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When his father died, Wilfrid's mother looked after the family in Park Place, Exeter, which was off Longbrook Street. His mother remarried and they moved to Plymouth. Wilfrid was named after the MP and Social reformer Sir Wilfrid Lawson. The young Wilfrid ran off to sea (his grandfather, Joseph Rendell of Starcross, had been a Master Mariner) passed all his exams and trained under sail and steam.
During WW1, his ship was sunk off the coast of West Wales. The first telegram said, all crew lost, the second said Master saved, and the third said Master lost. The family has always believed he went down with his ship. His wife was given a bronze medal for his services, paid a pension, and his name added to the memorial at The Tower, in London. It was later discovered by his family,that some of the crew were picked up. One died on board the British boat and an inquest was held. The crew signed statements saying that the submarine surfaced, asked the Master to identify himself, and he was taken away in the submarine.
Records of the submarine that sank his ship, the SS Landonia, and the Officer in charge`s personal diary show that two prisoners were taken, neither with the name Chambers. His family thought he may be the second man and that he decided that as Germany was likely to win the war, and it was his second sinking as an experienced mariner, he would have been of great use to the Germans. He would have returned home, to two teenage children, young baby and a wife who had gone blind and was bitter. His eldest son spoke German and made many visits there, his daughter lived in Switzerland and spoke German.
Wilfrid Lawson Chambers was never seen again.
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