Campaign to honour hundreds who died in troop ship sinking

Ollie Hall

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A campaign has been launched to win recognition for hundreds of First World War soldiers almost a century after they died at sea.

Next year marks the centenary of the sinking of a troop ship bound for the battlefield of Gallipoli with the loss of 860 British lives, including some members of the Hampshire Regiment.

When the war ended, many of those who died were awarded three campaign medals – but hundreds more missed out.

Now a group of amateur historians has begun a campaign to ensure that 99 years on from the sinking of His Majesty’s Troopship Royal Edward, all the men who went down with her receive just recognition for their sacrifice.

David Crampin, one of those behind the campaign, said: ‘The rules at the time seemed to suggest that because these men were between theatres of war, travelling from the UK via Egypt on their way to Gallipoli they were excluded from receiving 

‘But if that was the case, why did a large number of other men get them? Surely they should all have been treated in the same way – they were on their way to war, keen to do their bit; why should some have missed out when others got the medals they all deserved?’

After the war Winston Churchill called for all men who had died in transports between theatres of war to receive medals.

The powers-that-be at the time rejected the idea, but regardless of this ruling, some of the Royal Edward victims did in fact get them.