Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira,1931.565, W0546.1
Memorial Plaque and folder, WW1
Next-of-Kin Memorial Plaque commemorating the death of Lieutenant Commander William Edward Sanders VC DSO, Royal Naval Reserve. Killed at sea on 14 August 1917 when his ship, HMS Prize went down.
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 “.
28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918
14 August 1917
14 August 1917
Preston, E. Carter
World War 1, 1914-18, Wars
George V (1910 - 1936), House of Windsor, English reign
Note: some of the plaques bear a small WA monogram within a circle on the reverse indicating that it was manufactured at Woolwich Arsenal.
Nomenclature 3.0 for Museum Cataloging (Primary Title)
Robert G. Chenhall's System for Classifying Man-Made Objects (Other Title) Robert Chenhall
Nashville/Tennessee/USA (Place of Publication)
30 October 2015
Images and documents
The development of the Auckland War Memorial Museum online collection is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.