b. 20/07/1895 Northwood, Middlesex. d. 03/04/1974 Crowthorne, Berkshire.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 05/08/1919 Invergordon, Scotland.
Edmund Geoffrey “Bill” Abbott (1895-1974) was born on the 20th July 1895 in Northwood, Middlesex. As a child, he lived at the house beside The Sundial in Ruislip. He was the son of Edmund Rushworth Abbott, a solicitor and his wife Emily (nee Sandys). He attended Bradfield Prep School before moving on to and passing through Osborne and Dartmouth Naval Colleges then, after being commissioned, saw service in the Dover Patrol during WWI. By 1917 he was a Lieutenant.
On 5th August 1919, he was in Invergordon, Scotland when there was an explosion below decks on the ex-German battle cruiser SMS Baden. He immediately went down the hatch to the main deck and saw smoke coming from the ladder way tunnel leading to the shaft passage. His first attempt to get below was futile, so he tried the starboard side tunnel. Seeing it was clear, he got a party of men and then descended down the tunnel. They found a dockyard workman lying unconscious, and Abbott got him up onto the deck, though sadly the man was already dead. Although affected by the fumes, he rallied the men and when back down to rescue another man and removed him from danger.
Abbott was awarded the Albert Medal (12th March 1920), and remained in the Navy between the Wars. He commanded his own ship during WWII and was called to serve on the Staff of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. From 1946-48, he was Captain Superintendent of HM Dockyard, Simon’s Town, South Africa. He and his first wife Vanda (nee Ross) had two daughters Sally and Jill, but sadly his first wife passed away and his first family remained in South Africa, whilst Abbott returned to England. He remarried to Agnes Labowitz and had two further sons. He retired from the Navy in 1954. In 1971, he chose to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross, and donated his Albert Medal to the National War Museum of Scotland. Abbott died on 3rd April 1974 in Crowthorne, Berkshire. He was cremated at Easthampstead Park Crematorium in Bracknell, and his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.
Bill’s medals including his GC, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, 1935 King George V Silver Jubilee Medal and 1937 King George VI Coronation Medal were bequeathed to the National War Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh Castle, where they are displayed with his Albert Medal.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: EASTHAMPSTEAD PARK CREMATORIUM, BRACKNELL, HERTFORDSHIRE.
ASHES SCATTERED IN PLOT 5 OF GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Abbott GC Medal Group at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.