Joseph Patrick Conway
374 Royal Army Medical Corps 2nd East Lancs TA
Drowned on the Royal Edward 13th August 1915, aged 34
Lived at 43 Lyndhurst Road
Commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
Burnley Express 11/09/1915
Extract from the diary of
Arthur Sanders who worked on the Hospital Ship "Soudan" which
picked up survivors of the "Royal Edward"
(courtesy of The Greater
Manchester County Record Office)
" 13th About 7.30 am we passed H.M.I. “Royal Edward”
and at 7.45 am we received a message by wireless to say that she had been
torpedoed, so we put back to her assistance arriving on the scene about
11 am where we remained until 3 pm picking up the survivors. What a scene
it was there were boats right way, wrong way up rafts, wreckage of all
kinds, barrels, hatch covers, etc, some even clinging to oars, some swimming.
Poor mortals they had not much chance to prepare to leave their ship as
she went down well inside five minutes. In one case we got about seven
or eight men off a boat which had floated keel uppermost & when we
got them alongside, they said they were two men underneath, we thought
their wits had left them as they seemed scared. Well we got a line attached
& with the help of a crane lifted one end of the boat, which was a
steel one by the way, up a little out of the water, & sure enough
we got two poor R.A.M.C. chaps from under. They had managed to get a little
air through the plug hole in the bottom to keep them alive. They could
not have lasted much longer, for the poor fellows were almost collapsed
when got aboard which was a difficult job.
Fri. Aug.13th .. The total number saved by the “Soudan” was
441. Everyone as they came on board was stripped naked, given a good rubbing,
a hot drink of beef tea or Bovril, & wrapped up in a blanket &
laid at one side. It was the time of our lives & everyone worked right
well. We only lost two by death after bringing them on board. One we had
performed artificial respiration on for over an hour, but it was too late.
One body was believed to be J. P. Conway 2/2 E Lancs. Fld. Amb. About
3pm. we continued on our way to Alexandria with all speed. It will be
noticed it was a Friday, 13th day of the 13th month of the War.
Sat " 14th We arrived at Alexandria about 9 pm & anchored in
the outer harbour.
Sun " 15th Discharged the wounded & sick patients to hospital
by train & motor ambulances.
Mon " 16th Discharged Army Survivors of “Royal Edward”
at noon after they had got a supply of Clothing and Boots, & they
formed up on the quay side & didn’t they look a sight.
Each remnant of a unit formed up by itself & you could tell where
the blanks were by this means. It impressed us all. Well as they marched
past the “Soudan” they gave rousing cheers, which were answered
by us & also some neighbouring ships. Went ashore 4 till 11 pm.
Tues & Wed 17&18th At Alexandria left about 7.0 a m Wed. morn.
For Mudros. On the way Surgeon General Bapty complimented the staff on
the way they had worked to get the wards cleaned up This appreciation
was a pleasant surprise for all.