Gosberton man in Lusitania rescue

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
Have your say

A Gosberton man was one of the survivors of the Lusitania disaster in which 1,400 people died.

This newspaper reported that German piracy had “reached its climax” when the great Cunard liner Lusitania, with more than 2,000 people on board, was torpedoed by a submarine.

A total of 1,400 women and children were sent to their death by what the paper called, “the Germans’ crowning act of barbarism”.

She sank so rapidly that only a small number of boats could be launched, and it was thought at that time only 764 passengers and crew were rescued.

Martin Payne, the son of the Rev C A Payne, the vicar of Gosberton, was one of the fortunate survivors.

The paper said he had been employed in America and was coming home to enlist when disaster struck.

His parents were unaware of his intentions so it came as a surprise when they received a telegram to say he was safe and landed at Queenstown in Ireland.

It was reported that fishing boats and other craft at Kinsale and neighbouring ports in Ireland responded to the distress signals sent by the liner, and every available warship, tug and other vessel was dispatched.

Motors, stretchers and ambulances were requisitioned to convey the rescued to all the hotels in the town. Many were limping , with bandages on heads and arms in slings.

The paper reported: “The unfortunate men and women, in their sea-soaked clothing, and suffering from cuts and bruises and shock, were in a sorry plight.”

It was reported that several travellers, as soon as they realised the liner was sinking, jumped into the sea wearing life vests and were not rescued until six hours later. Most of the ship’s officers drowned, but the captain was picked up.