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medal, order

On display
Object / Artefact › History
  • Other titles
    • Distinguished Service Order (DSO) (descriptive name)
    • Lieut. Commander William Edward Sanders VC DSO, Royal Naval Reserve (associated name)
  • Description
    Distinguished Service Order (DSO), WW1
    Awarded to William Edward Sanders Royal Navy
    silver gilt cross with curved ends overlaid with white enamel; with ribbon; swivel ring suspension with straight laureate bar
    obverse: a green laurel wreath around imperial crown
    reverse: a green laurel wreath around royal monogram
    ribbon: crimson with dark blue edges
  • Other Number
    1931.565, W0545
  • Accession number
  • Collection area
  • Item count
  • Display location
  • Record richness
medal, order, W0545
medal, order, W0545


  • Credit
    Collection of Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, W0545, 1931.565
  • Notes
    Distinguished Service Order (DSO), WW1
    Awarded to Lieut. Commander William Edward Sanders VC DSO, Royal Navy (1883-1916)
    William Edward Sanders of Auckland first went to sea as a cabin-boy in 1899. He was commissioned as Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves in April 1916. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander, given command of a patrol vessel, and saw much anti-submarine service. He was awarded the VC (Victoria Cross) in May 1917, the DSO. (Distinguished Service Order) in June 1917, and was killed in action on 14 August 1917.

    Son of Edward Helman Cooke Sanders and Emma Jane Sanders, of Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Born in Auckland, William Edward Sanders initially went to sea as a cabin boy serving on coastal ships around New Zealand After joining the Craig Shipping Line he gained his certificates, finally gaining his masters and compass adjusting certificates in November 1914. He then applied to join the Navy and while waiting to be accepted, served on the New Zealand troopships Willochra and Tofua. He subsequently went to England and and was commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant with the Royal Naval Reserve in April 1916. He served on "Q-ships" which looked like inoffensive sailing vessels but were heavily armed with hidden guns. Their task was to lure German submarines to the surface. On 12 February 1917, Sanders commanded HMS "Prize", which, in a successful action in April 1917 destroyed a German submarine. After the battle he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the Victoria Cross, in "recognition of his conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness and skill in command of one of H.M. ships in action". Two months later he was involved in another action for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO ). On August 14, 1917, before his award was gazetted, the "Prize" was torpedoed and sunk by a German Submarine (U-boat 48). All on board were lost. His father was advised by the Lords of the Admiralty, that “your son, Lieutenant-Commander William E. Sanders, V.C. R.N.R., was killed on August 14, 1917, as a result of the vessel on which he was serving being blown up “.
  • Event
    28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918
  • Person
  • Place
  • Date
    • Circa 1917
      2 July 1912 to 2 July 1922
    • 14 August 1917
      14 August 1917
  • Production

    1 January 1914 to 31 December 1918
    1 January 1910 to 20 January 1936
    World War 1, 1914-18, Wars
    George V (1910 - 1936), House of Windsor, English reign
  • Consists of
  • Dimensions
    (medal: height: 44mm width (max): 41.5mm)
  • Classification
  • Record created
    30 October 2015

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