Fifty years after the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine witnesses recall their memories of the event.

The Cunard ocean liner RMS Lusitania sank on 7 May 1915 when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat eleven miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in County Cork. 1,198 passengers died and 761 survived. The ship had been bound for Liverpool from New York with a stopover at Cobh.

Witnesses describe what they saw and heard that day when the torpedo hit the ill-fated ship.

A couple recall hearing the explosion and the husband actually saw the ship go down fifty five minutes later.

A woman who was on board the Lusitania describes how she survived in the water by hanging on to a man's coat tails. She was in the water for between three and five hours before getting into a rescue boat.

There was immediate international and local action to the attack. An inquest into the sinking of the Lusitania opened on 8 May by County Coroner and Solicitor John J Horgan. The jury returned the following verdict.

We find this appalling crime was contrary to international law and the conventions of all civilised nations. We therefore charge the officers of the submarine and the Emperor and Government of Germany under whose orders they acted with the crime of wilful, wholesale murder before the tribunal of the civilised world. 

He goes on to describe the object of the German attack.

A spectacular sinking of a great ship and of course the Lusitania was the pride of the British mercantile marine.

 This episode of 'Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 7 May 1965. The reporters are Bill O'Herlihy and Kevin O'Kelly.