images and information courtesy of David
Born: 11th September 1918, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Died: 10th January 1941; age: 22; MPK.
Rank: Leading Seaman; Service Number: C/JX 141014.
Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Gallant’.
Relatives Notified & Address: Husband of Marjorie Edwards, of Ipswich.
Father: Herbert Spencer Edwards, born 1892, Mendlesham, Suffolk.
Mother: Maud Mary Edwards (nee Miller), born July 1889, Otley, Suffolk.
A family note: “John and his father, an apparently tenant farmer who mysteriously became a substantial landowner in Bromeswell. The house is still there.”
In 1940, Ipswich, Spencer married Marjorie Kent, born April 1919, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
H.M.S. ‘Gallant’ 10th January 1941
H.M.S. ‘Gallant’ was a G class destroyer, built by Alexander Stephen & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland. Ordered 5th March 1934. Laid down 15th September 1934. Launched 26th September 1935 and completed 25th February 1936. ‘Operation Excess’ – on the 10th January 1941, she had left Gibralter on a military escort movements convoy in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Italian torpedo boats ‘Circe’ & ‘Vega’ attacked the Allied convoy off Pantellaria, in the Straits of Sicily. The convoy was pushed further south. H.M.S. ‘Gallant’ struck a mine, causing an explosion in the starboard ammunition’s room, the bow separated and was blown off the ship. 65 lives were lost. H.M.S. ‘Griffin’ rescued most of the survivors and H.M.S. ‘Mohawk’ towed her stern first to Malta.