Geoffrey Saxton White VC

Name: Geoffrey Saxton White

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: May 24, 1919

Service: Royal Navy

Geoffrey Saxton White VC
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Bromley, Kent/July 2, 1886

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Lieutenant-Commander

Date of bravery: January 28, 1918

London Gazette citation:

For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Commanding Officer of H.M. Submarine “E 14” on the 28th 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 “E14” 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 to give the crew a chance of being saved. He remained on deck the whole time until he was killed by a shell.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: The Dardanelles, Turkey/January 28, 1918

Grave/memorials: Lost at sea/Name on the Horley Memorial, Surrey, and the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2016

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum