British War and Victory Medals to J/71793 S Saunders ORD. R.N. K.I.A. 23/12/1917
Condition - E.F.
Samuel Saunders resided in Caister on Sea near Great yarmouth, Norfolk and joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman. He was killed in action on 23rd December 1917 aged 18, whilst serving on the M-Class Destroyer H.M.S. Surprise.
Initially it was believed that H.M.S. Surprise together with fellow destroyers H.M.S. Tornado and H.M.S. Torrent had been sunk by torpedoes. However, it later transpired that all three of the above ships were sunk by mines in a newly laid German minefield. This apparently occurred off the Dutch North Sea coast near the Maas Light Vessel. This Destroyer Division of four ships was on its way to rendezvous with a convoy, when H.M.S. Torrent struck a mine. On attempting to rescue the Torrent crew, H.M.S. Surprise struck two mines and sank within three minutes. H.M.S. Tornado also sank whilst attempting to negotiate the minefield. H.M.S. Radiant was the only ship to escape destruction.
A total of 252 men lost their lives in this naval disaster. H.M.S. Surprise lost 54 men and 49 survivors were picked up after spending two hours in the sea. Ordinary Seaman Samuel Saunders is Remembered with Honour on Panel 22 of the Chatham Naval Memorial.
A very interesting British War and Victory Pair to a young seaman, who lost his life in a well documented Naval incident.