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Royal Edward


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Whilst researching Private Horace Davison (2nd/1st Field Ambualnce East Lancs RAMC) member pupil of King edward Retford. I discovered he was reported missing presumed drowned when the Royal Edward sank. I can find no details of the Royal Edward.

Any ideas or help most welcome



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An internet search on SS Royal Edward will be fairly fruitful.

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One of my memorial researchees is Capt Charles Marshall, 3rd East Lancs Field Ambulance who drowned on the Royal Edward. Extract from my website write-up might be of interest:-

"At the time of his death, he was working on the troopship HMS “Royal Edward” which was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea. Charles Marshall’s body was never recovered and identified and it is presumed he drowned.

Later a Lieutenant Wilson wrote to his father “They struck a mine coming from Alexandria and spent 3 or 4 hours in the water, before being picked up by a hospital ship and a destroyer. Am much afraid that Marshall who was with them went down with the ship. After seeing all his men off the ship and encouraging them, he was last seen leaning on the rail of Captain’s bridge, looking down quite calmly at them. He was so very tough and so much at home in the water, that we have not lost hope that he was picked up by some other vessel. It was very characteristic of him to get all the men off in the way he did and then to stem any panic among them by calmly standing about the bridge. It helped them a lot because several men have told me that after seeing him so calm they were led to look on the whole thing as more or less of a joke. He would fight for his life like a fiend when he got in the water.”

Lieutenant F B Smith of the Ambulance wrote in a letter home. “Of the 50 men of our Ambulance, only 3 are lost. I have not told you what a corporal of our section has told me, that he saw Capt. Marshall, long after he himself was in the water, still on the highest deck with the captain of the ship, revolver in hand, encouraging and controlling the men. He had no need to use his weapon because discipline was splendid. The men knew his worth and not one but has spoken to me sadly of our loss. Such a cool courageous “sticking to duty” was characteristic of the man he was.”

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If you look in transports sunk, loss of troops in this section there is more on the Royal Edward.


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John, Dorrie -

Chris has kindly put a link on The Long Long Trail to some work I did on men from the Burnley area who were lost on the Royal Edward.

Among them many Field Ambulance.

I've just got "Hells Foundations: A Social History of the Town of Bury in the Aftermath of the Gallipoli Campaign" , by Geoffrey Moorhouse (Henry Holt and Company, 1992).


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  • 3 weeks later...

You may also wish to search out "Fastest to Canada" covering the life of the Royal Edward "from Govan to Gallipoli" by Richard Oliff published earlier this year.

Davison's name is on panel 238 of the Helles Memorial.


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A page from my book "They are not Forgotten,"you might find interesting

Fred W



Age: 17

SERVICE NO: 24601 RANK: Private

SERVICE/REGIMENT: 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers

DECORATIONS EARNED: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal.

Victory Medal

DATE KILLED/DIED: 13thAugust 1915 LOCATION: Turkey



Private John Bailey was born in 1898 the son of Ambrose and Susannah Bailey of 11 Ripon Street, Nelson. He was employed by Messrs. Thomas and Sons Ltd., Brook Street Shed, Nelson. He was a member of St. Paul’s Church Institute. He joined the Royal Field Artillery on the 26th December 1914 and subsequently transferred to the South Wales Borderers. The South Wales Borderers embarked on the troopship “Royal Edward,” at Avonmouth along with other regiments to sail in her to Gallipoli, Turkey. Having called at Malta on the 6th August the “Royal Edward” arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on the 10th August. She sailed from Alexandria on the 12th August for Mudros with 31 Officers and 1335 men and a crew of 220. On the same day the recently arrived German submarine UB14 sailed from Bodrum, Turkey for the steamer route between Alexandria and The Dardenelles. She was under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Heino von Heimburg with a crew of 14. This small submarine of 127 tons was just over 90 feet long and less than 10 feet wide. On the 13th August, a few minutes after 9 a.m., the “Royal Edward” (11,000 tons) was torpedoed by UB14 as she was approaching Kandeliusa Island, off Kos. Just before the attack the troops had carried out boat drill so when the torpedo struck John Bailey was probably below decks, along with other men, stowing his gear. The torpedo, fired from under a mile away hit the stern. The “Royal Edward” sank quickly. The after deck was awash in three minutes and the ship had sunk with her bows in the air in six minutes. Of the 1,586 on board less than 500 were rescued, and John Bailey was not one of them. Those saved were picked up by the P & O Liner “Soudan,” in service as a hospital ship, two French destroyers and some trawlers which were near enough to the scene to help with the rescue operations. The UB14 was one of a new small class that had been brought overland, in sections, to Pola, Austria, on the Adriatic coast. She had put into the Gulf of Kos on her way from Cattero to the Bosphorus. Her lurking place was in a lonely cove called Orak Bat, ten miles east of Rudrum. The Soudan had a narrow escape from meeting the same fate as the Royal Edward, as she had passed the ill fated vessel at 9 a.m. on the morning of the disaster. On board the hospital ship “Soudan” were three local R.A.M.C. men; Privates, S. Lancaster, F. Uttley, of the Nelson St. John Ambulance Corps, and Private C. C. Chapman of the Barrowford St. The “Royal Edward” was the first British troopship to fall victim to the German submarines since the outbreak of war.

As he was lost at sea, John Bailey has no known grave and so he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial which stands at the south west tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes the form of an obelisk 100feet high that can be seen by ships passing through the Dardenelles. The memorial records the names of 20,765 men who died during the campaign between April 1915 and January 1916. His name is on panel 80 to 84 or 219/220.He is also commemorated on the Rolls of Honour in St. Paul’s church and St. Mary’s church centre.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Colne and Nelson Times War Album 1914-15


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  • 2 months later...


many thanks for the memorial pic

the J Lake listed is from my village -


Private 96 54th (1st/1st East Anglian) Casualty Clearing Station

Royal Army Medical Corps who died on Friday 13th August 1915 . Age 24 .

Presumed lost on HMS Royal Edward

Son of Mrs. Elena Elizabeth Lake, of Knight St., Walsingham, Norfolk.

also lost from the village was -


Born Lt Walsingham 1892, educated Lt Walsingham National School

Enlisted 1915 20552, 1st Bn., Essex Regiment, lost on HMS Royal Edward

who died age 31 on Friday 13th August 1915. Son of Mrs. Harriett Frary

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  • 1 month later...

My local library has just purchased this book:

FASTEST TO CANADA - The Royal Edward from Govan to Gallipoli

Written by Richard Olliff Published by Silver Link (2004) ISBN 1 85794 2337 @ £16.99.

It contains pictures of the ship inc. internal ones, newspaper reports and a 'Roll of Honour' of those lost when she sank.

See: http://www.nostalgiacollection.com/system/index.html

Click on the Silver Link button.


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