Edward “Stoker” Lynch AM

b. 04/04/1873 Kinsalebeg, County Waterford, Ireland.  d. 01/02/1899 Kinsalebeg, Ireland.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 29/09/1897 off Cornwall.

Edward Lynch AM

Eddie Lynch was the son of Thomas Lynch and Mary Nason from Carty’s Cove, Monatray East, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford. They had six children namely Anne Lynch (born 27th Dec 1867), Patrick (born 9th Feb 1870), Edward (born 4th April 1873), Bridget (born c. 1881) and Margaret (born 28th March 1886) plus one other daughter.

Edward Lynch joined the British Navy on 7th February 1896 and signed up for a twelve year period. His date of birth on signing up was given as 30th October 1871 which would mean he was twenty four years of age.  However his actual age was twenty two as he was born on 4th April 1873. His personal details were recorded on signup as height 5ft 9ins, hair black, eyes hazel and fresh complexion. His place of birth was given as Mona Trea [Monatray], Youghal, Co. Waterford and the occupation given was seaman. He served initially as a stoker on the HMS Bellona which was a third class cruiser launched in 1890 and eventually sold in 1906. His naval base was Devonport near Plymouth Devon UK which was a major naval base and dockyard.  His naval record was exemplary and his end of year naval reviews from 1896 to 1898 always indicated a VG (Very Good) character reference.  In 1897 Edward “Stoker” Lynch or Stoker Lynch as he was better known was serving as stoker on HMS Thrasher which was a B-Class torpedo boat destroyer of the British Royal Navy built by Laird & Son in Birkenhead in 1895. She was one of what was known as Quail-class destroyers and operated eventually up to the end of World War 1 before being sold off at the end of hostilities. HMS Thrasher had a displacement of 395 tons and a length of 215 feet or 66 metres. She was fitted with triple expansion steam engines generating 6300 horse power. Her armoury included 1 x QF 12-pounder guns and 2 x 18 inch (460mm) torpedo tubes. Her full complement was 63 men.

In November 1897 it was announced that the Queen had authorised the Lords of the Admiralty to grant Stoker Lynch, of the torpedo boat destroyer Thrasher, the Albert Medal 1st Class for “outstanding bravery displayed in rescuing a comrade”.  The Albert Medal 1st Class was the highest honour available at that time for bravery in life saving on land or sea.  Stoker Lynch was the first naval seaman or person of the “lower deck”, as it was described at the time, to receive the 1st Class Albert Medal.

Edward Stoker Lynch spent a considerable period in the Royal Naval Hospital, Stonehouse getting treatment for the injuries he received in September 1897. On two or three occasions he was reported to be on the point of death but he rallied in a remarkable manner according to reports and was allowed home to Monatray, Co Waterford before Christmas 1898. At this point he was apparently suffering from consumption brough on by his injuries.

Edward Stoker Lynch unfortunately did not get much time to enjoy life in his homeplace of Carty’s Cove after his discharge from the Royal Naval Hospital of Plymouth at the latter end of 1898. He died at his home in Carty’s Cove Monatray on 1st February 1899 and was buried with full naval honours at Kinsalebeg Church on 3rd February 1899.



At 3A.M., on the 29th September, 1897, the torpedo destroyer “Thrasher,” with the “Lynx” and ”  Q Sunfish” in company, left St. Ives on passage to Falmouth. In the thick and foggy weather which was subsequently met, the ” Thrasher,” followed by the ” Lynx,” grounded at Dodman’s Point, causing serious injury to the .boilers, and the bursting of the main feed pipe. A falling tide caused the ” Thrasher” to heel quickly over to about 60°. The ship’s company was therefore landed on the rocks, a few men being kept on board, with boats ready to land them. There were six Petty Officers and men in the stokehold. Of these the Chief Stoker happened to be coming on deck, by the starboard hatchway at the moment of striking, and escaped. This hatchway became distorted by the doubling up of the deck, preventing furthcr egress. Stokers EDWARD LYNCH and James H. Paul were compelled to escape by the port hatchway close to a break in the steam pipe. The hatchway through which they passed was partially closed up, and Paul was unable to follow LYNCH, who then kneeling or lying on the deck, reached down into the escaping steam and drew James Paul, who was on the ladder, up on to the upper deck. LYNCH was shortly after observed to be badly scalded about the head, arms, and upper portion of the body in this rescue, the skin hanging off his hands and arms. Oil and wool were applied to iilleviate the pain, but LYNCH called attention to Paul, whom he wished attended to’first, saying that he himself was not much hurt, but Paul was very bad. Neither man had said anything or called any attention to his injuries until this time, although quite five minutes had elapsed since the accident. The surgeon who attended LINCH and Paul reports that the former, though very badly scalded and in great pain, would not allow his assistant or himself, for a considerable time, to do anything for him, saying, ” I am all right; look after my friend” The manly conduct of LYNCH induced the surgeon to make inquiries concerning the rescue of Paul from the stokehold, and he found that LYNCH with difficulty released himself from the hatchway (much narrowed by the accident), lay down and leaning into scalding steam, caught Paul and dragged him up through the-hatch, and in this way received his own wounds, which are such as to show that, in rescuing his comrade, he must have plunged the forepart of his own body into what was practically a boiling cauldron. It transpired also that LYNCH in a most heroic manner had previously sacrificed his own opportunity of quitting the stokehold, in order to aid his comrade Paul in escaping. Paul subsequently succumbed to his injuries, and LYNCH, for a long time, was not expected to recover.