Lt Cdr G.S. White VC

Lt Cdr G.S. White VC

Lt Cdr G.S. White VC

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Submariner VC
Blue Plaque

The Submariners Association have started a project to erect a Blue Plaque to commemorate holders of the VC who were submariners.

Organisers for the Blue Plaques are Keith Bishop (National Membership Secretary) and Sandy Powell (Committee Member)

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31354 - 23 MAY 1919
Admiralty, S.W., 24th May, 1919.

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer:
Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey Saxton White, R.N.

For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Commanding Officer of H.M. Submarine "E 14" on the 28tlh of January, 1918.
"E 14" left Mudros on the 27th of January under instructions to force the Narrows and attack the "Goeben," which was reported aground off Nagara Point after being damaged during her sortie from the Dardanelles. The latter vessel was not found and "E 14" turned back. At about 8.45 a.m. on the 28th of January a torpedo was fired from "E 14" at an enemy ship; 11 seconds after the torpedo left the tube a heavy explosion took place, caused all lights to go out, and sprang the fore hatch. Leaking badly the boat was blown to 15 feet, and at once a heavy fire came from the forts, but the hull was not hit. "E 14" then dived and proceeded on her way out.

Soon afterwards the boat became out of control, and as the air supply was nearly exhausted, Lieutenant-Commander White decided to run the risk of proceeding on the surface. Heavy fire was immediately opened from both sides, and, after running the gauntlet for half-an-hour, being steered from below, "E 14" was so badly damaged that Lieutenant-Commander White turned towards the shore in order to give the crew a chance of being saved. He remained on deck the whole time himself until he was killed by a shell.

Saturday 30th April 2016

Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Saxton White VC, RN Honoured with Blue Plaque at Bradfield College

Unveilling of Plaque by High Sheriff of Berkshire and White Grandson Mr Richard Campbell
As part of the Submariners Association initiative the fifth Blue Plaque commemorating a WWI Submariner and VC holder was placed within the Memorial Park of Bradfield College, Bradfield, Berkshire, RG7 6AO on Saturday 30th April 2016.
Approximately 60 guests, which included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire Mr. Dodson OBE; the High Sheriff of Berkshire Mrs. Victoria Fishburn; the Chairman of West Berkshire Council Cllr. Argyle; the Headmaster of Bradfield College Dr. Christopher Stevens and members of the White family, joined veteran and serving submariners including the President of the Submariners Association, Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE; the Chairman Mr. Jim McMaster and the National, Welsh and Royal Berkshire Standards for the ceremony. The event was also enhanced by a contingent of the College CCF Unit who were inspected by the Admiral.
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Bradfield College CCF being inspected by Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE
Prior to commencing the ceremony the College provided an excellent light lunch for the guests during which the Headmaster welcomed everyone to the College.
The commemoration service was led by the College Chaplain, Reverend Steven Gray. The Association Chairman also welcomed everybody to the event and the President Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE provided further information on Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Saxton White VC Naval career, citation and information on the discovery of HM Submarine E.14 in the Sea of Marmora some 94 years after she was sunk.
This was followed by the unveiling of the plaque by the High Sheriff of Berkshire and the Grandson of White VC, Mr. Richard Campbell.
He was born Geoffrey Saxton White on July 2nd, 1886 at Leecroft, Durham Road, Bromley, Kent, the son of William Henry White Esq JP and Alice White (formerly Saxton).
Educated at Bradfield College he joined the Royal Navy at HMS Britannia (Naval Training Ship) on the 15th May 1901. On passing out he was appointed as a Midshipman to numerous ships, including HMS Abukir, Empress of India, Eclipse, Amphitrite, Diadem and Glory whilst serving on the Mediterranean and Chinese Stations between 1902 and 1906.
On the 15th January 1906 he was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant and confirmed in the rank exactly one month later.   
Between 1906 and 1909 he was appointed to HMS Cherwell, Venerable and Leda whilst serving on the Home and Mediterranean Stations during which time he was promoted to Lieutenant.
On the 11th January 1909 he joined the Submarine Depot Ship (Portsmouth Submarine Flotilla) HMS Mercury for Submarine Training. On completion of his training he was then appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Forth (Devonport Submarine Flotilla) and joined HM Submarine B7 where he remained until 25th July 1911. It was during this period that he married Sybil Thomas on the 26th June 1911 at St. James the Less at Plymouth.

Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE, High Sheriff of Berkshire & Mr. Jim McMaster
Following his period in B7, White joined the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Arrogant at Dover whereupon he was appointed In-Command of HM Submarine A.4 from 25th July to 30th November 1911.
He then joined HMS Vulcan (Dundee Submarine Depot Ship) and was appointed In-Command of HM Submarine C.27 until April 1914. Having spent a considerable time at sea and with two submarine commands to his credit he was then appointed to the battleship HMS Monarch. On return to submarines he was then appointment to the Eight Submarine Flotilla Depot Ship, HMS Maidstone at Harwich “additional for SM’s” on 29 September 1915 where he remained for eight months.
On the 15th May 1916 he was then appointed In-Command of HM Submarine D.6 for three months until being re-appointed to Command E.14 on the 10th August 1918 in which the following deed took place and for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Admiralty, S.W., 24th May, 1919.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to the under mentioned Officer: —
Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey Saxton White, R.N.

For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Commanding Officer of H.M. Submarine "E 14" on the 28th of January, 1918.
In-Command of HM Submarine "E 14" White left Mudros on the 27th of January under instructions to force the Narrows and attack the "Goeben" which was reported aground off Nagara Point after being damaged during her sortie from the Dardanelles. The latter vessel was not found and "E 14" turned back. At about 8.45 a.m. on 28 January a torpedo was fired from "E 14" at an enemy ship; 11 seconds after the torpedo left the tube a heavy explosion took place, caused all lights to go out, and sprang the fore hatch. Leaking badly the boat was blown to 15 feet, and at once a heavy fire came from the forts, but the hull was not hit. "E 14" then dived and proceeded on her way out.
Soon afterwards the boat became out of control, and as the air supply was nearly exhausted, Lieutenant-Commander White decided to run the risk of proceeding on the surface. Heavy fire was immediately opened from both sides, and, after running the gauntlet for half-an-hour, being steered from below, "E 14" was so badly damaged that Lieutenant-Commander White turned towards the shore in order to give the crew a chance of being saved. He remained on deck the whole time himself until he was killed by a shell. He was 31 years old and left a widow, Sybil and three children under the age of six.
White's body was not recovered at the time and he has no known grave. He is currently commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

What is not widely known is that E.14’s final resting place was found in 2012 after 94 years just off the coast of Turkey.
Her precise location in the eastern Mediterranean remained a mystery until June that year when a Turkish marine engineer and a diver detected it on the seabed off the town of Kum Kale - just 800ft from the beach.
E14 was lying at a depth of 65ft at an angle of almost 45 degrees with sand covering nearly all the 181ft vessel. At least one shell hole was visible near the bows, but that appeared to be the only damage. The British Government has asked the Turkish authorities to preserve the site as a war grave
E.14 sank less than a quarter of a mile from getting out of the straits and safely out of the range of the Turkish guns. A survivor recalled that his White’s last words were – 'We are in the hands of God', uttered moments before he was killed by a shell and the submarine went under. Only seven of E14’s 32 crew managed to escape alive and were taken prisoner by the Turkish.
The unveiling ceremony was completed by the Reverend Steven Gray by blessing the plaque and reading the Naval Collect. This was followed by Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE presenting the Headmaster of Bradfield College with a framed picture of White VC, his Birth Certificate and pictures of HM Submarine E.14. The Chairman, Mr. Jim McMaster also presented a framed picture to the White family.
In summary it was an excellent day, everybody appeared to enjoy themselves and the rain stayed away.
The Submariners Association would like to thank the Headmaster for allowing the plaque to be mounted at the College and for providing an excellent reception and lunch for the guests. In addition we would also like to thank all serving and submariner veterans that attended the ceremony and in particular, the National Standard Bearer, members of  Welsh and Royal Berkshire Branches together with their Standard Bearer’s.
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Lieutenant Commander Frank (Sandy) Powell – Member National Management Committee Submariners Association.

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