September 5, 1917 – German Submarine U-88 Strikes Mines, Captain Walther Schwieger, who Sank the Lusitania, Dies
Pictured – Schwieger sank the Lusitania while captain of U-20. Six weeks before his death he had been awarded the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest order.
Some of the first Americans to die in France fell on September 5, 1917, when German shellfire killed two American engineers working on a railway at Gouzeaucourt behind the lines. The United States had some symbolic vengeance that day too, however.
German U-boat U-88 struck Royal Navy mines off Terschelling and sank. Her captain, Walther Schwieger went down with the ship. In 1915 he had been the officer who sank the Cunard liner RMS Lusitania, killing many passengers, among them 128 Americans. The act had greatly angered the American government and public. Just six months prior to his death, Schwieger had been awarded the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest award, for his role sinking more than 190,000 tons of Allied shipping. The citation made no mention of the 30,000-ton Lusitania, his largest victim by far.