MACKMURDO, Edward Longdon

No.41, Staff Sergeant, Edward Longdon MACKMURDO
Aged 37

54th (1st/1st/East Anglian) C.C.S., Royal Army Medical Corps
Lost at Sea on Friday, 13th August 1915

Edward Longdon MackMurdo was born on 13th August 1878 in Edgbaston, Warwickshire (King's Norton Q301878 6d:459), baptised on 16th January 1879 in Littleport (where father was rector),son of Frederick Thomson and Katherine Jane MACKMURDO (née FIELD).

1881 census...Aged 2, he was at Halcyon, Bush Hill Park, Enfield with his grandmother Ann MackMURDO [68] widow, born Hackney; aunt Marianne E MackMURDO [38] born Bermondsey; his father Frederick MackMURDO [33] clerk in Holy Orders born Bermondsey, his mother Katherine J [25] born Chesham, Bucks and uncle Harold J MackMURDO [22] tea merchant, born Edmonton.

1891 census...Not found in this census, but his father was Chaplain in Chantilly, France from 1886 to 1897, so presumably the family were all in France.
His mother died in Bedford on 31st July 1900 and father married Mary Isabella RAPER in 1901 in Hastings. By 1909 they were in Fornham All Saints.

1901 census...Aged 22, a tea broker's clerk, he was boarding with Annie WATSON at 8 Kenwyn Road, Clapham. His widower father was rector in Bedford , living at 28 St Augustine Road with his other son Gilbert Cecil [14] born Hertford.

1911 census...Aged 32, single, a soldier in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he was visiting an in law of his brother Gilbert, William Henry CUDMORE at 138 Rusthall Avenue, Bedford Park, Chiswick. His father was in Fornham All Saints with his second wife, Mary Isabella [49] born Simla, India and their daughter Mary Fraser MACKMURDO [7] recorded as born Simla, India, but actually born in Bedford when her father was rector there.

He was resident in Fornham All Saints when he re-enlisted.
In his "soldiers personal effects" he named Reverend Charles Blount as his legatee on behalf of the "Order of the Society of Jesus".
On the "living relatives" form his widower father was in Fornham All Saints with half sister Mary Fraser MACKMURDO [16]; brother Gilbert Cecil MACKMURDO [32] was in Chiswick,

He enlisted on 7th August 1914 in Ipswich when resident in Fornham All Saints
He gave his age as 32 years,( subtracting some 4 years) single, a clerk working for the Royal Liverpool Insurance Company, resident in Fornham All Saints near Bury St Edmunds. He had been previously in the R.A.M.C. for 6 years 3 months but had purchased his discharge. He was 5 feet 3.5 inches (161.3 cm) tall, chest 33.5" to 36" (85.1 to 91.4 cm).
He went from Ipswich to Southampton on 24th August 1914, was back in Ipswich on 5th February 1915 and in Watford on 14th July 1915 before embarking for Gallipoli.
Embodied 7th August 1914, he was promoted Corporal on 9th September, Acting Sergeant 10th February 1915 and Acting Staff Sergeant 10th May 1915. Then promoted substantive Staff Sergeant on 30th July 1915.
His medal index card indicates he was awarded the customary "Pip Squeak and Wilfred" medals, unlike Robert Alsop from Lakenheath who drowned in the same incident.
Some explanation for Edward's death comes from

Another great source for this incident is here

"Men from the Norfolk Regiment had volunteered to join the Essex Regiment and appear to have constituted the drafts of June 23 and July 24 1915. They were part of the reinforcements carried by the transport "Royal Edward" which was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean Sea on August 14th 1915. She sank two and a half minutes after the torpedo struck her. Of the 1,400 men she carried just over 600 were saved, and the drowned included all but 18 of the 300 Norfolk men."

On the morning of 13 August, HMTS Royal Edward passed HMHS Soudan, heading in the opposite direction. Oberleutnant zur See Heino von Heimburg in German submarine UB-14 was lying near the island of Kandeloussa and saw both ships. He allowed Soudan to pass unmolested, and instead concentrated on the unescorted Royal Edward, 6 nautical miles (11 km) off Kandeloussa. A single torpedo was enough to sink the Royal Edward, who just had time to send out an SOS signal. The Soudan picked up the signal and reversed course and managed to save just over 400.

UB-14 was a coastal torpedo attack boat, carrying just two torpedoes. She sank 6 ships to a total of 25,500 tons and was scuttled near Sebastapol in 1919. Her captain went on to be a Vizeadmiral in 1942, At the end of WWII Soviet forces abducted Heino von Heimburg, then a 55-year-old retired naval officer and transported him to a POW camp near Stalingrad. He died there in October 1945.

57 of the 54th (1st/1st East Anglian) Casualty Clearing Station are named on the Helles memorial as dying on the 13th, very likely all part of the same draft to Gallipoli

Heino von HeimburgUB-14

HMT "Royal Edward"

Edward Mackmurdo is commemorated on the Helles memorial, panels 199 and 200 or 236 to 239 and 328

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details