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Lieutenant Edward Courtney Boyle

Edward Boyle was born at Carlisle, Cumberland (now Cumbria) on 23rd March 1883 and he was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Boyle.

At the time of the 1891 Census he was listed as a boarder at 1, Castle Street, Deal in Kent. He was educated at Cheltenham College and he joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet on 15th May 1898 (1897 according to The Naval Who’s Who 1917) and was promoted Midshipman on 15th September 1899.

At the time of the 1901 Census he was listed as a Midshipman serving in the 12,350 ton Twin Screw Battle Ship HMS Renown – the Flag Ship on the North America and West Indies Station.

He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on 15th September 1902. Sub Lieutenant Boyle was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Thames ‘Additional for Training’ on 4th July 1904.

He was promoted Lieutenant on 15th Dec 1904 having achieved two 'Firsts'. On 20th March 1905 he was appointed to HMS Thames at Portsmouth 'for Submarines'. On 16th Jun 1905 Edward Boyle was further appointed to HMS Thames 'for Command of Submarine attached'.

This was followed by an appointment to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Mercury (Portsmouth Submarine Flotilla) 'for Command of Submarines' to date 18th September 1906.

He was next appointed the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Thames at Sheerness for 'Submarine C4 in Command' on 1st October 1907.

After this he returned to the Surface Fleet for his 'Big Ship' time with an appointment to the 12,950 ton Battle Ship HMS Ocean on 10th November 1908. This appointment lasted until 27th Jan 1910.

His next Submarine appointment was to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Vulcan (Submarine Section VII at Chatham 'for Submarine C29 in Command' to date 15th March 1910.

Edward Boyle was married to Marjorie W Leigh in Marylebone, London in 1912.

He had left Submarine C29 by 21st November 1911 when he was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Bonventure Submarine Section II at Haulbowline in Ireland for 'Submarine D2 in Command'.


He was promoted Lieutenant Commander on 15th December 1912. On 8th Feb 1913 he was returned to General Service when he was appointed to the 19,250 ton Battle Ship HMS St Vincent (1st Battle Squadron) - Captain William Fisher, Royal Navy.

Edward Boyle returned to Submarines on 25th March 1914 he was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Adamant (8th Submarine Flotilla) at Portsmouth 'for Submarine D3 in Command'.

After the outbreak of the First World War HMS Adamant moved bases to Harwich. Edward Boyle was then appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship Maidstone (8th Submarine Flotilla) at Harwich 'for Submarine E14 in Command' on 19th October 1914. During his time in Submarine E14 Boyle was 'Mentioned in Dispatches' for a patrol in the Heligoland Bight.

E14 in 1914
E14 in 1914

After working in the North Sea Submarine E14 was sent to the Dardanelles, leaving Harwich on 27th March 1915 in company with Submarines E11 and E15, and arriving at Mudros on 9th April 1915. Submarine E14 first completed the passage of the Dardanelles and entered the Sea of Marmora on 27th Apr 1915 remaining there until 18th May 1915

A second patrol was made in the Marmora from 10th June 1915 to 3rd July 1915. Edward Courtney Boyle, Royal Navy was promoted Commander on 30th June 1915 for his Dardanelles efforts as well as being awarded the Victoria Cross - see London Gazette dated 21st May 1915 for his first Dardanelles patrol.

Admiralty, 21st May, 1915.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant-Commander Edward Courtney Boyle, Royal Navy, for the conspicuous act of bravery specified below:

For most conspicuous bravery, in command of Submarine E14, when he dived his vessel under the enemy minefields and entered the Sea of Marmora on the 27th April, 1915. In spite of great navigational difficulties from strong currents, of the continual neighbourhood of hostile patrols, and of the hourly danger of attack from the enemy, he continued to operate in the narrow waters of the Straits and succeeded in sinking two Turkish gunboats and one large military transport.

A third patrol of 24 days took place from 21st July to 12th August 1915 by which time Submarine E14 (with Boyle and his crew) had spent a total of seventy days in the inland sea. Edward Boyle left Submarine E14 in 1916 when he handed over command to Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Saxon White.

On returning home Edward Boyle was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Titania (11th Submarine Flotilla) at Blyth 'for Submarines' on 10th August 1916 and then for 'Submarine J5 in Command' to date 18th September 1916. He left Submarine J5 and was appointed to HMS Dolphin on 12th October 1918.

On 28th October 1918 he was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Platypus 'refitting and as Commander, Platypus Flotilla'. Edward Boyle was 'Mentioned in Despatches' – see London Gazette dated 29th October 1918 'for service in Submarines'.

Edward Boyle survived the War and, in January 1919 he was serving under the Australian Government as the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Depot Ship HMAS Platypus to which he was appointed on 28th October 1918.

He was re-appointed to HMAS Platypus on 25th March 1919 'in Command' and 'for Command of Australian Submarine Flotilla' and then sailed for Australia with the Flotilla of six J Class Submarines which were 'gifted' to the Royal Australian Navy. Edward Boyle was promoted to Captain on 30th June 1920. He returned home after the Australian Submarine Flotilla was 'Paid Off' on 12th July 1922.

In 1927 he was serving at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Devonport as the 'Assistant to the Captain of the Dockyard and as Assistant King's Harbourmaster at Devonport and Berehaven' to which he had been appointed on 27th March 1926.

In May 1928 he was listed without an appointment.

On 14th August 1929 he was appointed to the 25,000 ton Battle Ship HMS Iron Duke 'in Command'. HMS Iron Duke was being used as a sea-going Gunnery Firing Ship. He was listed without an appointment in July 1932 and, on 18th October 1932 he was placed on the Retired List with the rank of Rear Admiral.

He was recalled for further service during WWII and, on 24th August 1939 Rear Admiral (Retired) Edward Boyle was appointed to HMS Pembroke 'for Miscellaneous Duties'. He reverted to the Retired List in June 1943.

Edward Courtney Boyle died following an accident on 15th Dec 1967 when he was knocked down by a lorry on a pedestrian crossing at Ascot, Berkshire. He died of his injuries on the following day at the age of eighty four. His funeral took place at the Woking Crematorium in Surrey.

Edward Courtney Boyle's Victoria Cross and other medals are on display in the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hants.



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Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Saxon WhiteCommander John Wallace Linton