granddaughter Bayveen O'Connell recently wrote of the impact it had on him. She thought of two words about his experience - brave and alone.
On hearing of the attack, he asked the British Admiralty to send their ships in Cobh to help the liner. They did not do so, possibly wary of a submarine attack on their ships. It was boats from Cobh, Kinsale and other areas which went to their aid and picked up survivors from the lifeboats and the sea.
He booked rooms in hotels and lodgings for the survivors, arranged medical help for the injured and ordered coffins for the dead. There was much to do. He had to identify more than 160 deceased passengers - men, women and children - noting their remains and items like watches or jewellery and their eye and hair colour. Not all could be identified.