3 Chatsworth Square - Home of Edward Courtenay Boyle VC
Chatsworth Square has the unique distinction in Carlisle of being the birthplace of a holder of the Victoria Cross, Edward Courtenay Boyle VC.
The Victoria Cross is the highest military award in Britain and is awarded for “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy”.
During the Great War 627 servicemen were awarded the Victoria Cross. 2 of these recipients were from Carlisle.
Edward Courtney Boyle was born on 23 March 1883, at 3 Chatsworth Square, Carlisle, the son of Major Edward Boyle of the Army Pay Department. The family had been living in Kensington but moved to Carlisle as the major may have been involved in establishing a pay structure for the newly formed Border Regiment.
The family stayed in Carlisle, Boyle was educated at Trinity School before moving on to Cheltenham College, later joining the Royal Navy as a cadet. Following the outbreak of war Boyle was promoted to Lieutenant Commander appointed to command submarine HMS E14.
HMS E14 had been made by Vickers, at Barrow-in-Furness and was sent to the Dardanelles in March 1915. The Dardanelles, a narrow strait on the north western coast of modern day Turkey, was an important arena of war during the Great War. Controlled by the Ottoman Empire, it was a crucial sea route for the Russians to Europe. Allied troops began the Dardanelles (or Gallipoli) Campaign on 25 April 1915, with fighting in the region until 6 January 1916.
Edward Courtenay Boyle and HMS E14 were stationed in the Dardanelles and on 27 April commanded attacks that sank a troopship carrying 6,000 Ottoman troops, a transport ship and a minelayer. HMS E14 also caused major disruption to Turkish shipping. It was for these actions that Boyle was awarded the Victoria Cross,
“For most conspicuous bravery, in command of submarine E14, when he dived his vessel under the enemy minefields and entered the Sea of Marmora on the 27th April, 1915. In spite of great navigational difficulties from strong currents, of the continual neighbourhood of hostile patrols, and of the hourly danger of attack from the enemy, he continued to operate in the narrow waters of the Straits and succeeded in sinking two Turkish gunboats and one large military transport”
Following the Great War, Boyle remained in the Navy and continued to operate in the Sea of Marmora. He was promoted to Captain in 1920, commanding cruisers and a battleship before retiring the day after he was appointed Rear Admiral in 1932. During the Second World War, Boyle was recalled to active service, serving in the senior role of Flag Officer for London from 1939 to 1942, finally retiring in 1943.
Edward Courtenay Boyle died, aged 84, after being hit by a lorry in Ascot, Berkshire.