The outbreak of war brought big changes to Doncaster. By January 1915, the Doncaster Gazette reported that almost 4,000 local men had volunteered for the military. Many buildings were taken over to house troops and care for sick soldiers. From August 1914, the racecourse was used as a camp for soldiers. Local industry also played its part in the war effort. The Great Northern Railway’s Doncaster Works (the ‘Plant’) provided railway support for the movement of coal, troops and munitions and even began to produce munitions itself.

In May 1915 the passenger ship RMS Lusitania was sunk by German torpedoes. Four Doncaster people died in the tragedy, which claimed over 1000 lives. Anti-German riots followed around Doncaster and across the country.

Belgian refugees arrived in Doncaster in October 1914 and were entertained at the Mansion House. Many remained throughout the war, and were helped by voluntary donations from local people.

Use the sidebar on the left to learn more about Doncaster places during the First World War.