Lusitania Riots


LUSITANIA RIOTS were public outbursts of anti-German sentiment in VICTORIA following the sinking of the British passenger liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine on 7 May 1915. Feelings ran high because among the 1,195 fatalities were 15 people from Victoria, including James Dunsmuir, son of the former LT GOV. When word spread that local GERMANS were celebrating the sinking, an angry crowd smashed up German-owned businesses while the police watched. The mayor was forced to read the Riot Act and call out troops to maintain the peace. On 10 May, anger bubbled to the surface once again and another mob marched on Government House (see CARY CASTLE), home of then Lt Gov Francis BARNARD: Barnard's wife Martha Loewen was a member of a prominent German family. Once again troops had to be deployed at the residence. There was no more rioting, but the incidents culminated in public calls for the internment of BC's German population.