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Mary Elizabeth Richardson Tripe, Lieutenant-Commander W E Sanders, VC, DSO, RNR, c.1920

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 487

More About this Record

William Edward Sanders (1883-1917) was born in Auckland, and joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1915. He was commissioned a sub-lieutenant, and was assigned to the Q-ship force (Q-ships were attack vessels disguised as civilian ships). Sanders was second in command and gunnery officer of the SV "Helgoland", and in 1917 was promoted to acting lieutenant and given command of the Q-ship HMS "Prize". He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his "conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness and skill in command of one of His Majesty's ships" in the action that severely damaged the U-boat U-93 (it was initially believed to have been sunk) in the Irish Sea, on 30 April 1917. The "Prize" was badly damaged, but Sanders ensured that the vessel made it back to port.

Promoted to Lieutenant-Commander, Sanders was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for leading the "Prize" on another attack on an enemy submarine on 12 June 1917. Sadly Lieutenant-Commander Sanders was killed when the "Prize" was sunk by U-48 on 14 August 1917.

This portrait of Lieutenant-Commander Sanders shows the HMS "Prize" in the background.

(Posthumous Portrait)

Oil, 1220 x 870mm
Irish Sea
Medals: Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order

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