Though often guilty of a trivialising, 'light entertainment' approach, newsreel Topical Budget was capable of covering disaster stories with poignancy. This item records the wreckage of the hospital ship HMHS Rohilla, which ran aground on its way to aid wounded soldiers at the front. The wreck sat just 500 metres from the shore at Whitby, making possible these haunting images.
The Rohilla is remembered as one of Whitby's worst and most tragic shipwrecks (85 doctors lost their lives) and as a renowned lifesaving story. Six lifeboats were involved in the rescue, including Whitby's no. 2 lifeboat (seen here) which suffered severe damage after being dragged by hand over the beach and rocks. The three-day rescue operation succeeded in saving 145 people from the stranded ship, among them was Miss Mary Roberts, a nurse who had already survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic two years earlier.