Retro: Sheffield links to wartime Lusitania disaster

File photo dated 25/12/1911 of the Lusitania moored in the Mersey, as the owner of the RMS Lusitania has accused the Irish Government of abandoning the shipwreck to pirates and treasure hunters after stringent rules on diving scuppered his plans for recovery. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 6, 2015. Gregg Bemis, an 87-year-old US entrepreneur, said tough conditions imposed on his lifelong quest to save valuable and historically important artefacts from the sinking ground 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale were "spiteful".'The Cunard vessel was torpedoed on May 7 1915 by a German U-boat en route from New York to Liverpool and sank with the loss of 1,201 lives.'See PA story IRISH Lusitania. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

File photo dated 25/12/1911 of the Lusitania moored in the Mersey, as the owner of the RMS Lusitania has accused the Irish Government of abandoning the shipwreck to pirates and treasure hunters after stringent rules on diving scuppered his plans for recovery. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 6, 2015. Gregg Bemis, an 87-year-old US entrepreneur, said tough conditions imposed on his lifelong quest to save valuable and historically important artefacts from the sinking ground 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale were "spiteful".'The Cunard vessel was torpedoed on May 7 1915 by a German U-boat en route from New York to Liverpool and sank with the loss of 1,201 lives.'See PA story IRISH Lusitania. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

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The infamous sinking of the cruise liner the Lusitania in May 1915 has been back in the news as events have taken place to marks its centenary.

A memorial service took place in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland for the 1,200 people who lost their lives at the hands of a German U-boat, including several passengers and at least one crew member with South Yorkshire links.

The Memorial service for the Lusitania, and the actions of the crew of the Wanderer'

The Memorial service for the Lusitania, and the actions of the crew of the Wanderer'

The ship itself, which was sunk off the coast of Kinsale in Ireland on its way from New York to Liverpool, was also built in 1906 at the Clydebank shipyard of a famous Sheffield firm, John Brown & Co.

The Sheffield steel firm, which merged with Thomas Firth & Sons to create Firth Brown Steels in 1902, took over the Scottish shipyard in 1899 when its bosses recognised that they could make more money manufacturing ships than just supplying components.

A Sheffield-born deck engineer, Colin Stanley Moorhouse Fenton, aged 27, was among those killed.

Colin was the son of Alderman William Carter Fenton, and Mary Fenton (nee Moorhouse), of Steade Road, Nether Edge.

He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

According to the website The Lusitania Resource (http://www.rmslusitania.info/), a US newspaper called the Cleveland Plain Dealer said that one of the passengers who was lost was Elizabeth Horton, aged 51, from Sheffield.

She travelled the United States in June 1914 to be with her daughter, Mrs Allen Bartlett ofEast Cleveland, Ohio,who had just become a mother. Elizabeth’s husband and two other daughters remained in England, awaiting her return.

According to the report: “When the war broke out, Mrs Bartlett tried to dissuade her mother from sailing as long as the conflict lasted; however, after looking over several passenger lists of arrivals on the other side, Mrs. Horton said to her daughter, ‘There. If I had taken that ship I would have been safe at home’.

“Mrs Bartlett then relented and Elizabeth booked passage on the Lusitania at Collver and Miller, Taylor arcade. Elizabeth would be taking with her pictures of her new baby granddaughter. Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s luck did not hold out and was lost.

“When news reached Mrs. Bartlett that the Lusitania had been torpedoed, Mrs Bartlett ‘was almost prostrated by fear’ and that’“the news that her fears had come true last night brought her grief to the breaking point’.”

The same newspaper also reported on William Mostoe-Kinch, aged 19, and his mother Eunice Kinch, who were returning to their native Sheffield for a visit from from Cleveland, Ohio.

They had been living in Ohio for a number of years with Mrs Kinch’s second husband and William’s stepfather, William Kinch. Mr Kinch had died prior to 1915.

On the day of the disaster William was apparently in the lounge and his mother was on deck when the torpedo hit.

Second-class passenger Stanley Lascelles Critchison, who is listed as living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was rescued from the water by a naval patrol boat called the Heron.

His wife Lilian Hayes Critchison and 13-month-old son Bernard both died.

The Commonwealth War Graves commission lists a Second World War casualty, Flying Officer Stanley Bryan Critchison of the RAF Volunteer Reserve, as the son of Stanley Lascelles Critchison and Mary Elizabeth Critchison of Sheffield.

Stanley junior died on July 10, 1942, aged 21.

Another passenger living in Hamilton was Sheffield-born Reuben Burley, aged 39. According to the Lusitania Resource website, he was a second-class passenger travelling aboard the ship with his wife Florence Burley (née Bull), their children Doris, aged nine, and baby Reginald and Florence’s mother, Elizabeth Bull.

Reuben and Florence had emigrated to Canada in 1904 when he found work as a machinist and gave up his job with the Great Central Railway in Ashton-under-Lyne, which was Elizabeth’s home town.

Mrs Bull, a widow, had been visiting the family and when she decided to return home the family apparently decided to take their family over to England for a holiday and to accompany Elizabeth on the journey. They booked second cabin passage on the Lusitania.

The entire family was lost in the sinking and only Elizabeth Bull’s body was recovered or identified.

Swedish mining engineer Gustaf Adolf Nyblom, aged 29, was on board the ship on his way from Canada, where he had been training, to Sweden via Sheffield, where he had visited his sister.

He was engaged and had been returning home to make wedding arrangements.

In 1986 The Star reported that widow Kitty Goodman, aged 74, from Cantley in Doncaster suffered the disappointment of hearing that a jewel box had not been recovered from the wreck of the Lusitania by a salvage team.

Her father, Thomas Whitley, who at the time was a soldier serving in Mesopotamia, had sent the box to his wife Martha via the ship. Kitty was just a babe in arms at the time.

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