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E14 - The One That Got Away

E14 was employed in the Dardanelle's theatre of war. Her distinction is that she had two commanding officers, each of whom won the Victoria Cross in the same area but three years apart.


Commander Edward Courtney Boyle

On April 27, 1915 Lieutenant Commander E C Boyle took E14 into the Sea of Marmora and was then only the second British submarine commander to have done so during the campaign.

He patrolled for 22 days harassing Turkish shipping and forcing Turkish reinforcements for Gallipoli to take a long and tiring overland journey thus helping the Allied forces there.

Boyle sank a heavily laden troop transport and it is on record that he claimed and received £30,000 "blood money." One can estimate that as being worth about £150,000, possibly more in today's currency.

It was tremendously difficult operating in the Sea of Marmora. Never more than 40 miles wide and less than 100 miles in length, the Sea could be entered only via the Dardanelle's passage.

That meant that a marauding submarine was on her own, cut off from all help. Her position once revealed, was, as E14 found, constantly reported. Continual changes of operational area had to be made. The skipper could never relax, nor could his crew.

The air was frequently foul and Boyle's boat was running short of drinking water by the time the patrol was ending. In all he completed 70 days in the Sea in three patrols and on his way back from the third his luck ran out.

He hit the Turkish anti-submarine nets fair and square and maybe more by good luck than good judgement managed to scrape through with the hull heavily cut and scraped by the wires. E14 was surely "the one that got away."


Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey White

E14's last commanding officer was Lieutenant G S White. He won his VC posthumously for in a gallant and desperate effort to torpedo the German battleship Goeben, mined and aground off Nagara Point one of his torpedoes exploded prematurely and damaged his own command.

The severe damage forced him to surface E14. He steered a course for shore and the enemy guns now concentrating on his boat.

This gave his crew a chance to escape but White himself was killed by shell fire shortly before E14 sank. That was in 1918


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