Guardian: New files show Lusitania salvage divers warned of danger from war munitions in 1982Submitted by SteveMT on Sat, 05/03/2014 - 18:06
Searching the British National Archives at Kew for these actual newly released documents has revealed absolutely nothing.
Lusitania divers warned of danger from war munitions in 1982, papers reveal
Foreign Office warning that operation 'could literally blow up on us' reopens debate over German rationale for sinking liner
30 April 2014
A 1980s salvage operation on the wreck of the Lusitania, the Cunard luxury liner that was torpedoed in the first world war, triggered a startling Foreign Office warning that its sinking could still "literally blow up on us".
Newly released secret Whitehall files disclose that a Ministry of Defence warning that "something startling" was going to be found during the August 1982 salvage operation raised such serious concerns that previously undeclared war munitions and explosives might be found that divers involved were officially warned in the strongest terms of the possible "danger to life and limb" they faced.
Foreign Office officials also voiced serious concerns that a final British admission that there were high explosives on the Lusitania could still trigger serious political repercussions with America even though it was nearly 70 years after the event.
In 1918 a New York judge had ruled that there were 4,200 cases of safety cartridges, 18 fuse cases and 125 shrapnel cases without any powder charge on board the liner when it went down but that these did not constitute "war munitions". He added that the Lusitania had not been armed or carried any high explosives.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) even went so far as to warn divers planning to explore the wreck that it could contain explosives – even though it had always maintained the ship was not carrying any on her final, fateful voyage.
The sinking of the Lusitania on 7 May, 1915 with the loss of 1,198 lives – 124 of them American – as she neared the end of her run from New York to Liverpool was one of the pivotal events of the war.