Royal Navy - Leading Telegraphist - HM Submarine Oxley - Service No. C/JX 138235
Edward William Landers was born on 12th July 1916 in Swanscombe, Kent. His father was Bertie R Landers, 2nd Officer for the Fire Brigade in Swanscombe, and his mother was Edith E (née Clare). The first school that he attended was Swanscombe School, and he sang in Swanscombe Parish Church Choir.
In 1928 Edward Landers joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Edward’s address as 81 Church Road, Swanscombe.
In 1932 Edward left the School and became a Grocery assistant in the Gravesend Co-Operative Store, and in 1938 he married Gwendoline E Eaton.
By 1939 Edward had signed up to the Royal Navy as a Leading Telegraphist C/JX 138235. He was assigned to H M Submarine Oxley. On 10th September 1939, H M Submarine Oxley was patrolling off Norway, as was H M Submarine Triton. The two submarines had been in regular contact, and when Triton spotted an unidentified submarine in the area, the crew initially assumed that this was Oxley. However, recognition codes sent by signal light to the unknown boat were not responded to, so Triton’s commander assumed that she was an enemy submarine and ordered the firing of two torpedoes. Oxley was the submarine and both the torpedoes hit and sank her, with only two survivors, who were recovered by Triton. Later, a Board of Enquiry found that Oxley was some way out of position and that Triton had acted correctly and was not culpable for the sinking.
Edward Landers was killed age 23. He is remembered at the Chatham Memorial.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: