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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: News of ocean liner’s sinking stokes anxiety for servicemen’s families

German torpedoes sunk the the British ocean liner Tuscania with three companies of Spokane soldiers aboard. (Spokesman-Review archives)
German torpedoes sunk the the British ocean liner Tuscania with three companies of Spokane soldiers aboard. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A German submarine torpedoed the British ocean liner Tuscania – and this news was greeted with dread in Spokane.

Three companies of Spokane soldiers were believed to be on board the Tuscania.

The Spokesman-Review ran a lengthy list of names of men in those companies. At press time, nobody knew for certain whether the Spokane men were among the dead and missing. However, there was some heartening news in the wire story about the sinking. Authorities estimated that only 113 of the 2,156 American soldiers on board were missing. British ships had rescued most of the Tuscania passengers.

When the Spokane Daily Chronicle came out that afternoon, the news was even better. It reported that none of the Spokane men on the Tuscania were reported lost and that “unquestionably practically all of those are alive.”

That did not prevent anxious Spokane parents from worrying.

“I’m a little afraid for my son George, because he weighed 235 pounds,” said Mrs. Frisbie. “He said that the harder they worked him, the heavier he got, and he had never learned to swim.”

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