Rank or Title
Date of Birth
23 Sep 1880
Date of Death
15 Aug 1916
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Petty Officer Stoker William Wallace Gadsby, Royal Navy, was the second son of William and Isabella Gadsby to die within six weeks in 1916. He was at the time serving on submarine E4, which, on August 15th, 1916, was sunk in a collision with sister submarine E41 during exercises off Harwich. Both vessels went down, and all hands on E4 were lost.
Younger brother Arthur Edward was killed in action on the Somme on July 5th while serving with the Hampshire Regiment.
Petty Officer Gadsby was William and Isabella's eldest son and was approaching his 36th birthday - born in Winchester on September 23rd, 1880. During a pre-war break in Naval service, he was living with his widowed mother of 20 years at 34 Stuart Street, Luton, and working at the works of B. Laporte, Park Street.
He had joined the Royal Navy at the age of 19 and sailed the world in various types of vessels, including the Pembroke, Wildfire, Bacchanti, Venerable, Thames and Vulcan. He began as a stoker in 1900, ending his first 12 years of service as a petty officer. He then left the Navy until the outbreak of war, when he was promptly re-engaged with the rank of petty officer.
A third tragedy would beset Mrs Gadsby with the death of youngest son Pte Albert Edward, 25430, 2nd Bedfords, on October 29th, 1918.
All three are commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour and the St Mary's Church Memorial.