Edmonds, Edwin Edmund (Edwin)
No. SS/3266, H.M.S. Otranto, Royal Navy
Died as the result of an accident on Sunday 6 October 1918 (aged 27)
No known grave
Chatham Naval Memorial (Panel 28)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Family grave headstone in Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery
Brother of Rifleman George Edgar Edmonds (No. 10707)
In some records his surname is spelt Edmunds.
Edwin Edmund Edmonds was born on 30 June 1891 in the townland of Ballyobegan, Ballywalter, and he was a son of William Henry Edmonds and Catherine (Kate) Edmonds (nee Barnwell, sometimes Barnwall, Barnewall, Barnewell, and Barmwell).
William Edmonds, who was born in England, is variously described as a sailor, a seaman, a lightship-man, and the Mate on a Light Ship.
William Edmonds and Catherine Barnewall were married on 1 March 1880 in Monkstown Parish Church of Ireland Church, Co Dublin. William Edmonds, a seaman from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) was a son of William Edmonds, a gamekeeper. Catherine Barnewall from Kingstown was a daughter of William Barnewall, a land steward.
William and Catherine (Kate) Edmonds (nee Barnewall) had seven children:
Edith Elizabeth (born 22 September 1881 in Valetta House, Kingstown, Co Dublin)
Catherine Mary (born 12 January 1883 at 37 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown, Co Dublin)
Frances Harriett (born 29 July 1885 at 40 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown, Co Dublin; died of acute gastritis 28 October 1887 in Mulgrave Street, Kingstown)
Sophia Jane (born 29 July 1887 at 40 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown, Co Dublin; died of convulsions 2 September 1887 in Mulgrave Street, Kingstown)
William Barnewall (born 1 September 1888 at 33 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown, Co Dublin)
Edwin Edmund (born 30 June 1891 at Ballyobegan, Ballywalter; baptised in Ballywalter Parish Church of Ireland Church)
George Edgar (born 16 May 1893 at Ballyobegan, Ballywalter; baptised in Kircubbin Parish Church of Ireland Church).
Sometime between September 1888 and June 1891, the Edmonds family moved from Kingstown, Co Dublin to Ballyobegan, Co Down. Then, sometime between March 1901 and March 1911, they moved to 214 Roden Street, Belfast.
Catherine (Kate) Agnes Edmonds died from chronic bronchitis and heart failure at 214 Roden Street, Belfast on 14 December 1911 (aged 56).
Edwin Edmonds worked as a plumber before he joined the Navy on 24 March 1910, and he served aboard several ships before being posted to HMS Otranto on 26 August 1917. The SS Otranto was built in the Workman Clark shipyard in Belfast for the Orient Steam Navigation Company for use on the UK to Australia route. Launched on 27 March 1909, the SS Otranto was requisitioned by the Admiralty on 4 August 1914 and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Operating as the flagship for Convoy HX-50, HMS Otranto left New York for the UK on 25 September 1918 and six days later accidentally collied with a French fishing schooner off Newfoundland. The convoy continued while HMS Otranto stopped to pick up survivors from the fishing boat. After encountering a heavy storm in the Atlantic, land was sighted on 6 October – it was the north-east coast of Ireland. Then HMS Otranto had another collision when she was struck accidentally amidships by HMS Kashmir, off the coast of the Isle of Islay. Around 600 men were saved by HMS Mounsey, but around 470 men were lost, including Able Seaman Edwin Edmonds.
At the time of Edwin’s death his widowed father, and his unmarried sister Edith were living at 214 Roden Street, Belfast. In the Army Dependant’s Pension records they were his named dependants.
Able Seaman Edwin Edmonds (No. SS/3266) is commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 175), and on the family grave headstone in Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery (Grave F3.443):
IN LOVING MEMORY OF HIS WIFE
WHO DIED 14TH DECEMBER 1911,
SOPHIA JANE AND FRANCIS HARRIET
WHO DIED IN 1887 AND WERE INTERRED IN
KILL-O-GRANGE CEMETERY KINGSTOWN CO DUBLIN
WILLIAM B. EDMONDS
KILLED IN ACTION IN FRANCE
13TH NOVEMBER 1916, AGED 28 YEARS
GEORGE E. EDMONDS
KILLED IN ACTION IN FLANDERS
8TH AUGUST 1917, AGED 24 YEARS
EDWIN E. EDMONDS
DROWNED THROUGH THE LOSS OF H.M.S. OTRANTO
8TH OCTOBER 1918, AGED 27 YEARS
ALSO THE ABOVE
DIED 2ND DECEMBER 1931, AGED 84
Also buried in the grave were Edith Elizabeth Edmonds who died on 12 February 1960 (aged 78) and Catherine Mary Hesketh (nee Edmonds) who died on 1 October 1961 (aged 78).