The Sinking of the Lusitania

In May 1915 the passenger ship RMS Lusitania was sunk by German torpedoes.

The Doncaster Chronicle, 14 May 1915. Local Studies Library.

Four Doncaster people died in the tragedy, which claimed over 1000 lives. Anti-German riots followed around Doncaster and across the country.

After German torpedoes sunk the Lusitania in May 1915, anti-German feeling intensified across the U.K. This followed news of German gas attacks during the Second Battle of Ypres and reports of poor treatment of prisoners of war in German camps. In Doncaster the shops of local German citizens, and those only suspected of being German, were attacked.

Two of the local victims of the Lusitania disaster, George Somerville Rolfe, the vicar of Kirk Bramwith’s son and 22 year old Sarah Wilson from Armthorpe, featured in the Doncaster Chronicle, May 14, 1915 where the Germans were described as ‘murderers.’

Sarah was coming over from New York to get married, which the Chronicle described as ‘making her death all the more melancholy’.