York expert to examine Lusitania finds

York Press: A porthole from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania A porthole from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania

THE expertise of a York conservator has been called upon by a team hired to examine new discoveries from a famous shipwreck.

Ian Panter, principal conservator at York Archaeological Trust, is heading to Ireland to work on items recovered from the underwater remains of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania, which sank off the Irish coast in 1915.

The latest finds – a telemotor, which was part of the ship’s steering mechanism, its telegraph and four portholes – were retrieved from the hull of the vessel last week in almost 330ft of water.

Mr Panter is also currently working on the Swash Channel wreck, the UK’s largest maritime archaeology project, from which a 400-year-old merman is currently on display at the DIG exhibition at York’s Hungate site, and has worked on two cast-iron cannons at the Tower of London recovered from the Elizabethan shipwreck off Alderney.

He said: “The Lusitania’s telegraph will, I hope, provide evidence of the very last command given to the engine room by its captain immediately after being hit by a torpedo. It could therefore shed more light on the events surrounding the so-called ‘second explosion’ which some people claim to have seen.”

Mr Panter will work with Irish maritime archaeologists Laurence Dunne and Julianna O’Donoghue to carry out the conservation at a facility in Co. Kerry.

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