By Brendan Mcdaid - Derry Journal
The council was told that a recent exhibition and series of projects to mark the 100th anniversary of the Laurentic tragedy had generated major interest and resulted in a surge in visitor numbers to the Tower Museum.
The Laurentic exhibition tells the story of the famous White Star Line ship, commandeered by the Royal Navy to transport gold to Canada to buy ammunition for the war effort in 1917.
The ship sank off Lough Swilly on January 25, 1917 after striking two German mines, with 354 sailors perishing in the disaster. The 121 survivors were cared for in Inishowen and eventually brought to the Guildhall in Derry for a meal by the then mayor, Alderman R.N. Anderson and donations collected for them from across Derry and Donegal.
For the 100th anniversary, The Laurentic Bell, a prized artefact was loaned from the shipwreck centre in the Isle of Wight.
The Council Committee was told that the bell will be auctioned for sale in the coming months. Officers proposed that they “consider the purchase of the Laurentic Bell as a key permanent display in the new maritime museum,” with a fuller report on this expected at a later date.