George and Martin Edwards
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George Edwards

born: Penzance, Cornwall, 1877

rank: Deck Hand on H.M. Trawler "Star of Freedom" Royal Naval Reserve

died: 19th April 1917, off Trevose Head, Cornwall

Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, and the Penzance War Memorial

Martin Edwards

born: Penzance, Cornwall, 1879

rank: Leading Seaman 2632C on S.S. "Bandon" Royal Naval Reserve

died: 13th April 1917, off Mine Head, Co. Cork, Ireland

Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, and the Penzance War Memorial

History

George and Martin were mariners like their father John and brothers William and Frederick.  They were seamen rather than fishermen, and as such were able to join the Royal Naval Reserve.  Martin must have been an enthusiastic recruit, because when his family composed the additional information recorded by the War Graves Commission they included 'Long Service and Good Conduct Medal'.  He had attained the rank of Leading Seaman.  George was also in the Royal Naval Reserve, but in the Trawler Section, which recruited fishermen as well as mariners.  The Trawler section was responsible for mine sweeping and patrol in coastal waters.

Martin's story

Martin was serving aboard the SS Bandon, a City of Cork Steam Packet Company ship of 668 tons.  She left Liverpool for Cork on 12th April laden with a cargo of provisions, and with a crew of 32 men and officers. 

The Bandon was off Mine Head near Dungarvan only a few miles from her home port of Cork, when she was struck by a torpedo fired by a German submarine.  The torpedo hit the port side near the engine room and began to sink immediately. 

Of the 32 men aboard, only five were pulled from the water alive, and one of these John Courtney died a few days later.  26 went down with the ship, two others, although they survived the sinking, became exhausted in the water and drowned.  The remaining crew were rescued after two and a half hours in the water.

The list of the crew that was published in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in 1919 listed most of the men by name, but did not include Martin Edwards.  But three mens' names were excluded: two gunners and the donkeyman.  One of the gunners was almost certainly Martin.

George's story

George was serving aboard H.M. Trawler 'Star of Freedom', a Royal Naval Reserve ship.  He was also a member of the Royal Naval Reserve and these ships were used for minesweeping, and patrolling the seas around Britain and Ireland.

Star of Freedom was probably minesweeping when she hit a mine off Trevose Head not far from Padstow on the north Cornish coast.

 

The two brothers were lost at sea within six days of one another.

Last update: 1st May 2007