The Friends and NMRN have purchased the historically important ‘Sea of Marmora 1915 D.S.O. and ‘Yozgad Escaper’s’ Second Award Bar group of nine medals awarded to Captain Sir A. D. Cochrane, G.C.M.G., K.C.S.I., K.St.J., Royal Navy together with some other of his possessions.
Many thought Cochrane’s actions in E7 in the Sea of Marmora during 1914 and 1915 were deserving of a VC and this medal set plus some of the other artefacts are now in a new display at the Museum.
The aristocratic Cochrane family has had a long connection with the Royal Navy and Admiral Thomas Cochrane 10th Earl of Dundonald, (1775 –1860)* is reputed to have been the inspiration for Patrick O’Brian’s famous fictional naval hero Captain Jack Aubrey and C.S Forester’s Horatio Hornblower.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is already the custodian of a large collection of this notable military family’s papers so it was with great excitement that the museum was able to acquire the gallantry medals of WWI submarine hero Captain Sir Archibald Douglas Cochrane (1885–1958), purchased with financial assistance from the Friends of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
Archibald Douglas Cochrane had joined the Royal Navy in 1901 and served for many years in command of submarines winning the Distinguished Service Order. In 1915 his submarine HMS E7 was scuttled after being caught in defensive nets during the Dardanelles campaign. Cochrane and his crew were taken prisoner by the Turks. E7 had been returning from a successful patrol in the Sea of Marmara, having sunk 13 ships and damaged many more, when the submarine became entangled in defensive nets near Nagara Point. Several mines that formed part of the net had been detonated when a German submarine captain von Heimburg, dropped a sinker mine right on top of E7. The detonation of this charge persuaded Cochrane to surface E7 and try to save his crew who then came under shellfire from the Ottoman shore batteries.
After several years in a remote Prisoner of War camp, Cochrane was among a group of Officers who made a successful daring escape for which he was awarded a Bar to his DSO. Their exploits were later revealed in the book “Four-Fifty Miles to Freedom” published in 1919.