George Edwin Southern was born on 2nd February 1882 in Ermington, Devon, and having worked as a farm labourer, then joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class (Devonport No.297525) with Vivid II from 13th June 1901, being rated as a Stoker whilst with Bulwark on 11th August 1902, and then advanced to Stoker 1st Class whilst with Isis on 1st July 1906. Advanced to Leading Stoker whilst with Indus on 5th February 1914, he was aboard the battleship Marlborough on the outbreak of the Great War when a part of the 1st Battle Squadron in the Grand Fleet. He was promoted to Stoker Petty Officer whilst aboard her on 1st November 1915, and was posted to Vivid II from 9th January 1916.
Posted to the light cruiser Cambrian from 19th July 1916, he then rejoined Vivid II from 8th September 1917, before joining the destroyer Bullfinch from 27th November 1917, but then joined Vivid II from 5th March 1918, before being posted to Wallington for service aboard the destroyer Sandfly from 20th March 1918, this vessel being then employed as a minelayer. Southern saw service aboard Sandfly for the rest of the war, and was awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in the London Gazette for 21st March 1919. Posted back to Vivid II from 1st February 1919, he then joined the battlecruiser Lion from 15th June 1919, and was with her when he was awarded the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 13th September 1919. Southern was pensioned from service on 12th June 1923.
HMS Vivid was the Royal Navy designation for the barracks at Devonport in England and for other nominal bases in Cornwall, Ireland and Wales. Vivid II was the Stokers and Engine Room Artificers School.
HMS Cambrian was a C-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy during World War I. She was the name ship of her sub-class of four ships. Assigned to the Grand Fleet upon completion in 1916, the ship played only a small role during the war. Cambrian was assigned to the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets during the 1920s and was sent to support British interests in Turkey during the Chanak Crisis of 1922–1923. The ship was placed in reserve in late 1929. She was sold for scrap in 1934.
HMS Bullfinch was a three-funnel, 30-knot destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1896–1897 Naval Estimates. She was the third ship to carry this name since it was introduced in 1857 for a 4-gun wooden-screw gunboat. In July 1914 Bullfinch was in active commission in the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at Devonport tendered to Leander, destroyer depot ship to the 7th Flotilla. In September 1914 the 7th Flotilla was redeployed to the Humber River. She remained in this deployment until the cessation of hostilities. Her employment within the Humber Patrol included anti-submarine and counter-mining patrols. On 15 August 1914, she was involved in a collision in British waters, with the loss of four stokers. In 1919 Bullfinch was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 10 June 1919 to Young of Sunderland for breaking.
HMS Sandfly was an Acheron-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that served during World War I and was sold for breaking in 1921. She was the seventh Royal Navy ship to be named after the small biting fly of the same name. In 1917 the Acheron-class destroyers Ferret, Sandfly and Ariel were converted to minelaying destroyers, capable of carrying 40 mines. Sandfly served with the 20th Flotilla, and operated out of Immingham.
HMS Lion was a battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 1910s. She was the lead ship of her class, which were nicknamed the “Splendid Cats”. They were significant improvements over their predecessors of the Indefatigable class in terms of speed, armament and armour. This was in response to the first German battlecruisers, the Moltke class, which were very much larger and more powerful than the first British battlecruisers, the Invincible class.
Lion served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet’s battlecruisers throughout World War I, except when she was being refitted or under repair. She sank the German light cruiser Cöln during the Battle of Heligoland Bight and served as Vice-Admiral David Beatty’s flagship at the battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland. She was so badly damaged at the first of these battles that she had to be towed back to port and was under repair for more than two months. During the Battle of Jutland she suffered a serious propellant fire that could have destroyed the ship had it not been for the bravery of Royal Marine Major Francis Harvey, the gun turret commander, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross for having ordered the magazine flooded. The fire destroyed one gun turret which had to be removed for rebuilding while she was under repair for several months. She spent the rest of the war on uneventful patrols in the North Sea, although she did provide distant cover during the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1917. She was put into reserve in 1920 and sold for scrap in 1924 under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.
HMS Terrible was the second and last of the Powerful-class protected cruisers built for the Royal Navy (RN) in the 1890s. She served on the China Station and provided landing parties and guns which participated in the Siege and Relief of Ladysmith in the Second Boer War in South Africa. A few months later she did much the same thing to help suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China. During this time, her captain was Percy Scott who trained his crew to a high standard in gunnery and had his training methods adopted by the entire Royal Navy.
Upon Terrible’s return home in 1902, she was refitted for two years and was then placed in reserve, sporadically being activated to ferry replacements to China, escort a royal tour to India or participate in fleet manoeuvres. The ship served as an accommodation ship from 1909 to 1913. In July 1914, the month before First World War erupted, she was offered for sale. Thus, the offer was withdrawn, and she subsequently made one voyage as a troop transport in 1915 before becoming a depot ship. Terrible was assigned as a training ship in 1918 before being hulked and converted to suit the role two years later. The ship was sold for scrap in July 1932 and demolished several months later.
Design and description
The Powerful-class cruiser was designed to counter the Russian armoured cruiser Rurik which had been designed as a long-range commerce raider. This required long range and high speed to catch the Russian ship. The ships displaced 14,200 long tons (14,400 t) at normal load. They had an overall length of 538 feet (164.0 m), a beam of 71 feet (21.6 m) and a draught of 27 feet (8.2 m). The ships were powered by a pair of four-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by 48 Belleville boilers. The engines were designed to produce a total of 25,000 indicated horsepower (19,000 kW) using forced draught and gave a maximum speed of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). Terrible reached a maximum speed of 22.4 knots (41.5 km/h; 25.8 mph) from 25,572 ihp (19,069 kW) during her sea trials. She carried enough coal to give her a range of 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) and her complement consisted of 894 officers and ratings.
The main armament of the Powerful-class cruisers consisted of two 9.2-inch (234 mm) Mk VIII guns in single gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure. Her secondary armament of a dozen 6-inch (152 mm) Mk I or II guns was arranged in casemates amidships. The end casemates were the first two-storey (guns on the main and upper decks) casemates in the RN. For defence against torpedo boats, sixteen 12-pounder 3-inch (76 mm) 12-cwt guns and a dozen 3-pounder (47 mm (1.9 in)) Hotchkiss guns were fitted. Two additional 12-pounder 8-cwt guns could be dismounted for service ashore. The ships also mounted four submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes, a pair on each broadside.
With the exception of the barbettes, all of the protective plating of the cruisers was Harvey armour. The curved protective deck ranged in thickness from 2.5–4 inches (64–102 mm) and the conning tower was protected by 12 inches (305 mm). The armour of the gun turrets, their barbettes and the casemates was 6 inches thick. The casemates had 2-inch (51 mm) backs.
Construction and career
Terrible was laid down by J. & G. Thomson in their Clydebank shipyard on 21 February 1894 and launched on 27 May 1895. The ship arrived at H. M. Dockyard, Portsmouth on 4 June to be fitted out. She was temporarily commissioned in July 1897 to participate in the fleet review commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Terrible was commissioned for active service by Captain Charles Robinson on 24 March 1898. In May, she ferried the First Lord, George Goschen, and the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, Austen Chamberlain, to Gibraltar and Malta. While transporting relief crews for the Mediterranean Fleet to Malta in December, the ship set a record, taking 121 hours to cover 2,206 nmi (4,086 km; 2,539 mi) despite heavy weather in the Bay of Biscay. During the Portsmouth to Gibraltar leg she averaged 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) from 12,500 ihp (9,300 kW) and 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph) from Gibraltar to Malta.
On 13 March 1899, a boiler explosion while underway en route to England killed one stoker and injured three others, who were discharged to hospital on arrival. The inquest identified that the use of salt water caused extensive corrosion and blockages in the boiler tubes, seven of which consequently burst due to overheating.
Boer War and Boxer Rebellion
Captain Percy Scott relieved Robinson on 18 September 1899, with orders to take the ship for service on the China Station. Expecting hostilities to break out in South Africa, Scott persuaded the Admiralty to allow him to make passage via the Cape of Good Hope rather than the originally planned Suez Canal route. Terrible arrived at Simonstown on 14 October to find war imminent. With no threat from the sea, Scott set about determining how he might adapt the navy’s guns by mounting them on wheels for use on land as to support the army which lacked any long-range artillery and found that its ordinary guns were out-ranged by the Boer artillery. The mountings looked somewhat amateurish, causing the authorities to regard them with considerable suspicion. However, they proved very effective and the role of two of his 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns at the siege of Ladysmith received quite a bit of publicity. Terrible arrived at Durban on 6 November and Scott was appointed Military Commandant there the following day. A naval brigade from the Terrible accompanied the Ladysmith relief force, including two 4.7-inch and eighteen 12-pounder guns, and participated in the battles of Colenso (December 1899) and Spion Kop (January 1900) and the relief of Ladysmith on 28 February. Scott also adapted a small searchlight as a signal light mounted on a train to communicate with the besieged force in Ladysmith. After the relief of Ladysmith, Terrible’s crew rejoined her and she departed Durban on 27 March 1900.
She arrived at Hong Kong on 8 May and Scott mounted four 12-pounders on field carriages later that month, once he became aware that Terrible and her crew would be ordered north to assist British forces against the anti-foreigner movement known as the Boxers. Orders arrived on 15 June that Terrible was to load three companies of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and sail to Taku where she arrived on the 21st. A single 12-pounder gun accompanied the relief force that reached the foreign quarter of Tientsin on 24 June. The other three guns accompanied the expedition that defeated the Chinese forces in the city of Tientsin in mid-July. All four guns were part of the second relief expedition to Peking in August and her crewmen returned to the ship on 7 September. After hostilities ceased Scott focused to working up his ship’s gunnery capabilities, devising various training aids, and her crew shot a very respectable score of 78.8% in the 1900 prize firing. Terrible arrived in Hong Kong on 17 December after a typhoon had struck the city, and Scott volunteered to salvage the capsized dredger Canton River. Work began the following month and Scott succeeded two months later. In the Navy’s 1901 prize firing Terrible achieved a score of 80%, the best of any ship in the Navy.
In early 1902 Terrible spent several months at Hong Kong, providing relief and condensed water for the dockyard, amid an outbreak of cholera in the city leading to a water famine. In July 1902 Scott received orders to return with his ship to Britain, and after visits to Colombo and Aden, passed via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean where she visited Malta and Gibraltar before she returned to Portsmouth on 19 September. On her return, 700 of her officers and men were hosted to a public dinner in Portsmouth, before she was paid off on 24 October to begin a long refit at Messrs. John Brown and Co.′s works at Clydebank. During this refit, the RN added four 6-inch guns in casemates amidships, although no additional ammunition could be accommodated in the ship.
Terrible recommissioned on 24 June 1904 for special service and took out relief crews to the China Station, returning in December. She was paid off again on the 22nd, but was assigned to the reserve on 3 January 1905. The ship was activated in August to escort the battleship Renown carrying the Prince and Princess of Wales—the future King George V and Queen Mary—during their tour of India and returned home in early 1906. Terrible served as the temporary flagship of the 6th Cruiser Squadron during the annual manoeuvres in June and July and returned to reserve afterwards. She was reactivated on 7 November to ferry relief crews to China, losing a propeller on the return trip, and finished the voyage on one engine. The ship was refitted from 4 May 1908 to 1 April 1909 and was assigned to the Fourth Division of the Home Fleet upon its completion. Terrible was primarily used as an accommodation ship from 20 July until she was transferred to Pembroke Dock on 6 December 1913. The ship was listed for disposal in July 1914, but this was cancelled when the First World War began shortly afterwards.
Terrible was recommissioned in September 1915 to transport troops to the Dardanelles and her 9.2-inch guns were removed. She reached Mudros on 2 October and became a depot ship at Portsmouth upon her return. The ship was assigned as tender to HMS Vernon in January 1918 and then to HMS Fisgard a year later. In September 1919 Terrible was hulked, disarmed and had most of her propulsion machinery removed to convert her into a training ship for engineering apprentices. When the conversion was completed in August 1920, she was renamed Fisgard III. When Fisgard moved to accommodations ashore, the ship was listed for sale in January 1932 and was purchased in July by John Cashmore Ltd. She was towed to Newport, Wales in September and broken up. Parts of her teak would later be made into souvenirs and sold off.
The British Red Cross Society medal was awarded for service in the First World World and made by J. R. Gaunt & Son.
The medal was given to members of the British Red Cross and Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses who volunteered for one year or 1,000 hours of service during the First World War and did not receive a British War Medal.
The medal was only to be worn on a Red Cross uniform. Made from bronze gilt, the Latin inscription on the medal translates as “Admist the arms, love”.
Frank Buckley was born in Urmston, Lancashire in 1882. He attended St Francis Xavier’s College, Liverpool, and became an office clerk. Already part of the Manchester Regiment, Buckley signed up for a 12-year enlistment in the King’s Regiment (Liverpool) and expected to serve in the Boer War, but was instead sent to Ireland. He bought himself out of the army in 1902 to become a professional footballer.
He went from Aston Villa to Brighton & Hove Albion to Manchester United and Manchester Cityall within six years, and found something approaching stability only with Birmingham, where he made 56 appearances. Soon after that he was on the move again, this time to Derby County. It was with the Rams, in 1914, that he gained his sole England cap, in a shock 3–0 defeat by Ireland before upping sticks, again, to join Bradford City. His stay in Yorkshire shortened by the start of the First World War.
Frank Buckley went to war with the 17th Middlesex Regiment (where he commanded the Football Battalion), seeing action and receiving wounds in the Battle of the Somme, and rising to the rank of Major.
Frank played 34 matches for the Seagulls in 1905-06 scoring 2 goals.
Billy Hayes who played as a goalkeeper began his senior career with Preston North End, where he made 10 league appearances, all of them in the 1914–15 season. During the First World War, he played one match as a guest for Burnley. After the war, Hayes played for several clubs including Brighton & Hove Albion and Southend United playing more than 250 league matches. Towards the end of his career, he played for a number of non league sides.
Billy played 225 matches for the Seagulls between 1919 and 1924.
One of the great characters and most notable players in Brighton’s early years, Ben Garfield had played for England only four years before arriving in Hove and was a major capture for the infant club.
The slight winger began his career in his native Northamptonshire with Finedon and Kettering Town, and was introduced to the Football League by Burton Wanderers in June 1894 where he scored 27 goals in 59 Second Division matches over two seasons. Such form earned him a transfer to First Division West Bromwich Albion in May 1896, and he went on to become a most popular and famous performer with the “Throstles’, scoring 38 goals in 117 League and Cup games over six years. It was an excellent return for a winger in any era, and Ben was rewarded with an England cap in March 1898 in a 3-2 defeat of Ireland in Belfast.
Although he suffered a number of injuries during his time with West Brom, it still caused a minor sensation when he was released to join Brighton in August 1902 amid competition from more illustrious clubs. At 30 years of age, Ben made quite an impact at the Goldstone with some sparkling displays, the finest of which was undoubtedly his four-goal performance in the 5-3 defeat of Watford in the test match that clinched promotion to the Southern League’s First Division in April 1903.
A real bundle of energy, he gave total commitment, but the injury problems continued and his appearances became fewer. In May 1905, Ben was released and moved to Tunbridge Wells Rangers, but was soon forced to retire.
Ben played 64 matches for the Seagulls between 1902 and 1905 scoring 29 goals.
Walter Anthony developed both his physique and his game at the Goldstone to become a fine player. He rarely missed a game, and produced such sparkling displays in his third season with the club that he was sold for a big fee.
Walter began his career in Derbyshire junior soccer with Osmaston before progressing to Heanor Town in February 1899. His form with the Midland Leaguers attracted nearby Nottingham Forest and in February 1903 he was offered a professional engagement by the Football League giants at the age of 23, but he was considered too frail to compete in the hurly-burly of senior football and failed to fulfil his early promise, making just six First Division appearances before his release to join the Albion in May 1905.
Having impressed during the three F.A. Cup matches with Preston North End in January 1908, the 28-year-old winger was transferred to Blackburn Rovers the following month as the main part of a triple deal which also saw the departure of Dick Wombwell and Joe Lumley for Ewood Park.
Walter went on to make 149 League appearances for the First Division side and won a League championship medal in 1911-12. In May 1914 he dropped into the Lancashire Combination with Stalybridge Celtic. Walter was the younger brother of the Nottinghamshire cricketers George and Henry Anthony.
Walter made 119 appearances for the Seagulls between 1905-08 scoring 13 goals.
West Derby, Lancashire born inside left George Ritchie began his football career with Rossendale United and joined Lancashire Combination club Chester in 1910. Signed by Preston North End in 1912, he spent 1912-13 on the books at Deepdale without making their first eleven, before a move to Southern League club Norwich City in 1913. His career was then interrupted as the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915, and during the War Ritchie served as a guardsman in The Grenadier Guards and also played one match of wartime league football for Liverpool in 1915-16.
After the War he signed for Southern League club Brighton & Hove Albion in 1919, and after Brighton joined the new Third Division in 1920, Ritchie made his Football League debut in The Seagulls’ inaugural League fixture at Southend United that August, playing in their next two matches before losing his place. He transferred to Reading in the 1921 close season, scoring the only goal of the match on his debut against Newport County that August, the first of 4 goals in 10 appearances for The Royals before he lost his place that November. Ritchie joined non league side Northfleet United in 1922, his last known club before his eventual retirement.
Kennington, London born right back Fred Blackman had been on the books at Arsenal in 1907-08 without making their first eleven and played for Hastings & St Leonards in 1908 before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in May 1909, where he made a big impression prompting The Athletic News to label him as “wonderfully quick on his feet, sure kicker with either foot, fearless tackler”, and he was ever present as they won the Southern League Championship in his first year at the club. In September 1910, he was a member of the Albion team that beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to win the Charity Shield with a goal from Charlie Webb.
He twice represented The Southern League against the Football League. In January 1911 he was given an England trial at Tottenham, without being selected for the full England squad. After making 76 appearances for The Seagulls, he signed for Second Division club Huddersfield Town for £300 in May 1911, making his Football League debut that September against Barnsley and quickly establishing himself as a fixture in the first team. When Arthur Fairclough replaced Dick Pudan as manager at the end of the campaign and appointed Blackman captain; he missed just two games and led them to a fifth place finish in 1912-13.
He was a regular in The Terriers’ first team until February 1914, when he joined Leeds City after 96 matches for Huddersfield Town for a fee reported to be “upwards of £1,000”. According to the Leeds Mercury, the transfer “caused quite a sensation in Huddersfield soccer circles yesterday, and the action of the Huddersfield Town directorate in parting with their most reliable defensive player was somewhat adversely criticised”. The Yorkshire Post described him as “possibly the most stylish and polished back in the Second Division” with “few equals as a tackler”; the Leeds Mercury claimed he was “regarded as one of the best full-backs in the Second Division… a cool and resourceful defender, who kicks to a very useful length. He is a man of fine physique standings 5ft 11 ¾ in and weighing 11st 1lb”.
Blackman continued playing regularly making 46 appearances before peacetime football was halted by the onset of the First World War. After 46 appearances for Leeds City, Blackman returned to London at the end of the 1914-15 season, though City retained his registration, and he guested during the War years with Fulham. After the War he signed for Southern League club Queen’s Park Rangers in July 1919 and when they joined The Football League a year later Blackman played in their inaugural Football League match against Watford in August 1920, and making 43 appearances for Rangers during their first two League seasons before his retirement.
Inside left George Holley was born in Seaham, County Durham and played local football for three different Seaham clubs: Seaham Athletic in 1901, Seaham Villa in 1902 and Wearside League champions Seaham White Star in 1903 before joining First Division Sunderland in November 1904. Initially, Holley played in the reserves where he was a regular goal scorer, although he made a scoring Football League debut away to Sheffield Wednesday in a 1-1 draw on 27th December 1904. Following the transfer of Alf Common to Middlesbrough in February 1905, Holley became a first team regular.
In his first few seasons at Roker Park he was overshadowed as a goal scorer by Arthur Bridgett, but in 1907-08 he was the club’s top scorer with 24 League goals. On 5th December 1908, Holley scored a hat-trick in a 9-1 victory at St James’ Park over bitter local rivals Newcastle United, with the other goals coming from Billy Hogg (another hat-trick), Bridgett (two) and Jackie Mordue. Despite this Sunderland finished the 1908-09 season in third place, with Newcastle finishing as League Champions.
Holley won his first international cap for England against Wales on 15th March 1909, playing on the right alongside his Sunderland team mate, Arthur Bridgett with Holley scoring after 15 minutes as England ran out 2-0 victors. Holley was also selected for the 1909 summer tour of Europe, playing in all three matches, scoring twice in both the 8-2 victory over Hungary and the 8-1 victory over Austria. Holley scored five goals in five internationals that season. Surprisingly, he was dropped from the team after failing to score in the first game (against Wales) the following season. He did however go on the FA Tour of South Africa in the summer of 1910, scoring 3 goals in 3 “Test Matches” against South Africa. He also made 5 appearances for The Football League in representative matches.
Holley continued to score plenty of goals for Sunderland and ended up as the First Division joint top scorer in the 1911-12 season with 25 goals. During the season he scored four goals in a 5-0 defeat of Manchester United at Roker Park on 27th January 1912, as well as a hat-trick in a 4-0 win against Everton in April. He also won back his place in the England team and scored in all three games he played in the 1912 British Home Championship.
Sunderland won the League Championship in the 1912-13 season. Holley’s 12 goals made an important contribution although the club’s top scorer was Charlie Buchan with 27 goals. Buchan later argued that in a game against Bradford City on 2nd November 1912, Holley’s performance was the best he ever saw by an inside-forward. “He scored a magnificent hat-trick, running nearly half the length of the field each time and coolly dribbling the ball round goalkeeper Jock Ewart before placing it in the net.” Sunderland narrowly missed out on the Double, losing the 1913 FA Cup Final 1-0 to Aston Villa at The Crystal Palace. Holley was not fully fit for the Cup Final and went into the game with his ankle and knee bandaged.
Holley played his last game for Sunderland against Everton in April 1915 after which his career was interrupted by the suspension of peacetime football with the advent of the First World War, having scored 160 goals in 360 appearances. He was Sunderland’s top scorer in five separate seasons and during his time at the club. Altogether he scored nine hat-tricks for Sunderland and his scoring record for Sunderland is bettered only by Bobby Gurney, Charlie Buchan and Dave Halliday.
After the War, Holley left Sunderland to play for Brighton & Hove Albion in July 1919 where he scored 5 goals in 13 appearances during their first post war Southern League season. He retired from playing in 1920 and returned to Sunderland in January 1921 for an 18-month spell as a coach. He later had spells coaching at Wolverhampton Wanderers for ten years and then at Barnsley.
His son, Tom played as a central defender for Barnsley from 1932 to 1936, and then for Leeds United from 1936 to 1948.
Curragh Camp, County Kildare, Ireland born inside left Charlie Webb is truly one of the greatest figures in the history of Brighton & Hove Albion. He was born into a Scottish military family began his football career as a 16-year-old, when he played first-team football for West Sussex League club Worthing, and in his second season, he contributed to Worthing winning a treble of the Sussex Senior Cup, the West Sussex Senior League, and a local charity cup. In 1904, Webb followed in the family tradition by enlisting in the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment, and while serving in Ireland, he furthered his football career playing for his regimental team in the Leinster Senior League, and from 1907 he played in the Irish League for Bohemians. He scored freely for his regiment – in November 1907 he scored all seven in a 7-4 defeat of Dublin University – and early the following year was the only player from outside the Irish League to be selected for the Leinster representative team to play Ulster and later that year was chosen to represent The Irish League in a match against The Football League, when he played in a 6-3 defeat at Roker Park in October 1907.
He had a trial with Scottish club Rangers in 1908 and in November that year he was capped by the Ireland amateur national team, in a match against the England Amateurs at Dalymount Park, Dublin. Described by The Times’ reporter as “distinctly the best of an indifferent forward line”, he scored Ireland’s late consolation goal in a 5-1 defeat.
In January 1909, while on Christmas leave from his regiment, Webb played and scored for Brighton & Hove Albion in a Southern League match against West Ham United. On his return, the Army discovered he had appeared alongside professionals and banned him from military football for 12 months. The Football Association fined the Brighton club £5 “for having approached and played Webb in violation of the Rules of the Association.” Rumours that the military authorities would prevent him playing for Bohemians in the semi-final of the Irish Cup proved unfounded, but when Webb finished on the winning side, the Irish Times reported that Glentoran, the losing club, intended to protest his inclusion, on the grounds that playing in the Southern League made him ineligible to appear in the Irish Cup competition. The result stood, though by the time the Final was played, Webb had left the club. Forced to choose between his military and his football career, he bought himself out of the Army and signed for Brighton & Hove Albion as an amateur.
A few days later, Webb became the first Brighton player to be capped at full international level when he made his debut for Ireland in a 5-0 defeat against Scotland at Ibrox Park on 15th March 1909. In his second international match, a week later against Wales at Grosvenor Park, Belfast, Ireland lost 3-2, and Webb had to play the second half out of position at left half because of an injury sustained by English McConnell. Called up after Aberdeen’s Charlie O’Hagan withdrew from the party selected to play England in 1910, Webb was unable to accept the invitation. His third and final cap came the following March against Scotland, as replacement for James Macauley; given “one rare chance to open the scoring … with no one to beat but the goalkeeper”, he shot wide faced with an open goal as Scotland went on to win 2-0 at Celtic Park, Glasgow.
Webb proved a reliable goalscorer from inside left for Brighton, and in the 1909-10 season he scored nine times as the Seagulls won the Southern League title for the only time and in the FA Charity Shield he scored the winner against Football League Champions Aston Villa – the only time a Southern League team won the Shield. At the end of the 1909-10 season, the Times reported that “Brighton and Hove Albion have not had much difficulty in finishing at the head of the Southern League”. Webb played in every game as Albion won their first and, as of today, only major League title.
This achievement earned them a place in the FA Charity Shield in which they faced reigning Football League champions Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in London on 5th September 1910. The only goal of the game was scored in the second half, following a corner kick taken by Albion’s Bert Longstaff. Aston Villa’s goalkeeper parried the ball into a knot of players, from where Bill Hastings touched it to Webb, “who cleverly evaded a couple of Villa defenders and found the net with a rising cross-shot.” Crowds packed the area around Brighton railway station to welcome the victors home at 11:30 pm, and the Sussex Daily News suggested that the team could “now be dubbed as Champions of England”. A testimonial fund raised more than £120 which was distributed among the professional players. As an amateur, Webb could receive no prize money, so the club presented him with a gold tie-pin instead. He turned professional soon afterwards.
He finished as the club’s leading scorer in 1912-13, with 13 goals in all competitions, and went on to set a club record for goals scored in the Southern League of 64. Though his Ireland career was at an end, Webb continued to be selected in representative teams. In September 1912, he scored for The Southern League as the Football League XI beat them 2-1 at Old Trafford, Manchester, and the following season, he was selected for a Southern Alliance eleven to play that League’s champions, Croydon Common; among his teammates was Patsy Hendren, the England Test cricketer. However a serious leg injury sustained in a match against Millwall in November 1914 effectively put an end to his playing career, not helped by the onset of the First World War. By that time Webb had scored 68 goals in 232 League, Cup and Charity Shield appearances for Brighton, and 79 goals in 275 matches in all competitions.
On the outbreak of War, Brighton & Hove Albion supported the War effort by having a rifle range built at The Goldstone Ground. Webb led rifle drill on the pitch, using wooden replicas where there were insufficient actual weapons to go round. He re-enlisted as a Second Lieutenant in The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and served on the Western Front from July 1917. Promoted to Acting Captain (the rank was confirmed after the War), he was leading a patrol near Nesle in March 1918 when they were challenged in French. Unfortunately for Webb and his men, the French speakers were German troops. Preferring to avoid unnecessary injury or death, Webb surrendered. He saw out the duration as a Prisoner of War in Mainz, Germany. While awaiting repatriation, he received a letter from the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion offering him the post of team manager, an appointment he took up on his demobilisation in 1919.
The club had closed down during the War, so Webb’s first task was not only rebuilding the team but also involving himself with rebuilding the ground. Competition resumed in 1919-20, Brighton’s final season in the Southern League, and the following season Webb led the team into the Football League as a Third Division was formed largely comprising the Southern League First Division teams of the year before. Awarded a testimonial in recognition of his service to the club, Webb chose the League game against Watford in April 1921 as his benefit match; it attracted more than 10,000 spectators and raised nearly £500. In the 1923-24 FA Cup, Webb led Albion to the Fifth Round (last 16), defeating First Division Everton on the way in what he later described as “the best Cup exhibition of any Albion team under my management”.
He earned a reputation as a sound judge of a player. Immediately after the War, the signing of former England international forward George Holley for a club record £200 fee was viewed as quite a coup. Holley suffered a career-ending injury, so hardly played, but Webb replaced him with Jack Doran who finished as the club’s top scorer despite joining halfway through the season. He brought Tommy Cook through from the juniors into the first team; Cook was top scorer in three seasons, but when he left the club to concentrate on his cricket career, Webb brought in the Queens Park Rangers reserve Hugh Vallance, who turned out to be a “goalscoring phenomenon” alongside Dan Kirkwood. Again, when twice top scorer Arthur Attwood succumbed to appendicitis in 1933, Webb signed former Norwich City centre-forward Oliver “Buster” Brown who had failed to break into the first team at West Ham United; with regular football at Albion, Brown produced 41 goals in his first two seasons.
Between the wars, Webb’s teams finished in the top five of the Third Division (South) on ten occasions, but challenged seriously for promotion only in the latter half of the 1930’s. He led the team to third place in 1936-37, despite an uneasy relationship with the club’s board, the supporters, and the press. The board came under criticism for alleged interference in team affairs, having undue influence over the manager in pressing the claims for selection of one player over another. Letters to the local press suggested that Webb should “be allowed greater freedom”, while in the Evening Argus, the pseudonymous “Crusader”‘s “vitriolic attacks on the directors and management of Brighton and Hove Albion for their alleged lack of ambition and inept team selections … generated a massive readership response” and led to “near physical confrontations with Charlie Webb, the beleaguered manager and former Albion player, despite the team usually finishing in a respectable position in the League table.” The club’s relationship with the local newspaper worsened during the 1937-38 season, to the extent that “Crusader” was “either banned by the directors or was voluntarily taken off by [the editor]”. Webb himself told the Daily Express: “Here you have a town full of people with money, yet hardly one of them will give us a hand. Without attractive new players and a winning team you can’t get gates and without gates you can’t have money.”
Nevertheless, the national press recognised his achievements. A Daily Mirror feature in 1939 compared him to George Allison of Arsenal and Major Frank Buckley of Wolverhampton Wanderers:
“but where some think and act in thousands of pounds, Charles is compelled to do the same in pence, and the consistently good football of Brighton is a tribute in itself … His great knowledge of the game has saved his club money in the way of transfer fees, and the reserve team is composed entirely of players found by him, costing not a penny. Even the first team cost very little, the highest fee paid being £50, and yet Brighton have been keen fighters for promotion for the past three seasons.”
A Guardian retrospective on the club, written in 1973, described how “Brighton had a skilful team usually playing to the top six” under Webb, “whose transfer acquisitions were as often as not costed on the price of his train ticket and buffet sandwiches”.
No longer of an age for active service, Webb joined the Home Guard during the Second World War. Brighton & Hove Albion continued to compete in the various wartime leagues, and Webb skilfully exploited the regulations allowing players to make guest appearances for the club nearest to their base. He was particularly fortunate that the King’s Liverpool Regiment’s posting to Newhaven in 1941 gave him the pick of Liverpool’s pre-war team. In their absence, he was reduced to selecting youngsters or soliciting members of the crowd to make up the numbers, as at Norwich City at Christmas 1940, when his travelling party of one senior player and three amateurs was supplemented by Jimmy Ithell of Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City juniors and local servicemen; Albion lost 18-0.
At the end of the 1946-47 season, at the age of 60, Webb handed over responsibility for team affairs to former player Tommy Cook, remaining with the club on the administrative side, as secretary and general manager. A few days after a 4-0 home defeat to Walsall left Albion at the bottom of the table, provoking a demonstration after the match, the directors appointed Don Welsh as secretary-manager. Webb stayed on until the end of the 1947-48 season to assist his successor, then left the club and retired from football. Such was Webb’s standing in the game that he was awarded a second testimonial. In September 1949, Portsmouth, reigning League Champions, though unable to field a full first team because “[their] dressing-room [was] like a hospital”, beat Arsenal, their predecessors as Champions, by two goals to one in “an exhibition of memorable football” at the Goldstone Ground. After his retirement, he wrote a regular column in the Sussex Daily News.
Webb’s stewardship as Brighton’s manager lasted 28 years in charge remains a club record and spanned 1,200 games and the club’s election to the Football League as founder members of the Third Division in 1920. He famously produced a number of steady sides on a shoestring budget and worked tirelessly for the club, selling tickets for cup ties from his house and storing the gate money in his larder over the weekend while waiting for the bank to open!
Webb is still fondly remembered in his adopted town. In 2003 a bus was named after him and that same year a plaque was unveiled in his honour at his long-time home on Frith Road. His daughter, Joyce, born on the same day as the 1910 FA Charity Shield match, spoke on screen at Brighton’s centenary evening, at which her father was one of 24 former players and managers nominated as “Legends” and profiled in the commemorative volume. According to Jess Willard, one of Webb’s post-Second World War signings, “everybody called him Mr Webb because he was a perfect gentleman”. A 1929 feature on the club in the Sussex County Magazine spoke of him as “one of the most dominating personalities associated with the club”, discharging his managerial duties “with such conspicuous success” while remaining “genial and popular with directors, players and public alike”.
One of the great successes of Albion’s earliest days, Jock Caldwell a robust defender with a prodigious kick who became the club’s first penalty expert, thirteen of his fifteen goals came from the spot (or line, as it was until 1902).
The Ayrshire-born full-back began his professional career with Hibernian before coming south to join Woolwich Arsenal in August 1894. After 59 Second Division games in two seasons at Plumstead he returned to Scotland for a short spell with Third Lanark, but rejoined Arsenal in December 1896, adding another 35 Second Division appearances to his total.
With his reputation growing, Jock also represented the ‘Professionals of the South’ in a 2-0 defeat in March 1897 at the hands of a London F.A. XI at the Leyton Cricket Ground.
In May 1898, Jock was one of the first players to be recruited by the newly formed Brighton United and played in 45 of the ill-fated club’s 49 competitive matches in its initial season, but then returned to Scotland again to play for the Ayrshire junior side Galton.
In 1901 the 26-year-old was tempted back to Hove to join the Albion on its formation, and became an essential member of the team until May 1904. During the 1902-03 promotion campaign Jock was the club captain, but his last season at the Goldstone, 1904-05, was spent entirely in the reserves.
Jock played 65 matches for the Seagulls between 1901 and 1905 scoring 15 goals.
Preston, Lancashire born left back Joe Leeming started his football career with junior club Turton in 1896 before joining First Division Bury, for whom he made his Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers in April 1898. From the following season he was an ever present, playing mainly centre half or inside left until he switched to left back from 1905, and he stayed a total of 11 seasons with The Shakers. During that time he won the FA Cup twice with Bury, playing in their 4-0 victory over Southampton in the 1900 Final and scoring twice (playing as a forward) in their record 6-0 thrashing of Derby County in the 1903 Final, both staged at The Crystal Palace. In November 1899 he was selected to play for The Football League against The Irish League in a 3-1 victory at Burnden Park, Bolton, but he never played for England.
He scored 20 goals in 280 appearances for Bury before joining Southern League Brighton & Hove Albion in 1908, where he became the club captain and played a further six years, most notably he helped Brighton win the 1909-10 Southern League Championship, and also was a member of the Albion team that won the 1910 FA Charity Shield when they beat League Champions Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge that September. In the five years that the Charity Shield was contested by the winners of the Football League and Southern League between 1908 and 1912, this was the only occasion on which the Southern League Champions prevailed. The victory remains Brighton & Hove Albion’s only national honour to date.. In 1914 he returned to Lancashire to join non league Chorley before retirement, having played 193 matches for Brighton without ever scoring.
He was the father of the footballer Clifford Leeming, who went on to play for various clubs including Bolton Wanderers, Bury and Tranmere Rovers.
Sheffield born centre half Billy Booth joined First Division hometown club Sheffield United from Thorpe Hesley Parish Church in 1907 making his Football League debut at Blackburn Rovers in January 1908, which proved his only Blades appearance. He joined Southern League Brighton & Hove Albion in the close season of 1908 and helped Brighton win the 1909-10 Southern League Championship. He also was a member of the Albion team that won the 1910 FA Charity Shield when they beat League Champions Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge that September. In the five years that the Charity Shield was contested by the winners of the Football League and Southern League between 1908 and 1912, this was the only occasion on which the Southern League Champions prevailed. The victory remains Brighton & Hove Albion’s only national honour to date.
Booth was called into the England squad in February 1913 being a non playing reserve against Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast, but never returned to the England set up and remained uncapped. However he did represent The Southern League against The Football League in 1914. Booth also served as a private in the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) during the First World War. He played both sides of the War for Brighton scoring 8 goals in 303 appearances for the Seagulls but joined Midland League club Castleford Town in 1920, returning to the South coast to play for Worthing in 1921 before his eventual retirement.
Smethwick, Staffordshire born right half Jack Woodhouse began his football career with Cheddleton Asylum and signed for Southern League club Brighton and Hove Albion in 1912, playing for them both sides of the First World War, featuring regularly in Brighton’s team during 1914-15, and by the time peacetime football was suspended in May 1915 he had scored 9 goals in 52 appearances for The Seagulls. During the War he fought with the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment), the so called Footballers’ Battalion, serving as a private.
After the War’s conclusion he returned to Brighton in 1919 and was a near ever present in their 1919-20 campaign which was their last in the Southern League, being called up to play for the FA XI on the tour of South Africa in 1920. When Brighton joined The Football League he made his League debut in their inaugural Third Division fixture at Southend United in August 1920. Indeed, he was ever present in the season and was the club’s only ever present player. He kept his place until 1923, when he was seemingly injured in the second game of the 1923-24 season and was forced into retirement after 22 goals in 241 appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tipton, Staffordshire born centre forward William Jones played for Smethwick Town in 1899 and for Birmingham & District League club Halesowen in 1900 before turning professional with First Division Small Heath in 1901, making his Football League debut against Sheffield United that October, scoring in a 5-1 victory. However he only played 4 times as they were relegated, playing more of a role the following season as they were promoted at first time of asking in 1903 as Second Division runners up. He was their leading scorer for four successive seasons, from 1903-04 to 1906-07, and his performances were rewarded in October 1904 with selection for the Football League against the Irish Football League in a 2-0 victory in Belfast. Jones then suffered a series of injuries, the team’s form declined, and, believing the player to be past his best, the club, now re-named Birmingham, released him at the end of the 1908-09 season.
Jones joined Brighton & Hove Albion of the Southern League. He was top scorer for them in both his full seasons, with 22 and 19 goals respectively in all competitions. He significantly contributed to them winning the 1910 Southern League Championship and the 1910 FA Charity Shield, in which they beat Aston Villa, Football League Champions, and scored the winning goal in the 1910 Southern Professional Charity Cup. Nevertheless, when Birmingham wanted to re-sign him in January 1912, the form of Jimmy Smith meant that Albion’s directors were willing to let him go for a £300 fee after 42 goals in 85 appearances..
Jones again top-scored for Birmingham in 1912-13, bringing his total for the club to 102 goals from 253 appearances in all competitions, before returning to Brighton in November 1914. Across his two spells with Birmingham he had scored 102 goals in 252 appearances.
In October 1914, Jones played for a Southern League representative team against The Scottish League; the game, played at Millwall’s ground in London, finished as a 1-1 draw. By January 1915, Jones, like many of his teammates, had enlisted in the Football Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. They trained at the White City in London, were released at weekends to play for their clubs, and Jones finished the season, the last completed before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the First World War, as Albion’s top scorer for the third time.
He returned to the club after the War, played his last competitive first-team match in December 1919, at just short of 39 years old, and continued to appear occasionally for the reserves until as late as 1927. His combined record for Brighton saw him score 63 goals in 156 appearances. He later performed various roles for the club, as assistant trainer, scout and groundsman.
Canning Town, London born goalkeeper Robert “Pom Pom” Whiting began his football career with South West Ham in 1904 and spent 1905 on the books of Southern League club West Ham United without making their first eleven. He joined Kent League club Tunbridge Wells Rangers later in 1905. On 13th January 1906, Whiting played in goal for Tunbridge Wells Rangers in a F.A. Cup tie against Norwich City. Scouts for Chelsea were impressed by his performance and in April 1906 he was signed signed by Second Division club Chelsea, where he was initially understudy to the legendary William “Fatty” Foulke, making his Football League debut at Bristol City in April 1906 as Chelsea missed out on promotion to the First Division, finishing third in their inaugural League season. When Foulke joined Bradford City, Whiting assumed the Chelsea gloves and he was a virtual ever present in 1906-07, missing just two matches as Chelsea won promotion, finishing runners up in the Second Division. But in the top flight he lost his place to Jack Whitley in December 1907 and joined Southern League club Brighton & Hove Albion in the 1908 close season after 54 appearances for The Pensioners.
Whiting was noted for his punched clearances and long distance kicking. It is reported that “on more than one occasion he drove the ball from his goal area to the opposite square – a matter of a hundred yards”. Whiting’s kicking power was compared to the force and range of the military Pom Pom Gun, hence his nickname of “Pom Pom”, which he already had during his time at Chelsea.
It was at Brighton that Whiting spent the rest of his career, making 253 appearances for The Seagulls until the suspension of peacetime football due to the onset of the First World War in 1915. Most notably Whiting helped Brighton win the 1909-10 Southern League Championship when Whiting conceded just 28 goals in 42 matches, still a Brighton club record for a 42 game season, and also was a member of the Albion team that won the 1910 FA Charity Shield when they beat League Champions Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge that September. In the five years that the Charity Shield was contested by the winners of the Football League and Southern League between 1908 and 1912, this was the only occasion on which the Southern League Champions prevailed. The victory remains Brighton and Hove Albion’s only national honour to date. Whiting continued as a regular between Albion’s posts and in 1914, to mark the goalkeeper’s six years with Brighton & Hove Albion, the club planned a benefit match for Bob Whiting, but this was postponed because of the outbreak of the First World War
In December 1914, four months after the outbreak of the First World War, Whiting enlisted in The Football Battalion, The 17th Service Battalion of The Middlesex Regiment. He was killed in action whilst assaulting a fortified German position at Oppy Wood during The Battle of Arras on 28th April 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Whiting was married with three sons and the second-youngest, William, later followed in his footsteps to play as a goalkeeper for Tunbridge Wells Rangers.
Leek, Staffordshire born Arthur Hulme began his career as an inside right in local junior football from where he signed for Second Division club Lincoln City in June 1897. He made his Football League debut on 4th September, the opening day of the 1897-98 Football League season, in the away match at Newton Heath (now Manchester United), Lincoln lost 5-0. He played regularly, scoring 13 goals from 31 appearances in all competitions, 12 from 29 in the League, but was released at the end of the season.
Hulme and a Lincoln teammate, goalkeeper William Wilkinson, were two of numerous new signings for Southern League club Gravesend United for the 1898-99 season but after a single season neither was retained for the following campaign. The club’s committee was keen to dispense with the services of “the men with drinking reputations, who proved such failures last season”, though there is no indication that Hulme was one such. He played for Midland League club Wellingborough in 1899 before returning to the Southern League with Bristol Rovers in 1900.
Hulme signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in 1901 ahead of their second season in the Southern League. His profile in Carder and Harris’s Albion A-Z describes him as highly influential in Brighton’s successful campaign for promotion to the First Division, and, by now playing in defence at right back, he missed only one match in their first campaign at the higher level. In 1904-05, he played more frequently for the reserves than for the first team, though he did replace the injured centre half Micky Good for the high profile FA Cup tie against his former club Bristol Rovers. Albion lost 2-1, and the winning Rovers players were presented with gold medals in honour of their victory.
At the end of that season, Hulme was one of only three players retained by Albion. He was appointed club captain and contributed to their reaching the last 32 of the 1905-06 FA Cup, in which they lost to Football League First Division club Middlesbrough, only after two replays; according to the Daily Mirror’s match report, Hulme played splendidly. By 1907 he was again primarily a reserve, standing in when Arthur Archer was unavailable. In recognition of his five years’ service to the club, he became the first Albion player to be awarded a benefit match. The chosen match was the Western League fixture against Southampton, but the weather was extremely wet and the attendance was reported as “barely two thousand”. He played only one first team match in 1908-09, and retired at the end of the season, having scored 7 goals from 174 appearances for Albion in first team competition. He then returned to his native Leek where he was trainer of local team Leek United.
Hulme enlisted in The Royal Sussex Regiment at the start of the First World War. He was serving as a corporal in the 7th Battalion at the time of his death in action at Gueudecourt, on the Somme in October 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and on the Nicholson War Memorial in Leek.
Born in Belfast, but brought up in the north east of England, centre forward Jack Doran was discovered playing junior football in Newcastle and played for Northumberland against Durham in 1910-11, but he started his professional career at Southern League New Brompton (now Gillingham) in 1912 where his stay was brief, joining Gravesend United in December the same year. He then returned to the north east with North Shields Athletic, and having joined them in May 1914 he made a single Southern League appearance for Coventry City scoring twice in a 3-1 away Southern League Division Two victory at Ebbw Vale in March 1915 while on leave, having enlisted in the Army in September 1914 and with the 17th Middlesex Regiment (1st Football Battalion) in February 1915. He was gassed at the Battle of the Somme & again at the Battle of Cambrai, being awarded the Military Medal while in France in October 1916. Doran had brief spells as a guest with Brentford and Newcastle United towards the end of the conflict in 1918-19.
Immediately after the First World War he played for Southern League Norwich City under his ex Commanding Officer, Major Frank Buckley, scoring 18 goals in 25 appearances in 1919-20 before signing for Brighton & Hove Albion in February 1920. He still managed to finish as Brighton’s top scorer with 10 goals in 10 games (his 18 goals at Norwich meaning he topped the goalscoring charts for both clubs), as he would for the next two seasons, netting 54 times in 81 games. At the start of the 1921-22 season he scored hat-tricks in home and away victories over Exeter City, scoring all six of Brighton’s goals in the two matches, and then scored five times in a 7-0 win over Northampton Town in November, before signing for Manchester City in August 1922.
It was feats such as his five goal haul that convinced the Irish selectors of Doran’s potential international pedigree, he made his Ireland debut against England at Roker Park in October 1920 and won further caps a year later again against England at Windsor Park, Belfast and against Wales at the same venue in April 1922. His form did not transfer to the international scene however, as he failed to score in any of his three international appearances. At City he couldn’t break into the (very strong) team at Maine Road playing only 3 games in the next two years, scoring once, and having moved to centre half while with City he eventually left for Crewe Alexandra in January 1924. Although he also featured at centre half for Crewe, a return of one goal in 16 games was all he mustered, and that goal was something of an oddity:
On 3rd March 1924, in a match against Bradford Park Avenue, Crewe were awarded a penalty for handball – Doran’s effort was saved by ‘keeper Alf Laycock. A few minutes later another handball offence was committed, and another penalty awarded. This time Doran shot wide, but a retake was awarded. Now Doran’s team mate, William Goodwin stepped up, only to hit the crossbar. Once again the referee spotted an infringement and it was Doran who stepped up again to score (at last). Laycock had faced four penalties in the space of five minutes; Doran had taken three of them and finally found the net. The match finished 1-1.
He had a spell at Southern League Mid-Rhondda United from July to December 1924 when he returned to Ireland to join Shelbourne, where he scored 7 goals during the rest of the season. He scored the third goal as Shelbourne defeated Athlone Town 4-0 in the semi final of the 1925 Free State Cup, and appeared on the losing side in the Final. He then had a brief spell with Irish League Fordsons before returning to England with Midland League Boston Town in August 1925, finishing his career back in Ireland with Waterford Celtic, where he was also appointed coach, going on to be their manager in 1930.
Cuckfield, Sussex born centre forward Tommy Cook joined Brighton & Hove Albion from his local club Cuckfield, signing amateur forms while serving in the Royal Navy during the First World War and turning professional in August 1920, making his Football League debut at Queens Park Rangers in September 1922. He played seven seasons for The Seagulls and developed a record as a consistent goalscorer bagging over 20 goals in three of those seasons. His 28 goals in 1923-24 included 4 goals in a 5-0 win over Bournemouth in December 1923 and further hat-tricks against Aberdare Athletic, Reading, Newport County and most impressively First Division Everton in a 5-2 FA Cup shock in February 1924. He followed these feats with successive hat-tricks against Newport County and Merthyr Town as his 18 goal return again saw him top Brighton’s goalscoring charts.
In February 1925 he was selected to play for England against Wales at The Vetch Field, Swansea in a 2-1 England victory, it proved to be his only England cap. He missed much of the following season but still scored 8 goals in 10 appearances during the late summer and autumn, returning to the top of Brighton’s goalscoring charts in 1926-27 and 1927-28 with 23 and 26 goals respectively (including a hat-trick against Millwall in September 1927), although in the former season he was outscored by Sam Jennings as Brighton recorded successive 4th place League finishes.
He played his last Brighton game of 209 in total, scoring in a win over Walsall in May 1929, and, having scored 123 goals, had a spell at non league Northfleet joining them in September 1930, before returning to League football with Bristol Rovers in October 1931, top scoring with 19 goals during the rest of the season. In two seasons at Eastville he kept up his ratio of at least a goal every other game by scoring 22 in 44 appearances for The Pirates before retiring in 1933 to concentrate on his cricket.
Cook fought during the Second World War with The South African Air Force, rising to the rank of corporal in January 1943. He was seriously injured in an accident at an air school, which hospitalised him for 6 months. He later returned to Brighton becoming their manager from May to November 1947.
He was almost as well known as a first class county cricketer as for his football. Between 1922 and 1937 he played cricket for Sussex making a top score of 278 and averaging over 30 with the bat in first class cricket.
Alfred Richard Stocks, born in 1915, a pre-war regular was serving as a Private (No.6596188) with the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment during the Arab rebellion in Palestine in 1936. It is likely that he was with the Battalion when it was sent to join the International Force overseeing the Saar’s referendum in 1934. The records state that by that time Alfred had attained the rank of Lance Corporal.
During World War 2 his unit saw service in the Sudan, where having broken and retreated in disorder was withdrawn from the frontline and sent back to Palestine for a period of time.
The 1st Battalion later served in Burma as part of the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Chindit Expedition. In 1944, the Infantry Brigade fought in the Naga Hills to the north and east of Kohima, and while a part of Wingate’s Special Force they were the only Long Range Penetration Unit that did not take part in Operation Thursday, the principal Chindit operation in 1944.
Alfred was evacuated to England and later died at Southend Municipal Hospital, Rochford on 16th May 1944. He is buried at Eastwood (St. Laurence and All Saints) Churchyard.
Alfred was awarded the General Service Medal clasp Palenstine, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star and 1939-45 War Medal.
The son of Sussex off spinner Fred Tate, Maurice Tate began his career for Sussex as a hard-hitting batsman and spin bowler with one match in 1912. He played a few matches in 1913 and 1914, but established himself as a batsman in 1919 by scoring over a thousand runs for the first of eleven consecutive seasons. In the following two years, Tate’s batting developed further with a double hundred against Northamptonshire in 1921 representing his highest first-class score. However, his bowling remained secondary throughout this period.
In 1922 Tate had, aided by some very poor batting sides, enjoyed more success as a bowler than in previous years. However, in a famous incident at practice with his captain Arthur Gilligan, he bowled a faster ball, and it scattered the stumps.
This led to the famous quote “Maurice, you must change your style of bowling immediately”. From then on Tate developed as a tireless fast-medium bowler and the founder of modern seam bowling. Though not exceptionally fast through the air, Tate gave the illusion of gaining speed off the pitch. His easy, rhythmic action and solid build allowed him to do a great amount of bowling – his bowling of 9567 deliveries in 1925 is unparalleled among bowlers of medium pace or above, this when he was still opening the batting for Sussex in many matches.
From 1923 to 1925, Tate had great success, not only in county cricket, but also in Test matches. In each of those years he took over 200 wickets, but his batting did not suffer even though Sussex were very weak in this department and though bowling support from Gilligan largely disappeared after 1924 due to a serious injury.
In 1924, on his Test debut, he and Gilligan dismissed South Africa for 30 in just 12.3 overs in the first innings of the First Test, played at Edgbaston. He took 4/12 with Gilligan taking 6/7. Moreover, when he toured Australia in 1924-5, on pitches which had proved too much for all English bowlers since Sydney Barnes and Frank Foster in 1911/1912, Tate took 38 wickets (average 23.18) and got through over 600 balls in three of the five Tests with almost no useful bowling support. It is still the record number of wickets by an Englishman in an Ashes series in Australia.
In the following six years, Tate’s grand all-round service to Sussex and England continued, with his batting reaching a peak in 1927, when he hit five centuries for Sussex. In 1929, Tate hit his only Test century against South Africa, but from 1930, whilst he remained a force as a bowler, his batting declined severely and he began to go in very late in the order.
The storm created by Don Bradman that year did not pass Tate. From that time, with exceptionally fast bowlers such as Harold Larwood and Bill Voce available, Tate was no longer an essential member of the England side, though he was still a match-winner for Sussex with 164 wickets in 1932. On his third tour of Australia, he did not play a Test match, and even with Larwood unavailable in 1934, Tate (though still bowling superbly for Sussex) was not chosen for any Test.
In 1936, Tate’s bowling waned, except for 7 for 19 against Hampshire, he was much more expensive than before, and after 1937, when he had been in and out of the first eleven, Sussex chose not to retain Tate any longer.
Tate continues to hold the record for the most wickets in a season outside England (116 in 1926–7 in India/Ceylon, average 13.78; he also scored 1,193 runs in that season and is the only man to do a ‘double’ outside England). He achieved the exceptional double of 1,000 runs and 200 wickets in a season three years running (1923, 1924 and 1925). His career total of 2,784 wickets (average 18.16) is the 11th highest ever, and with 21,717 runs (average 25.01) he is one of only nine people ever to get a career double of 20,000 runs and 2,000 wickets. He took three hat tricks in his career. He was Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1924. Also Tate was one of the fastest scorers in Test cricket history.
Surgeon General Sir James Mouat VC CB (14 April 1815 – 4 January 1899) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Mouat was 39 years old, and a Surgeon in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, British Army, during the Crimean War when the following deed took place on 26 October 1854 in the Crimea, at Balaklava, for which he was awarded the VC.
Surgeon Mouat went with Corporal Charles Wooden to the assistance of an officer who was lying seriously wounded in an exposed position, after the retreat of the Light Cavalry. He dressed the officer’s wounds under heavy fire from the enemy, and by stopping a severe haemorrhage, helped to save his life.
His citation reads:
THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the Decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of Her Majesty’s Army, who have been recommended to Her Majesty for that Decoration, in accordance with the rules laid down in Her Majesty’s Warrant of 29 January 1856, on account of Acts of Bravery performed by them in the Crimea during the late War, as recorded against their several names ; viz.:
For having voluntarily proceeded to the assistance of Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, C.B., 17th Lancers, who was lying dangerously wounded in an exposed situation after the retreat of the Light Cavalry at the battle of Balaklava, and having dressed that officer’s wounds in presence of, and under a heavy fire from the enemy. Thus, by stopping a serious hemorrhage [sic], he assisted in saving that officer’s life.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Mytchett, Surrey.
Surgeon Major Thomas Egerton Hale VC CB (24 September 1832 – 25 December 1909) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 22 years old, and an assistant surgeon in the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment of Foot (later The Royal Fusiliers), British Army at Sebastopol in the Crimean War when the following deeds took place for which he was awarded the VC.
First. For remaining with an officer who was dangerously wounded, (Captain H. M. Jones, 7th Regiment), in the fifth parallel, on 8th September, 1855, when all the men in the immediate neighbourhood retreated, excepting Lieutenant W. Hope and Dr. Hale; and for endeavouring to rally the men, in conjunction with Lieutenant W. Hope, 7th Royal Fusiliers. Secondly. For having, on 8th September, 1855, after the regiments had retired into the trenches, cleared the most advanced sap of the wounded, and carried, into the sap, under a heavy fire, several wounded men from the open ground, being assisted by Serjeant Charles Fisher, 7th Royal Fusiliers.
He later served in the Indian Mutiny and achieved the rank of surgeon major. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Mytchett, Surrey.
William Henry Thomas Sylvester VC (16 April 1831 – 13 March 1920) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Sylvester was 24 years old, and an assistant surgeon in the 23rd Regiment of Foot (later The Royal Welch Fusiliers), British Army during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 8 September 1855, at Sebastopol, Crimea, near the Redan, Assistant Surgeon Sylvester went with a corporal (Robert Shields) to the aid of an officer who was mortally wounded and remained with him, dressing his wounds, in a most dangerous and exposed situation. Again, on 18 September this officer was at the front, under heavy fire, attending the wounded.
He later achieved the rank of surgeon major and was the last surviving VC holder of the Crimean War.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, Surrey.
Herbert Taylor Reade VC CB (20 September 1828, Perth, Upper Canada – 23 June 1897, Bath), was a Canadian born recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious British honour. The award was for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
He became a Doctor of Medicine in 1850, and joined the British Army as an Assistant Surgeon in November of that same year.
He was 28 years old, and a Surgeon in the 61st Regiment (later The Gloucestershire Regiment), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deeds took place during the Siege of Delhi for which he was awarded the VC:
During the siege of Delhi, on the 14th of September, 1857, while Surgeon Reade was attending to the wounded, at the end of one of the streets of the city, a party of rebels advanced from the direction of the Bank, and having established themselves in the houses in the street, commenced firing from the roofs. The wounded were thus in very great danger, and would have fallen into the hands of the enemy, had not Surgeon Reade drawn his sword, and calling upon the few soldiers who were near to follow, succeeded, under a very heavy fire, in dislodging the rebels from their position. Surgeon Reade’s party consisted of about ten in all, of whom two were killed, and five or six wounded.
Surgeon Reade also accompanied the regiment at the assault of Delhi, and, on the morning of the 16th September, 1857, was one of the first up at the breach in the magazine, which was stormed by the 61st Regiment and Belooch Battalion, upon which occasion he, with a sergeant of the 61st Regiment, spiked one of the enemy’s guns.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
Joseph Jee VC CB (9 February 1819 – 17 March 1899) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Jee was 38 years old, and a surgeon in the 78th Regiment (later The Seaforth Highlanders Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany’s), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 25 September 1857, at the relief of Lucknow, for which he was awarded the VC:
For most conspicuous gallantry and important Services, on the entry of the late Major-General Havelock’s relieving force into Lucknow, on the 25th September, 1857, in having during action (when the 78th Highlanders, then in possession of the Char Bagh, captured two 9-pounders at the point of the bayonet), by great exertion and devoted exposure, attended to the large number of men wounded in the charge, whom he succeeded in getting removed on cots and the backs of their comrades, until he had collected the Dooly bearers who had fled. Subsequently, on the same day, in endeavouring to reach the Residency with the wounded men, Surgeon Jee became besieged by an overwhelming force in the Mote-Mehal, where he remained during the whole night and following morning, voluntarily and repeatedly exposing himself to a heavy fire in proceeding to dress the wounded men who fell while serving a 24-pounder in a most exposed situation. He eventually succeeded in taking many of the wounded, through a cross fire of ordnance and musketry, safely into the Residency, by the river-bank, although repeatedly warned not to make the perilous attempt.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, Surrey.
Surgeon Valentine Munbee McMaster VC (16 May 1834 – 22 January 1872) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
McMaster was born in Tiruchirappalli in India and later graduated from the University of Edinburgh Medical School with an MD.
He entered the army as an assistant surgeon in March 1855 and joined the 78th Highlanders, serving in the Persian War in 1857, before returning with the regiment to India at the beginning of the Indian Mutiny. Here, the 78th joined General Havelock’s column that advanced to relieve the siege of Lucknow.
McMaster was a 23 years old assistant surgeon in the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot (later The Seaforth Highlanders) during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 25 September 1857, at the first relief of Lucknow for which he was awarded the VC:
For the intrepidity with which he exposed himself to the fire of the enemy, in bringing in, and attending to, the wounded, on the 25th of September, at Lucknow. (Extract from Field Force Orders of the late Major-General Havelock, dated 17 October 1857.)
McMaster was presented with the his cross by Lieutenant General Henry Somerset in Bombay later that year. McMaster was awarded one of the eight VCs to the 78th Regiment for the Indian Mutiny. None of the awards to the 78th Regiment and no awards to Medical Officers during the Indian Mutiny were recommended under the ballot method provided in Clause 13 of the Victoria Cross Warrant.
In September 1860 McMaster transferred from the 78th Highlanders to be assistant surgeon of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, moving to the 18th Hussars in June 1864. Promoted to the rank of staff-surgeon in March 1868, he returned to the 78th Highlanders in March 1869. The same year, the 78th were posted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where McMaster married Eleanor Burmester in June 1870. They had a daughter and son, one born after McMaster’s death. In November 1871 the 78th moved to Belfast where, on 22 January 1872, McMaster died of heart disease aged 37. He was buried in Belfast City Cemetery. There is a memorial to his memory in St. Columb’s Cathedral in Derry.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh Castle.
Surgeon General Sir Anthony Dickson Home VC KCB (30 November 1826 – 10 August 1914) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Home graduated from the University of St Andrews School of Medicine with an MD in 1848. Home was 30 years old, and a surgeon in the 90th Foot, British Army during the Indian Mutiny on 26 September 1857 at the Relief of Lucknow, India, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
For persevering bravery and admirable conduct in charge of the wounded men left behind the column, when the troops under the late Major-General Havelock, forced their way into the Residency of Lucknow, on the 26th September, 1857. The escort left with the wounded had, by casualties, been reduced to a few stragglers, and being entirely separated from the column, this small party with the wounded were forced into a house, in which they defended themselves till it was set on fire. They then retreated to a shed a few yards from it, and in this place continued to defend themselves for more than twenty-two hours, till relieved. At last, only six men and Mr. Home remained to fire. Of four officers who were with the party, all were badly wounded, and three are since dead. The conduct of the defence during the latter part of the time devolved therefore on Mr. Home, and to his active exertions previously to being forced into the house, and his good conduct throughout, the safety of any of the wounded, and the successful defence, is mainly to be attributed.
In the early 1860s, Home was stationed in New Zealand and fought in the New Zealand Wars. He was awarded a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and achieved the rank of surgeon general.
Home died on 10 August 1914 and was buried on the western side of Highgate Cemetery.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, Surrey.
William Bradshaw VC (12 February 1830 – 9 March 1861), born in Thurles, County Tipperary, was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for valour in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He served during the Crimean War in the 50th Regiment of Foot transferring to the 90th Regiment of Foot.
Bradshaw was 27 years old, and an assistant surgeon in the 90th Regiment (later known as The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 26 September 1857 at Lucknow, India, for which he was awarded the VC:
For intrepidity and good conduct when, ordered with Surgeon Home, 90th Regiment, to remove the wounded men left behind the column that forced its way into the Residency of Lucknow, on the 26th September, 1857. The dooly bearers had left the doolies, but by great exertions, and notwithstanding the close proximity of the sepoys, Surgeon Home, and Assistant-Surgeon Bradshuw. got some of the bearers together,.and Assistant-Surgeon Bradshaw with about twenty doolies, becoming separated from the rest of the party, succeeded in reaching the Residency in safety by the river bank.
William Bradshaw died on 9 March 1861 and is buried at St Mary’s Church graveyard, Thurles. Memorial is in the church. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum (Aldershot, Hampshire England).
Lieutenant Colonel William Temple VC (7 November 1833 – 13 February 1919) was a British Army officer and an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Temple was born in Monaghan Town, Ireland, on 7 November 1833.
Temple was 30 years old and an Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Regiment of Artillery during the Invasion of Waikato (one of the campaigns in the New Zealand Wars), when the following deed took place on 20 November 1863 at Rangiriri, New Zealand for which he and Lieutenant Arthur Frederick Pickard were awarded the VC:
For gallant conduct during the assault on the enemy’s position at Rangiriri, in New Zealand, on the 20th of November last, in exposing their lives to imminent danger, in crossing the entrance of the Maori keep, at a point upon which the enemy had concentrated their fire, with a view to render assistance to the wounded, and, more especially to the late Captain Mercer, of the Royal Artillery. Lieutenant Pickard, it is stated, crossed, and re-crossed the parapet, to procure water for the wounded, when none of the men could be induced to perform this service, the space over which he traversed being exposed to a crossfire; and testimony is borne to the calmness displayed by him, and Assistant-Surgeon Temple, under the trying circumstances in which they were placed.
From 1884 until 1889 he served in India as a Lieutenant Colonel and Secretary to the Surgeon-General of the Indian Medical Service. On 10 April 1885 he became Brigade Surgeon and from 1886 until 1889 was Honorary Surgeon to the Viceroy of India. Temple died in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and is buried in the Highland Road Cemetery in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Surgeon General William George Nicholas Manley, VC, CB (17 December 1831 – 16 November 1901) was a British Army officer, surgeon and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He received awards from several other countries, and is the only person to have been awarded both the VC and the Iron Cross.
Manley was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 17 December 1831, the second son of the Reverend William Nicholas Manley, his mother being a daughter of Dr. Brown of the Army Medical Staff. He was educated at the Blackheath Proprietary School and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1851.
In 1854 Manley joined the army medical staff, and was attached to the Royal Regiment of Artillery serving in Crimea. He was present for the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War. He was later posted with his regiment in New Zealand.
Manley was 32 years old, and an assistant surgeon in the Royal Regiment of Artillery during the Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand when the following deed took place on 29 April 1864 near Tauranga, New Zealand, during the assault on the rebel pā (“pah”) Gate Pā, for which he was awarded the VC.
For his conduct during the assault on the Rebel Pah, near Tauranga, New Zealand, on the 29th of April last, in most nobly risking his own life, according to the testimony of Commodore Sir William Wiseman, Bart., C.B., in his endeavour to save that of the late Commander Hay, of the Royal Navy, and others. Having volunteered to accompany the storming party into the Pah, he attended on that Officer when he was carried away, mortally wounded, and then volunteered to return, in order to see if he could find any more wounded. It is stated that he was one of the last Officers to leave the Pah.
He also served in the same war under Sir Trevor Chute, and was present at the assault and capture of the Okotukou, Putahi, Otapawe, and Waikohou Pahs. For his services on these occasions he was again mentioned in dispatches and promoted to staff surgeon.
When the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 he proceeded with the British Ambulance Corps, and was attached to the 22nd division of the Prussian Army. He was present for several battles, and received several decorations including the Iron Cross (second class) on the recommendation of the German Crown Prince:
For services with the British Ambulance Corps caring for the wounded of the 22nd Division in the actions of Chateau-neuf and Bretoncelle, on 18th and 21st December 1870, and the battles of Orleans and Cravant, on 10th December 1870.
In 1878–79 he served with the Quetta Field force in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, and in 1882 he was in Egypt for the Anglo-Egyptian War as Principal Medical officer of the Second Division under Sir Edward Hamley and was present at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir. After this war he was promoted to Deputy Surgeon-General.
Manley was awarded the honorary rank of surgeon general and retired from the army in 1884 with a distinguished service pension. Upon retirement he was made a Knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He died in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on 16 November 1901.
Honours and awards
Manley was awarded 18 medals by several countries, and was the only recipient of both the VC and the Iron Cross, the highest medals of the United Kingdom and Prussia (later part of the German Empire).
Among his awards were:
Decoration awarded on 1855
Clasp : Sebastopol
Victoria Cross (VC)
Decoration awarded on 23 September 1864
Citation for Victoria Cross (VC)
Decoration awarded on 1879
Decoration awarded on 1882
Order of the Bath
Decoration awarded on 1894
Companion level (CB)
Order of St John (chartered 1888)
Decoration awarded on 1894
Knight of Grace level (KStJ)
Decoration awarded on 1871
2nd Class for Non-combatants
Kingdom of Prussia
War Commemorative Medal of 1870/71
Decoration awarded on 1871
Made of steel as for Non-combatants
Military Merit Order (Bavaria)
Decoration awarded on 1871
Kingdom of Bavaria
Order of Osmanieh
Decoration awarded on 1880
Decoration awarded on 1882
During his time in New Zealand he also received the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society for rescuing a man from drowning, and after the siege of Paris he received the Cross of the Société française de secours aux blessés militaires.
Royal Humane Society
Decoration awarded on 1855
Société française de secours aux blessés militaires
Campbell Mellis Douglas VC (5 August 1840, in Quebec City – 31 December 1909), was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. The awarding of the VC to Douglas was one of the few (only six in number) instances of the VC being awarded for actions taken not in the face of the enemy.
Campbell Mellis Douglas graduated from the University of Edinburgh Medical School with an MD degree in 1861. He was 26 years old, and an assistant surgeon in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot (later The South Wales Borderers), British Army during the Andaman Islands Expedition when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
VC not awarded for bravery in action against the enemy, but for bravery at sea in saving life in storm off Andaman Islands. On 7 May 1867 at the island of Little Andaman, eastern India, in the Bay of Bengal, Assistant Surgeon Douglas and four Privates (David Bell, James Cooper, William Griffiths and Thomas Murphy) of the 2/24th Regiment risked their lives in manning a boat and proceeding through dangerous surf to rescue some of their comrades who had been sent to the island to find out the fate of the commander and seven of the crew, who had landed from the ship Assam Valley and were feared murdered by the cannibalistic islanders.
The citation was gazetted on 17 December 1867:
THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officer and Private Soldiers of Her Majesty’s Army, whose claims to the same have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their gallant conduct at the Little Andaman Island, as recorded against their names, viz. :—
For the very gallant and daring manner in which, on the 7th of May, 1867, they risked their lives in manning a boat and proceeding through a dangerous surf to the rescue of some of their comrades, who formed part of an expedition which had been sent to the Island of Little Andaman, by order of the Chief Commissioner of British Burmah, with the view of ascertaining the fate of the Commander and seven of the crew of the ship ” Assam Valley,” who had landed there, and were supposed to have been murdered by the natives.
The officer who commanded the troops on the occasion reports : About an hour later in the day Dr. Douglas, 2nd Battalion, 24th .”Regiment, and the four Privates referred” to, gallantly manning the second gig, made their way through the surf almost to the shore, but finding their boat was half filled with water, they retired. A second attempt made by Dr. Douglas and party proved successful, five of us being safely passed through the surf to the boats outside. A third and last trip got the whole of the party left on shore safe to the boats. It is stated that Dr. Douglas accomplished these trips through the surf to the shore by no ordinary exertion. He stood in the bows of the boat, and worked her in an intrepid and seamanlike manner, cool to a degree, as if what he was then doing was an ordinary act of every-day life. The four Privates behaved in an equally cool and collected manner, rowing through the roughest surf when the slightest hesitation or want of pluck on the part of any one of them would have been attended by the gravest results. It is reported that seventeen officers and men were thus saved from what must otherwise have been a fearful risk, if not certainty of death.
He later achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel, and served on the Northwest Frontier in India. He retired from the army in 1882 and settled in Lakefield, Ontario. He married the widow of Valentine Munbee McMaster VC. He was recruited for service as a medical officer during the North-West Rebellion in 1885, where he further distinguished himself, arriving in time to treat the wounded from the 3 May Battle of Fish Creek and caring for the soldiers wounded during the Battle of Batoche, on 14 May.
Campbell Mellis Douglas retired to England in 1894, and died at Hollington, Somerset, on 30 December 1909.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).
Lieutenant-Colonel James Henry Reynolds VC (3 February 1844 – 4 March 1932), born Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire), County Dublin, was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was educated at Castleknock College and Trinity College, Dublin.
Reynolds was 34 years old, and a Surgeon in the Army Medical Department (later Royal Army Medical Corps), British Army during the Zulu War when the following deed took place on 22/23 January 1879, at Rorke’s Drift, Natal, South Africa, for which he was awarded the VC:
For the conspicuous bravery, during the attack at Rorke’s Drift on the 22nd and 23rd January, 1879, which he exhibited in his constant attention to the wounded under fire, and in his voluntarily conveying ammunition from the store to the defenders of the Hospital, whereby he exposed himself to a cross-fire from the enemy both in going and returning.
Surgeon Reynolds also had by his side the whole time during the battle his fox terrier named Dick. Dick never wavered as shots and spears continued falling around them. He only left his side once to bite a Zulu who came too close. Dick was specially mentioned in the citation for “his constant attention to the wounded under the fire where they fell.”
For his conduct in the battle, Reynolds was also promoted to Surgeon-Major (promotion dated 23 January 1879).
His account of the battle
At 1.30 a large body of natives marched over the slope of Isandhlwana in our direction, their purpose evidently being to examine ravines and ruined kraals for hiding fugitives. These men we took to be our native contingent. Soon afterwards appeared four horsemen on the Natal side of the river galloping in the direction of our post, one of them was a regular soldier, and feeling they might possibly be messengers for additional medical assistance, I hurried down to the hospital as they rode up. They looked awfully scared, and I was at once startled to find one of them was riding Surgeon Major Shepherd’s pony. They shouted frantically, ” The camp at Isandhlwana has been taken by the enemy and all our men in it massacred, that no power could stand against the enormous number of the Zulus, and the only chance for us all was in immediate flight.” Lieutenant Bromhead, Acting-Commissary Dalton, and myself, forthwith consulted together, Lieutenant Chard not having as yet joined us from the pontoon, and we quickly decided that with barricades well placed around our present position a stand could best be made where we were. Just at this period Mr. Dalton’s energies were invaluable. Without the smallest delay, he called upon his men to carry the mealie sacks here and there for defences. Lieutenant Chard (R.E.) arrived as this work was in progress, and gave many useful orders as regards the lines of defence. He approved also of the hospital being taken in, and between the hospital orderlies, convalescent patients (eight or ten) and myself, we loopholed the building and made a continuation of the commissariat defences round it. The hospital however, occupied a wretched position, having a garden and shrubbery close by, which afterwards proved so favourable to the enemy; but comparing our prospects with that of the Isandhlwana affair, we felt that the mealie barriers might afford us a moderately fair chance.
At about 3.30 the enemy made their first appearance in a large crowd on the hospital side of our post, coming on in skirmishing order at a slow slinging run. We opened fire on them from the hospital at 600 yards, and although the bullets ploughed through their midst and knocked over many, there was no check or alteration made in their approach. As they got nearer they became more scattered, but the bulk of them rushed for the hospital and the garden in front of it.
We found ourselves quickly surrounded by the enemy with their strong force holding the garden and shrubbery. From all sides but especially the latter places, they poured on us a continuous fire, to which our men replied as quickly as they could reload their rifles. Again and again the Zulus pressed forward and retreated, until at last they forced themselves so daringly, and in such numbers, as to climb over the mealie sacks in front of the hospital, and drove the defenders from there behind an entrenchment of biscuit boxes, hastily formed with much judgement and forethought by Lieutenant Chard. A heavy fire from behind it was resumed with renewed confidence, and with little confusion or delay, checking successfully the natives, and permitting a semi flank fire from another part of the laager to play on them destructively. At this time too, the loopholes in the hospital were made great use of. It was however, only temporary, as, after a short respite, they came on again with renewed vigour. Some of them gained the hospital verandah, and there got hand to hand with our men defending the doors. Once they were driven back from here, but other soon pressed forward in their stead, and having occupied the verandah in larger numbers than before, pushed their way right into the hospital, where confusion on our side naturally followed. Everyone tried to escape as best they could, and owing to the rooms not communicating with one another, the difficulties were insurmountable. Private Hook, 2/24th Regiment, who was acting as hospital cook, and Private Connolly, 2/24th Regiment, a patient in hospital, made their way into the open at the back of the hospital by breaking a hole in the wall. Most of the patients escaped through a small window looking into what may be styled the neutral ground. Those who madly tried to get off by leaving the front of the hospital were all killed with the exception of Gunner Howard.
The only men actually killed in the hospital were three, excluding a Kaffir under treatment for compound fracture of the femur. The names were Sergeant Maxfield, Private Jenkins, both unable to assist in their escape, being debilitated by fever, and Private Adams, who was well able to move about, but could not be persuaded to leave his temporary refuge in a small room. The engagement continued more or less until about 7 o’clock p.m. and then, when we were beginning to consider our situation as rather hopeless, the fire from our opponents appreciably slackened giving us some time for reflection. Lieutenant Chard here again shined in resource. Anticipating the Zulus making one more united dash for the fort, and possibly gaining entrance, he converted an immense stack of mealies standing in the middle of our enclosure, and originally cone fashioned, into a comparatively safe place for a last retreat. Just as it was completed, smoke from the hospital appeared and shortly burst into flames. During the whole night following desultory fire was carried on by the enemy, and several feigned attacks were made, but nothing of a continued or determined effort was again attempted by them. About 6 o’clock a.m., we found, after careful reconnoitring, that all the Zulus with the exception of a couple of stragglers had left our immediate vicinity, and soon afterwards a large body of men were seen at a distance marching towards us.
I do not think it possible that men could have behaved better than did the 2/24th and the Army Hospital Corps (three), who were particularly forward during the whole attack
— James Henry Reynolds
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Museum of Military Medicine (Aldershot, England).
Joseph John Farmer VC (15 May 1854 – 30 June 1930) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He attended school in King’s Cross, and thereafter was apprenticed to the building trade. However, at the age of 13 years he went to sea with the Mercantile Marine serving aboard English and American ships. In 1875, he was shipwrecked off the Isle of Wight, and again a year later in a hurricane off Hong Kong. He left the sea in 1878, and on returning home he fell ill with smallpox.
Whilst still under medical care he saved the life of a delirious patient who tried to jump out of a window. When he had recovered from his illness, he took an appointment as a night porter to look after demented patients. Another similar appointment followed, and after having his interest in medical matters further awakened he joined the Army Hospital Corps on 27 February 1879. Following a course in anatomy and ambulance work he left for the Cape of Good Hope.
When the South African War broke out he served in a Field Hospital. He then served in the relief column sent to the beleaguered garrisons of Potchefstroom and Lydenburg, and saw action at Laing’s Nek and again at Majuba Hill.
Farmer was first utilised treating the wounded from the Battle of Ulundi during the Anglo-Zulu War. He was 26 years old, and a provisional lance-corporal in the Army Hospital Corps (later Royal Army Medical Corps), British Army during the First Boer War when the following deed took place on 27 February 1881, at Majuba Hill in South Africa for which he was awarded the VC:
For conspicuous bravery during the engagement with the Boers at the Majuba Mountain, on the 27th February, 1881, when he showed a spirit of self-abnegation and an example of cool courage which cannot be too highly commended. While the Boers closed with the British troops near the wells, Corporal Farmer held a white flag over the wounded, and when the arm holding the flag was shot through, he called out that he had “another.” He then raised the flag with the other arm, and continued to do so until that also was pierced with a bullet.
He later achieved the rank of corporal. He was forced to leave the army due to his wounds and joined the Corps of Commissionaires and then became a house-painter.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Aldershot, England.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand Simeon Le Quesne, VC (25 December 1863 – 14 April 1950) was a British Army surgeon and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Le Quesne was educated at King’s College London before he joined the British Army as surgeon captain on 28 July 1886. After the Third Anglo-Burmese War, local leaders started a guerilla war against the British forces who now occupied the country. Le Quesne’s action was during this period. He was 25 years old, and a surgeon in the Army Medical Service (later the Royal Army Medical Corps) serving with the Chin Field Force in Burma when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 4 May 1889 during the attack on the village of Tartan (now Siallum near Voklaak Village), Burma (now Myanmar) by a column of the Chin Field Force, Surgeon Le Quesne remained for the space of about ten minutes within five yards of the loopholed stockade, from which the enemy was firing, dressing with perfect coolness and self-possession, the wounds of an officer who shortly afterwards died. Surgeon Le Quesne was himself severely wounded later while attending to the wounds of another officer.
Le Quesne served with the Chin-Lushai expeditionary force in 1890, and with the Wuntho Field Force in 1891, and was promoted to surgeon major on 28 July 1898. He served in the Second Boer War in South Africa, from which he returned in August 1902. He later served in World War I, and retired in 1918 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Sir Owen Edward Pennefather Lloyd VC KCB (1 January 1854 – 5 July 1941) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Lloyd was born in County Roscommon and educated at Fermoy College and Queens University, Cork (now University College Cork). He joined the British Army Medical Service, later the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), in 1878. He was in the Zulu War in 1879 and the Transvaal War of 1881–82 before being sent, with the rank of Surgeon-Major, to join the Kachin Hills Expedition in Burma (now Myanmar). There on 6 January 1893 the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
During the attack on the Sima Post by Kachins, on the 6th January last, Surgeon-Major Lloyd on hearing that the Commanding Officer, Captain Morton (who had left the fort to visit a picket about 80 yards distant) was wounded, at once ran out to his assistance under a close and heavy fire, accompanied by Subadar Matab Singh.
On reaching the wounded Officer, Surgeon-Major Lloyd sent Subadar Matab Singh back for further assistance, and remained with Captain Morton till the Subadar returned with five men of the Magwe Battalion of Military Police, when he assisted in carrying Captain Morton back to the fort, where that Officer died a few minutes afterwards.
The enemy were within ten or fifteen paces keeping up a heavy fire which killed three men of the picket, and also Bugler Purna Singh. This man accompanied Captain Morton from the fort, showed great gallantry in supporting him in his arms when wounded, and was shot while helping to carry him back to the fort.
Lloyd took command of the fort after death of Captain Morton. In 1894–95 he was medical officer to the Franco-British boundary commission on the Mekong River that decided the Thai-Lao border after the Franco-Siamese War, and in 1898–99 he was medical officer to British-Chinese boundary commission on the Burma frontier. Later he was Principal Medical Officer in India and then in South Africa, served in World War I (mentioned in despatches), and was Colonel Commandant of the RAMC 1922–24 with the rank of major-general.
Lloyd was appointed CB in the 1910 Birthday Honours and was knighted KCB in the 1923 Birthday Honours. He died at St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, on 5 July 1941.
Lloyd’s Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum (Aldershot, England).
Major-General Henry Edward Manning Douglas VC CB CMG DSO (11 July 1875 – 14 February 1939) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Born in Gillingham, Medway, Douglas took the Scottish Triple Qualification (LRCP(Edin), LRCS(Edin), LRCPS(Glas) in 1898. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 28 July 1899, and travelled to South Africa following the outbreak of the Second Boer War three months later.
Douglas was 24 years old, and a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second Boer War, when the following deed earned him the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Magersfontein, South Africa, on 11 December 1899:
On the 11th December, 1899, during the action at Magersfontein, Lieutenant Douglas showed great gallantry and devotion under a very severe fire in advancing in the open and attending to Captain Gordon, Gordon Highlanders, who was wounded, and also attending to Major Robinson and other wounded men under a fearful fire. Many similar acts of devotion and gallantry were performed by Lieutenant Douglas on the same day.
Douglas was himself wounded by a bullet in the face at Magersfontein, and was invalided back home. He returned to South Africa only two months later, however, leaving Southampton in the SS Ottoman in late February 1900, and continued to serve until he returned to the United Kingdom in early 1901. He received the VC from King Edward VII during an investiture at Marlborough House on 25 July 1901. The following year he was appointed for light duty in the Home District, and promoted to captain on 28 July 1902.
He also served in the First World War and later achieved the rank of Major General. In October 1914, the Duchess of Wellington’s Hospital was opened at the Casino at La Touquet with a staff of sixty orderlies, nineteen Bart’s nurses and four qualified dressers. The chief surgeon was Major (later Sir) Charles Watson FRCS assisted by five Medical Officers. Its commandant was Major HEM Douglas RAMC, VC, DSO.
He is buried in Epsom. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Aldershot, England.
Lieutenant General Sir William Babtie, VC, KCB, KCMG (7 May 1859 – 11 September 1920) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth armed forces. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Aldershot.
Babtie graduated from the University of Glasgow with an M.B. and also received the LRCP and LRCS from the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1880.
South Africa and the Victoria Cross
Babtie was 40 years old, and a major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army during the Second Boer War on 15 December 1899 at the Battle of Colenso, South Africa when he won his VC. He exposed himself to heavy fire to tend to the wounded including going with Captain Walter Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Frederick Roberts who was lying wounded on the veldt. The full citation was published in the London Gazette on 20 April 1900 and reads:
At Colenso, on the 10th December, 1899, the wounded of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, were lying in an advanced donga close in the rear of the guns without any Medical Officer to attend to them, and when a message was sent back asking for assistance, Major W. Babtie, R A.M.C., rode up under a heavy rifle fire, his pony being hit three times. When he arrived at the donga, where the wounded were lying in sheltered corners, he attended to them all, going from place to place exposed to the heavy rifle fire which greeted anyone who showed himself. Later on in the day, Major Babtie went out with Captain Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Roberts, who was lying wounded on the veldt. This also was under a heavy fire.
He had previously been made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in June 1899 for services rendered in the occupation of Crete.
After South Africa
Babtie was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 29 November 1900, and was in early January 1901 appointed for temporary duties in the Home District as he returned to the United Kingdom. He was appointed Assistant-Director, Army Medical Service in that June. In 1903 he was made a Knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John. He was promoted to colonel in 1907, and appointed Inspector of Medical Services. In 1910 he was appointed Deputy Director-General of Medical Services and granted the temporary rank of surgeon-general. The rank was made permanent in 1911. He was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) in the 1912 King’s Birthday Honours. On 1 June 1914 he was appointed Honorary Surgeon to the King, holding the post until 7 May 1919.
First World War—Mesopotamia and Dardanelles
Babtie was appointed Director, Medical Services for the British Indian Army in March 1914. He was responsible for medical provision on both the Mesopotamian campaign and the Dardanelles Campaign. He was Mentioned in Despatches for his services in the Dardanelles. He was appointed Director of Medical Services at the War Office on 18 March 1916. He became Inspector of Medical Services with the temporary rank of lieutenant-general on 1 March 1918.
He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 1919 King’s Birthday Honours.
Colonel Edgar Thomas Inkson VC DSO (5 April 1872 – 19 February 1947) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Inkson was 27 years old, and a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army, attached to The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place on 24 February 1900, at Hart’s Hill, Colenso, South Africa for which he was awarded the VC:
On the 24th February, 1900, Lieutenant Inkson carried Second Lieutenant Devenish (who was severely wounded and unable to walk) for three or four hundred yards under a very heavy fire to a place of safety. The ground over which Lieutenant Inkson had to move was much exposed, there being no cover available.
He was promoted to Captain while still serving in South Africa. Captain Inkson personally received the decoration by King Edward VII during an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 12 May 1902.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, England.
Inkson is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.
He later achieved the rank of colonel after serving in the First World War.
Major-General William Henry Snyder Nickerson, VC CB CMG (27 March 1875, Dorchester, New Brunswick – 1954), was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Nickerson was a 25 years old lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, of the British Army, attached to the Mounted Infantry during the Second Boer War when his actions at Wakkerstroom led to the award of the Victoria Cross. His citation reads:
At Wakkerstroom, on the evening of the 20th April, 1900, during the advance of the Infantry to support the Mounted Troops, Lieutenant Nickerson went, in the most gallant manner, under a heavy rifle and shell fire, to attend a wounded man, dressed his wounds, and remained with him till he had him conveyed to a place of safety.
Further military service
Following the end of the war in South Africa in June 1902, Nickerson returned to the United Kingdom on board the SS Soudan, arriving in Southampton in September that year. He was then posted to Egypt.
He later achieved the rank of major general after service in World War I and was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the RAMC in 1933.
Major Dr. Thomas Joseph Crean, VC DSO (19 April 1873 – 25 March 1923) was an Irish rugby union player, British Army soldier and doctor. During the Second Boer War, while serving with the Imperial Light Horse, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In 1902, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Crean played rugby for Leinster, Ireland and the British Isles. In 1894, he was a member of the first Ireland team to win both a Home Nations Championship and a Triple Crown. Then in 1896 he helped Ireland win their second Home Nations title. He is one of three Ireland rugby union internationals to have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The other two are Robert Johnston, who also served with the Imperial Light Horse in the Second Boer War, and Frederick Harvey who served in the First World War. Crean, Johnston and Harvey all played club rugby for Wanderers. In 1896 Crean and Johnston were also members of the same British Isles squad that toured South Africa.
Crean was born in Morrison’s Hotel, which stood on the corner of Dawson Street and Nassau Street in Dublin. Some accounts give his place of birth as No. 21 Northbrook Road, the Crean family home at the time he won the VC in 1901. He was the fifth child of Michael Theobald Crean, a barrister originally from Fethard in County Tipperary who worked for the Irish Land Commission, and his wife Emma. His maternal grandparents, John and Maryanne Dunn, were the owners of the hotel where he was born. The Dunns’ residence was Esker House, Upper Rathmines Road, and Crean’s three older sisters – Mary, Emma and Eleanor – were all born there. Both his older and younger brothers, John and Frank Crean, were also born at Morrison’s Hotel. A third brother, Richard, died as an infant, and a fourth sister, Alice Mary, was born in 1879 in the Crean family home at No. 7 Upper Pembroke Street. Alice would later marry Alexander Findlater Todd, one of Crean’s rugby teammates on the 1896 British Isles tour of South Africa. John followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a barrister in the Land Commission and one of his sons was Fr C.P. Crean MBE, Army chaplain with I Corps during WW2 and Head Chaplain of the Irish Defense Forces from 1956 to 1962. Frank studied engineering, emigrating to Canada where he undertook a survey of Saskatchewan in 1908–09 on behalf of the Canadian Government. This was the famous ‘Frank Crean Expeditions to the New North-West’ and Crean Lake in Prince Albert National Park was named in his honor.
Crean was named after his uncle Dr. Thomas Joseph Crean, a successful practitioner and civil medical officer in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary. Also from Clonmel was Lieutenant Colonel Dr. John Joseph Crean, a cousin and close friend to his father who had been with General Graham’s Suakin Expedition in Sudan following the fall of Khartoum in 1885. John was a Senior Medical Officer throughout England and the colonies, also holding such positions as Principal Civil Medical Officer (PCMO) of the Straits Settlements in 1886. John was Head of the Army Medical Department in Dublin while Crean was in school at Clongowes. Crean ultimately followed in the footsteps of these two men, becoming both a successful practitioner and an esteemed officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Crean and his brothers all initially attended Belvedere College and Catholic University School before becoming boarders at Clongowes Wood College. Thomas attended Clongowes from 1889 until 1891. As a student he was noted as a fine athlete, excelling not only at rugby but also at both the quarter and half-mile running events. He was also a very fine swimmer, and it was as a swimmer that he first demonstrated his bravery. On 11 September 1891, while swimming with fellow students near Blackrock, Dublin, he helped rescue a 21-year-old art student, William Ahern. Crean noticed Ahern was in trouble and together with a young solicitor named Leachman from Dundrum, he managed to bring him ashore. For his bravery he was awarded a medal by the Royal Humane Society.
In October 1891 Crean commenced his medical studies at the Royal College of Surgeons and, after graduating as a doctor in 1896, he became a Licentiate of both the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians.
Clubs and Province
As a student Crean played at half-back and on joining Wanderers in 1891 he played in the same position for their third XV. However, after switching to the forward row for the 1892–93 season, he was quickly promoted to their senior side. While working as a young doctor in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Crean also served as captain of the hospital’s rugby team for four years in the Dublin Hospitals Rugby Cup. He went on to represent Leinster against both Ulster and Munster in 1894, 1895 and 1896. During the 1895–96 season he also played for Richmond, possibly working as a medic in London at the same time. When he moved to South Africa he played for Johannesburg Wanderers.
Between 1894 and 1896, Crean made 9 appearances and scored two tries for Ireland. He made his international debut on 3 February 1894 in a 7–5 win against England at Blackheath. On 24 February he helped Ireland defeat Scotland 5–0 at Lansdowne Road. Then on 10 March he helped Ireland win both the 1894 Home Nations Championship and their first ever Triple Crown with a 3–0 win against Wales in Belfast. Among his teammates during the 1894 campaign was Lucius Gwynn. Crean also played in all three games during both the 1895 and 1896 Home Nations Championships. He scored both of his tries against Wales. The first came on 16 March 1895 in a 5–3 defeat at Cardiff Arms Park. Crean showed his strength and drive when he scored Ireland’s only points by catching a long line-out throw before driving across the line with a number of Welshmen hanging out of him. The second try came at Lansdowne in an 8–4 win on 14 March 1896. The win helped Ireland win their second Home Nations title. This latter game would also be his final appearance for Ireland.
In 1896 Crean was a member of the British Isles squad on their tour to South Africa. He was part of strong Irish contingent, being one of nine Irishmen selected. The others included Robert Johnston, Louis Magee, James Magee, Larry Bulger, Jim Sealy, Andrew Clinch, Arthur Meares and Cecil Boyd. He played in all four tests against South Africa and scored a try in the second. The tour captain, Johnny Hammond, only played in seven of the 21 games and Crean took over the captains role in his absence, including for two of the Test games.
Second Boer War
When the British Isles tour ended, Crean decided to stay on in South Africa, working as a doctor in a hospital in Johannesburg and playing rugby for Johannesburg Wanderers. In 1899, at the start of the Second Boer War, he enlisted as a trooper in the Imperial Light Horse and took part in both the Relief of Mafeking and the Relief of Ladysmith. On 26 October 1899, according to the Irish Times, the Imperial Light Horse particularly distinguished themselves in the Battle of Elandslaagete. The Irish Times of the following day reported with regret that the list of wounded included Crean. It was during this engagement that Crean’s former Wanderers and British Isles’ teammate Robert Johnston won his Victoria Cross. In 1901, he became a Surgeon Captain and on 18 December, at the Battle of Tygerkloof, he won his VC when he successfully attended the wounds of two soldiers and a fellow officer under heavy enemy fire. The citation read:
Thomas Joseph Crean, Surgeon Captain, 1st Imperial Light Horse. During the action with De Wet at Tygerskloof on the 18th December 1901, this officer continued to attend to the wounded in the firing line under a heavy fire at only 150 yards range, after he himself had been wounded, and only desisted when he was hit a second time, and as it was first thought, mortally wounded.
He was wounded in the stomach and arm during these encounters and was in February 1902 invalided back to England, where he made a full recovery. On 12 March 1902, he was presented with the Victoria Cross by King Edward VII in a ceremony at St. James’s Palace. One week later, on 20 March 1902, the members of St. Vincent’s Hospital Football Club gave a dinner at the Dolphin Hotel in his honour. In May the same year, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He was appointed a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 3 September 1902, and was posted at Aldershot Garrison.
First World War
In 1905, Crean married Victoria, daughter of Senor Don Thomas Heredia, of Málaga, Spain, and had two sons, Victor (died young), Patrick, and a daughter, Carmen. Victoria had been a close friend to Crean’s sister Alice, since their schooling at Roehampton. He transferred to the army reserve on 8 September 1906, and started a private practice in Harley Street. He was later appointed medical officer in charge of the hospital in the Royal Enclosure, Ascot where he once performed a life saving trepanning operation on a jockey who was thrown from his horse during a race. He ran out onto the course in his shirt sleeves and saved the jockey’s life by removing portions of the bones of his skull with a hammer and chisel. However, following the outbreak of the First World War, he was mobilized with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 12 August 1914. He served with the 1st Cavalry Brigade, being wounded several times and was twice mentioned in despatches. In June 1915 he was made a companion of the Distinguished Service Order. He was promoted to Major on 26 February 1916, and commanded the 44th Field Ambulance, British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.
Crean returned to his practice in Harley Street but by now his war service had begun to seriously affect his health and he was unable to maintain the business. Towards the end of his life Crean suffered from financial difficulties and in June 1922 he was declared bankrupt. He died from diabetes on 25 March 1923, aged 49, at his residence 13 Queen Street, Mayfair, London. He is buried in St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, (Grave No. 896). His father, Michael Theobald Crean, is buried in the same cemetery but at a different plot.
His VC medal is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum. On 1 August 2001 the South African Post Office issued a stamp featuring Crean as part of their commemorations for the Second Boer War.
Henry Eric Harden VC (23 February 1912 – 23 January 1945) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Harden was a 32-year-old, lance-corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps attached No. 45 (Royal Marine) Commando during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
On 23 January 1945 during Operation Blackcock, at Brachterbeek, the Netherlands, three marines of the leading section of the Royal Marine Commando Troop to which Lance-Corporal Harden was attached fell, wounded. The Commando section had come under heavy machine-gun fire in the open field that morning, and the men were seriously wounded. One of the casualties was Lieutenant Corey. Under intense mortar and machine-gun fire Harden was wounded in his side as he carried one man back to the aid post, which had been set up in one of the houses along the Stationsweg in Brachterbeek. Against the orders of another Medical officer he then returned with a stretcher party for the other two wounded. Bringing in the second casualty the rescue party came under enemy fire which killed the wounded Commando. While finally bringing back the third man Lieutenant Corey, who had demanded he be recovered last, Harden was shot through the head and killed instantly. Henry Eric Harden was then 32 years old, married and father of a son and daughter. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his fearless action. On the bridge near the mill there is a plaque to commemorate Lance Corporal Harden.
Lance-Corporal Harden’s final resting place is in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Nederweert, Limburg, the Netherlands.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Mytchett, Surrey.
Captain John Fox Russell, VC, MC (27 January 1893 – 6 November 1917) was a Welsh physician, a British Army officer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Early life and education
Russell was born in Holyhead, Anglesey, on 27 January 1893 to William Fox Russell and Ethel Maria Fox Russell. At an early age, he passed the examination for a choristership at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was educated for three years before attending St. Bees School in Cumbria. While at School he was an enthusiastic member of the Officer Training Corps. He was also a member of the 1st Holyhead Scout Troop, Wolf Patrol.
Russell joined the Middlesex Hospital when only sixteen years of age and it was while he was in London that he joined the University of London Officers Training Corps, obtaining a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1914. He was with them in camp when war was declared. Being anxious to qualify, he was seconded in order to complete his medical studies. After obtaining his degrees, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and was attached to a battery of the Royal Field Artillery. He later re-joined his old regiment R.W.F 1st/6th Battalion (Anglesey and Caernarvonshire) and went out to Egypt as medical officer.
In the First Battle of Gaza, Russell won the Military Cross. He was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross at Tel-el-Khuwwilfeh, Palestine. The citation for the award read:
For most conspicuous bravery displayed in action until he was killed. Captain Russell repeatedly went out to attend the wounded under murderous fire from snipers and machine-guns, and in many cases, when no other means were at hand, carried them in himself, although almost exhausted. He showed the greatest possible degree of valour.
— The London Gazette, (No. 30491) 8 January 1918
Russell was killed in action on 6 November 1917 and is buried at the Beersheba War Cemetery. A memorial to him and two other VC recipients, Captain Leefe Robinson of the Royal Flying Corps and Captain Richard Wain of the Tank Corps, was erected at St Bees School.
Russell’s Victoria Cross is on display at the Army Medical Services Museum, in the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, in Surrey.
In 2022 the newly built Headquarters of both Clwyd and Gwynedd ACF and a detachment of 203 Field Hospital at Kinmel Camp in Bodelwyddan was named Ty John Fox-Russell VC MC in his honour.
Harold Ackroyd, VC, MC (18 July 1877 – 11 August 1917) was a British physician, scientific researcher, army officer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
An officer with the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in late July–early August 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele.
Ackroyd was born on 18 July 1877 in Roe Lane, Southport, Lancashire to Ellen and Edward Ackroyd. His father was chairman of the Cheshire Lines & Southport Extension Railway Company.
Ackroyd was educated locally at Mintholme College, Southport, and Shrewsbury School. Following his elder brother Edward, who had matriculated in 1893 he then entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in October 1896. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899, before he did some travelling and then spent one year in the research group of Gowland Hopkins before continuing his medical studies at Guy’s Hospital, London. He gained his BC in 1903, MB (Bachelor of Medicine) in 1904 and his MD (Doctor of Medicine) in 1910.
He worked at Guy’s Hospital in 1904–05, London before serving as the House Surgeon at Queen’s Hospital in Birmingham. He was then employed at the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool 1905-06 before in 1908 securing an “Ordinary Research Scholarship” from the British Medical Association, which allowed him to engage in research work at Cambridge, initially at the Strangeways Research Hospital. By the time he renewed his research scholarship in 1910 Ackroyd was working in the Pharmacological Laboratory with Walter E. Dixon. He then began research work in association with Frederick Gowland Hopkins, with the pair co-authoring a number of research papers.
When the First World War began in 1914 Ackroyd was nearly 37 but, despite his age, occupation and being married with three small children, he joined up and on 15 February 1915 was commissioned a Temporary Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). In July 1915, Ackroyd was sent to France, where he was attached as a medical officer to the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s), part of the 53rd Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division. After his promotion to temporary captain in 1916, he saw action at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. On 19 July he was presented at the three days of fighting at Delville Wood which became the graveyard of the 53rd Brigade as originally constituted. Under heavy shelling and braving snipers, Ackroyd remained cool and methodical, saving many lives. No less than 11 officers singled him out for praise in their written reports and he was recommended for the Victoria Cross. At one point, Ackroyd was blown into the air by an exploding shell.
On 19 July 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations. He attended the wounded under heavy fire, and finally, when he had seen that all our wounded from behind the line had been got in, he went out beyond the front line and brought in both our own and enemy wounded, although continually sniped at.
Ackroyd rescued many of the wounded from the 1st South African Infantry Brigade and there is a memorial to him in the room commemorating Delville Wood at Fort Beaufort Historical Museum, South Africa. Showing signs of immense strain and nervous exhaustion he was reluctantly, invalided home on 11 August 1916 to commence six weeks of leave. Of the opinion that he had recovered Ackroyd by September was asking the Army Medical Board to allow him to return to his regiment in France, which he accomplished in December 1916.
The 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was fighting in The third battle of Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele, which commenced on 31 July 1917 when the following deed took place for which he received 23 separate recommendations for the Victoria Cross, and which was subsequently awarded:
For most conspicuous bravery. During recent operations Capt. Ackroyd displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. Utterly regardless of danger, he worked continuously for many hours up and down and in front of the line tending the wounded and saving the lives of officers and men. In so doing he had to move across the open under heavy machine-gun, rifle and shell fire. He carried a wounded officer to a place of safety under very heavy fire. On another occasion he went some way in front of our advanced line and brought in a wounded man under continuous sniping and machine-gun fire. His heroism was the means of saving many lives, and provided a magnificent example of courage, cheerfulness, and determination to the fighting men in whose midst he was carrying out his splendid work. This gallant officer has since been killed in action.
Ackroyd was subsequently killed on 11 August 1917 in Jargon Trench on the western edge of Glencorse Wood, Ypres, Belgium by a sniper. His second in command Private Albert Scriven wrote to Ackroyd’s widow describing what happened:
“I was acting orderly corporal and on hearing the news I took a party of stretcher bearers but on arrival found he was dead. There were six other poor fellows in the same shell hole who met the same fate, it was a perfect death trap. He was visiting each company about 150 yds ahead of us to see if there were any wounded to attend to and was shot in the head by a sniper.”
Ackroyd’s body was evacuated and buried. A headstone at Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Zillebeke near Ypres reads “Believed to be buried in this cemetery.” His Victoria Cross (number 851) was presented by King George V at Buckingham Palace to his widow Mabel and son Stephen on 26 September 1917.
There is a memorial to Ackroyd on the street-facing wall and inside his former house at 46 Kneesworth Street in Royston. His name on the Royston war memorial in Melbourn Street, Royston., which was unveiled on 26 March 1922. Ackroyd Road in Royston has been named after him.
Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a British medical doctor, Olympic athlete, and British Army officer from the Chavasse family. He is one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice.
The Battle of Guillemont saw acts of heroism by Chavasse, the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War. In 1916, he was hit by shell splinters while rescuing men in no-man’s land. It is said he got as close as 25 yards to the German line, where he found three men and continued throughout the night under a constant rain of sniper bullets and bombing. He performed similar heroics in the early stages of the offensive at Passchendaele in August 1917 to gain a second VC and become the most highly decorated British officer of the First World War. Although operated upon, he was to die of his wounds two days later in 1917.
Noel Godfrey Chavasse was the younger of identical twin boys born to the Rev. Francis Chavasse (later Bishop of Liverpool and founder of St Peter’s College, Oxford) and Edith Jane Chavasse (née Maude) on 9 November 1884 at 36 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford. Christopher Maude was born 20 minutes before his brother. In all, there were seven children born to the Chavasse family, in age order: Dorothea, Christopher, Noel, Edith, Mary, Francis and Aidan. The twins were so small and weak at birth that their baptism was delayed until 29 December 1884 and both were very ill with typhoid in their first year of life.
Chavasse was educated at Magdalen College School in Cowley Place, Oxford, where a blue plaque was dedicated to him in 2005, Liverpool College and Trinity College, Oxford. The family grew up in Oxford until, on 3 March 1900, Francis Chavasse was offered the Anglican Bishopric of Liverpool. The move was not without regrets as Liverpool during this time was one of the busiest seaports in the Empire and also had a great deal of religious turmoil in progress. The family moved to the Bishop’s Palace at 19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool. Noel and Christopher went to school at Liverpool College where they excelled at sports from the start. Their academic progress was initially rather slower but as they grew older, both did well until in 1904, both were admitted to Trinity College, Oxford.
University and early professional career
In 1907, Noel graduated with First-class honours but Christopher failed, leading to a nervous breakdown. Both of them stayed at Oxford, Noel to study medicine and Christopher to retake his exams. During their time at Trinity, both men had not neglected their sports, rugby union being a favourite of theirs. In 1908, both twins represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games in the 400 metres. Noel finished third in his heat while Christopher finished second, but only the heat winners progressed to the semi-finals.
In January 1909, Noel joined the Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps Medical Unit. By the following May, he was promoted to lance-sergeant. Noel finished his studies at Oxford in July 1909 and returned to Liverpool to continue his studies under such eminent teachers as Sir Robert Jones, who went on to become a leading authority in orthopaedic surgery.
On returning to Liverpool, Chavasse resumed his connection with the Grafton Street Industrial School, an institution for homeless boys in Liverpool. In the autumn, he went to London to sit his examination for Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He failed, apparently because of ill health. When he sat the examination again in May 1910, he passed it with ease. Christopher, in the meantime, was well into his studies for the ministry under his father’s guiding hand. Noel progressed through his studies, having studied pathology and bacteriology. As part of his course, he was obliged to undertake a hospital “placement”. He found a position at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. Whilst Chavasse liked Dublin, his first experience of coming into contact with Roman Catholic clergy disturbed him.
In January 1912, Chavasse passed his final medical examination, and was awarded the university’s premier medical prize, the Derby Exhibition, in March that year. On 22 July 1912, he registered as a doctor with the General Medical Council. His first placement was at the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool, initially until 31 March 1913, and then for a further six months. He then became house surgeon to Robert Jones, his former tutor.
Military career and decorations
In early 1913, after discussions with some of his fellow doctors, Chavasse applied for and was accepted by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC); he was commissioned as a lieutenant on 2 June. Thanks to one of his mentors, Dr McAlistair, who was then Surgeon-Captain of the 10th Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), the Liverpool Scottish, he was attached to the battalion as Surgeon-Lieutenant. The 10th Kings had been a Territorial battalion since the Haldane Reforms in 1909. Chavasse joined the battalion on 2 June 1913 and was welcomed by Lieutenant-Colonel W. Nicholl, the commanding officer. As an officer in a Territorial unit, Chavasse now had to attend to both his civilian and military duties.
During the First World War, Chavasse was a captain with the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army attached to the 1/10th (Scottish) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), part of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division.
Chavasse was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry at Hooge, Belgium in June 1915, although the award was not gazetted until 14 January 1916. He was promoted captain on 1 April 1915; on 30 November 1915 that year he was Mentioned in Despatches.
Chavasse was first awarded the VC for his actions on 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France when he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire. The full citation was published on 24 October 1916 and read:
Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, M.C., M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.
During an attack he tended the wounded in the open all day, under heavy fire, frequently in view of the enemy. During the ensuing night he searched for wounded on the ground in front of the enemy’s lines for four hours.
Next day he took one stretcher-bearer to the advanced trenches, and under heavy shell fire carried an urgent case for 500 yards into safety, being wounded in the side by a shell splinter during the journey. The same night he took up a party of twenty volunteers, rescued three wounded men from a shell hole twenty-five yards from the enemy’s trench, buried the bodies of two officers, and collected many identity discs, although fired on by bombs and machine guns.
Altogether he saved the lives of some twenty badly wounded men, besides the ordinary cases which passed through his hands. His courage and self-sacrifice, were beyond praise.
Bar to Victoria Cross
Chavasse’s second award was made during the period 31 July to 2 August 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium; the full citation was published on 14 September 1917 and read:
War Office, September, 1917.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of a Bar to the Victoria Cross to Capt. Noel Godfrey Chavasse, V.C., M.C., late R.A.M.C., attd. L’pool R.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action.
Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Capt. Chavasse refused to leave his post, and for two days not only continued to perform his duties, but in addition went out repeatedly under heavy fire to search for and attend to the wounded who were lying out.
During these searches, although practically without food during this period, worn with fatigue and faint with his wound, he assisted to carry in a number of badly wounded men, over heavy and difficult ground.
By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example, he was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions.
This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.
Chavasse died of his wounds in Brandhoek and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Vlamertinge. His military headstone carries, uniquely, a representation of two Victoria Crosses.
Chavasse was the only man to be awarded both a Victoria Cross and Bar in the First World War, and one of only three men ever to have achieved this distinction.
Noel Chavasse Memorial on display at the Army Medical Services Museum
Chavasse is believed to be commemorated by more war memorials in the UK than any other individual. Sixteen have currently been recorded by the UK National Inventory of War Memorials.
Chavasse Park in Liverpool city centre was named in honour of the Chavasse family; Francis (2nd Bishop of Liverpool) and his twin sons Christopher Maude Chavasse (an Olympic athlete and later Bishop of Rochester), and Noel Godfrey Chavasse.
A hospital ward is named after him at the Walton Centre in Liverpool.
There are two World War One Victoria Cross paving stones (each depicting a pair of crosses) dedicated to Chavasse in Oxford: one outside St Peter’s College and one near Magdalen College School.
A bronze memorial (the ‘Liverpool Heroes Memorial’) commemorating Chavasse and another fifteen Liverpool-born Victoria Cross recipients has been erected at Abercromby Square in Liverpool, sculpted by Tom Murphy.
In 2017, Noel Chavasse was featured on a £5 coin (issued in silver and gold) in a six-coin set commemorating the Centenary of the First World War produced by the Royal Mint.
John Leslie Green VC (4 December 1888 – 1 July 1916) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. An officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he served on attachment to The Sherwood Foresters during the First World War. He was posthumously awarded the VC for his actions on 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.
John Leslie Green was born in Buckden, Huntingdonshire, on 4 December 1888 to John George and Florence May Green. His father owned land in the area and was also a Justice of the Peace. Known as Leslie to his family, Green attended Felsted School, and went on to study at Downing College, Cambridge. Pursuing a career as a doctor, he studied medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He later worked at Huntingdon County Hospital, becoming qualified as a medical doctor in 1911.
First World War
After the outbreak of the First World War, Green was commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps. The early part of his military career was spent attached to the South Staffordshire Regiment as a medical officer before being transferred to the Field Ambulance. He was later posted to the Sherwood Foresters with which he went to France as part of the 46th (North Midland) Division, which fought in the Battle of Loos. His brother, who served in the South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in the battle.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 46th Division was tasked with capturing Gommecourt Wood and then linking up the 56th (London) Division which had been allocated the objective of Gommecourt Park, to the south. This was a diversionary attack, designed to draw German forces away from the battlefield further south. Beginning its advance at 7:25 am, the Sherwood Foresters had great difficulty moving forward due to heavy machinegun fire coming from Gommecourt Wood. Green, at the rear of the battalion, came across Captain Frank Robinson, who had been wounded and become entangled in barbed wire. Under heavy machinegun fire, Green extracted Robinson to a nearby shellhole and performed initial treatment on the wounds before carrying him back to British lines. Robinson was wounded again during this process and Green was killed by gunfire to the head while attending to his latest wound. Although Robinson was taken to hospital for treatment, he died of his wounds two days later.
For his actions on 1 July 1916, Green was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). The VC, instituted in 1856, was the highest award for valour that could be bestowed on a soldier of the British Empire. The citation for his VC reads:
“Capt. John Leslie Green, late R.A.M.C.
For most conspicuous devotion to duty. Although himself wounded, he went to the assistance of an officer who had been wounded and was hung up on the enemy’s wire entanglements, and succeeded in dragging him to a shell hole, where he dressed his wounds, notwithstanding that bombs and rifle grenades were thrown at him the whole time.
Captain Green then endeavoured to bring the wounded officer into safe cover, and had nearly succeeded in doing so when he was himself killed.”
— London Gazette, No. 29695, 4 August 1916
Green is buried at Foncquevillers Military Cemetery. In 1921, Green’s father built a memorial to the men of Buckden village who had been killed in the war and the names of his two sons are listed; they are also on the roll of honour in the village church. He appears on war memorials in Houghton where there is also a Leslie Green Road. Green is also remembered by plaques at Felsted School and the Royal Army Medical Corps College in London.
Green had married Edith Moss, also a doctor, earlier in the year and she was presented with Green’s VC by King George V on 7 October 1916. She later remarried and gifted the medal to the Royal Army Medical Corps. It is displayed at the Museum of Military Medicine in Mytchett, Surrey.
George Allan Maling VC (6 October 1888 – 9 July 1929) was an English medical doctor and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Descended from the Maling pottery family, Maling was born at Carlton House in Bishopwearmouth, County Durham (now part of Sunderland), the youngest of nine children of Edwin Allan Maling (1838–1920), a general practitioner, and his wife Maria Jane, née Hartley (1847–1932). His paternal grandmother was a first cousin of Sir Henry Havelock. His mother’s family originated from Scotland and had established a glassmaking business in Sunderland in the 1830s. Maling was educated at Uppingham School and graduated with honours in natural sciences from Exeter College, Oxford. He continued his studies at St Thomas’ Hospital, qualifying MB BCh in 1914, then MRCS and LRCP in 1915.
After the initial outbreak of the First World War, Maling gained a temporary commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a 26-year-old Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 18 January 1915. After five months he joined the 12th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) as their medical officer. The following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
On 25 September 1915 near Fauquissart, France Lieutenant Maling worked for over 24 hours with untiring energy, collecting and treating in the open, under heavy shell fire, more than 300 men. During the morning of the 25th he was temporarily stunned by the bursting of a large high-explosive shell which wounded his only assistant and killed several of his patients. A second shell covered him and his instruments with debris, but he continued his gallant work single-handed.
Maling was mentioned in despatches and promoted to Captain in 1916. He then returned to the UK and served in the Military Hospital in Grantham. He later joined the 34th Field Ambulance of the 11th (Northern) Division and served again in France for two years.
After the war, George was appointed resident Medical Officer at the Victoria Hospital for Children at Chelsea. He then set up a practice in Lee and was also appointed a surgeon to outpatients at St. John’s Hospital, Lewisham.
Death and legacy
Maling is commemorated on his parents’ grave in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery
Maling died on 9 July 1929, aged 40, after suffering from pleurisy and was buried in Chislehurst Cemetery. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot. On 25 September 2015, a commemorative paving stone was placed at the base of Sunderland War Memorial, to mark 100 years since Maling was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Martin-Leake, VC & Bar, VD, FRCS (4 April 1874 – 22 June 1953) was a British physician, officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps and a double recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Martin-Leake was the first of only three men to be awarded the VC twice, the others being Noel Godfrey Chavasse and Charles Upham.
Arthur, the fifth son of Stephen Martin-Leake of Thorpe Hall, Essex, was born at Standon, near Ware, Hertfordshire, and was educated at Westminster School before studying medicine at University College Hospital, qualifying in 1893. He was employed at Hemel Hempstead District Hospital before enlisting in the 42nd (Hertfordshire) Company, Imperial Yeomanry in 1899 to serve in the Boer War.
After his year of service as a trooper in the Imperial Yeomanry was completed, Martin-Leake stayed on in South Africa as a civil surgeon. He then joined the South African Constabulary until he was forced to return home due to his wounds.
He was 27 years old and a surgeon captain in the South African Constabulary attached to the 5th Field Ambulance during the Second Boer War on 8 February 1902, at Vlakfontein, when he was awarded his first VC.
During the action at Vlakfontein, on the 8th February, 1902, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake went up to a wounded man, and attended to him under a heavy fire from about 40 Boers at 100 yards range. He then went to the assistance of a wounded Officer, and, whilst trying to place him in a comfortable position, was shot three times, but would not give in till he rolled over thoroughly exhausted. All the eight men at this point were wounded, and while they were lying on the Veldt, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake refused water till every one else had been served.
He received the decoration from King Edward VII at St James’s Palace on 2 June 1902.
Martin-Leake qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1903 after studying while convalescing from wounds. He then took up an appointment in India as Chief Medical Officer with the Bengal-Nagpur Railway.
In 1912, he volunteered to serve with the British Red Cross during the Balkan Wars, attached to the Montenegran army, and was present during the Siege of Scutari (1912–13) and at Tarabosh Mountain. He was awarded the Order of the Montenegran Red Cross.
First World War
On the outbreak of the First World War, Martin-Leake returned to service as a lieutenant with the 5th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, on the Western Front.
He was awarded his second VC, aged 40, during the period 29 October to 8 November 1914 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, whilst serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army.
His award citation reads:
Lieutenant Arthur Martin Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 13th May, 1902, is granted a Clasp for conspicuous bravery in the present campaign: — For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the campaign, especially during the period 29th October to 8th November, 1914, near Zonnebeke, in rescuing, whilst exposed to constant fire, a large number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy’s trenches.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Aldershot, England.
He was promoted captain in March 1915, major in November the same year, and in April 1917 took command of 46th Field Ambulance at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Martin-Leake retired from the army after the war and resumed his employment in India until he retired to England in 1937.
During the Second World War, he commanded an ARP post.
He died, aged 79, at High Cross, Hertfordshire. Following cremation at Enfield Crematorium, Middlesex, Martin-Leake was buried in St John’s Church, High Cross. He is commemorated with a plaque and a tree at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
Harry Sherwood Ranken VC (3 September 1883 – 25 September 1914) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Harry Ranken graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1905, and joined the British Army in 1909. Ranken was 31 years old, and a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army, attached to 1st Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 19 and 20 September 1914 at Haute-Avesnes, France, Captain Ranken was severely wounded in the leg whilst attending to his duties on the battlefield under shrapnel and rifle fire. He arrested the bleeding from this and bound it up, then continued to dress the wounds of his men, sacrificing his own chance of survival to their needs. When he finally permitted himself to be carried to the rear his case had become almost desperate and he died on 25 September.
Ranken is buried in Braine Communal Cemetery.
Ranken worked at the Brook fever hospital in South East London, which was on the site adjacent to the Royal Herbert Military Hospital; the original hospital designed on the principles laid down by Florence Nightingale after the Crimean war. When the military hospital moved across the road to a new set of buildings around 1977 – the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital – the administration block at the QE was named after him – Ranken House. The QE has since been largely rebuilt and is now a civilian hospital, but the name has been preserved. Harry Ranken’s photograph and a copy of his citation are still proudly displayed in the reception area of Ranken House.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum (Aldershot, England).
William Barnsley Allen VC, DSO, MC & Bar (8 June 1892 – 27 August 1933) was a British Army medical officer who was decorated for gallantry four times during the First World War, including an award of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Allen attended St Cuthbert’s College, now Worksop College, then studied medicine at Sheffield University in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He graduated MB and ChB in 1914 and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps a few days after the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. He was commissioned as a lieutenant, and attached to the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance.
First World War
In September 1916 Allen, by then promoted to captain, was awarded the Military Cross for actions on unspecified dates:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was telephoned for when an artilleryman was severely wounded, and came in at once over ground which was being heavily shelled at the time. On another occasion he did similar fine work under heavy shell fire.
On 3 September 1916 Allen was attached to the 246th (West Riding) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, near Mesnil, France, when the following event took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross “for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty”:
When gun detachments were unloading H.E. ammunition from wagons which had just come up, the enemy suddenly began to shell the battery position. The first shell fell on one of the limbers, exploded the ammunition and caused several casualties.
Captain Allen saw the occurrence and at once, with utter disregard of danger, ran straight across the open, under heavy shell fire, commenced dressing the wounded, and undoubtedly by his promptness saved many of them from bleeding to death.
He was himself hit four times during the first hour by pieces of shells, one of which fractured two of his ribs, but he never even mentioned this at the time, and coolly went on with his work till the last man was dressed and safely removed.
He then went over to another battery and tended a wounded officer. It was only when this was done that he returned to his dug-out and reported his own injury.
In 1917 Allen was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an intense bombardment of a town with high explosive and gas shells, he left the Advance Dressing Station to search for wounded men. Hearing that there were some in a remote part of the town, he proceeded there, collected them, and supervised their removal to the Dressing Station. On his return, hearing that a party under another Officer had not come in, he was on the point of starting out again to look, for them when they appeared. Although seriously gassed, he continued to perform his duties with the greatest devotion and gallantry, until eventually evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station.
For actions in October 1918 Allen (by then acting major) was awarded the Distinguished Service Order:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the fighting west of Saulzoir for the Selle River line between 11 and 14 October 1918. He showed a very high degree of fearless initiative in organising the collection of wounded from ground under continuous hostile shell fire, and by his inspiring example, untiring energy and contempt of danger, he was able to move large numbers of helpless wounded from positions of danger before he was himself gassed.
He also received a mention in despatches at the end of the war.
Allen died of an accidental drug overdose in 1933.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Mytchett, Surrey.
Allen was a member of Sheffield University Officers Training Corps while he was studying medicine. Just off the main mess in the Somme Barracks, home of Sheffield UOTC, there is an ante-room named the “Allen VC Room” which proudly displays on the wall a framed photograph of William, along with the citation as well as a copy of his VC and several of his other medals.
On 3 September 2016, 100 years after he received the Victoria Cross, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in his memory at the Sheffield War Memorial in Barkers’ Pool.
HMS Russell was a Duncan-class pre-dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy commissioned in 1903. Built to counter a group of fast Russian battleships, Russell and her sister ships were capable of steaming at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph), making them the fastest battleships in the world. The Duncan-class battleships were armed with a main battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns and they were broadly similar to the London-class battleships, though of a slightly reduced displacement and thinner armour layout. As such, they reflected a development of the lighter second-class ships of the Canopus-class battleship. Russell was built between her keel laying in March 1899 and her completion in February 1903.
Russell served with the Mediterranean Fleet until 1904, at which time she was transferred to the Home Fleet; in 1905 the Home Fleet became the Channel Fleet. She moved to the Atlantic Fleet in early 1907 before returning to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1909. In another fleet reorganisation in 1912, the Mediterranean Fleet became part of the Home Fleet and it was later transferred to British waters. Russell served as the flagship of the 6th Battle Squadron from late 1913 until the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.
After the start of the war, Russell was assigned to the Grand Fleet and worked with the fleet’s cruisers on the Northern Patrol, and in November, she bombarded German-occupied Zeebrugge. In November 1915 she was sent to the Mediterranean to support the Dardanelles Campaign, though she did not see extensive use there. On 27 April 1916 she was sailing off Malta when she struck two mines laid by a German U-boat. Most of her crew survived the sinking, though 125 men were killed.
The six ships of the Duncan class were ordered in response to the Russian Peresvet-class battleships that had been launched in 1898. The Russian ships were fast second-class battleships, so William Henry White, the British Director of Naval Construction, designed the Duncan class to match the purported top speed of the Russian vessels. To achieve the higher speed while keeping displacement from growing, White was forced to reduce the ships’ armour protection significantly, effectively making the ships enlarged and improved versions of the Canopus-class battleships of 1896, rather than derivatives of the more powerful Majestic, Formidable, and London series of first-class battleships. The Duncans proved to be disappointments in service, owing to their reduced defensive characteristics, though they were still markedly superior to the Peresvets they had been built to counter.
Russell was 432 feet (132 m) long overall, with a beam of 75 ft 6 in (23.01 m) and a draft of 25 ft 9 in (7.85 m). The Duncan-class battleships displaced 13,270 to 13,745 long tons (13,483 to 13,966 t) normally and up to 14,900 to 15,200 long tons (15,100 to 15,400 t) fully loaded. Her crew numbered 720 officers and ratings. The Duncan-class ships were powered by a pair of 4-cylinder triple-expansion engines that drove two screws, with steam provided by twenty-four Belleville boilers. The boilers were trunked into two funnels located amidships. The Duncan-class ships had a top speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) from 18,000 indicated horsepower (13,000 kW). This made Russell and her sisters the fastest battleships in the world for several years. At a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), the ship could steam for 6,070 nautical miles (11,240 km; 6,990 mi).
Russell had a main battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) 40-calibre guns mounted in twin-gun turrets fore and aft. The ships also mounted a secondary battery of twelve 6-inch (152 mm) 45-calibre guns mounted in casemates, in addition to ten 12-pounder 3 in (76 mm) guns and six 3-pounder 47 mm (1.9 in) guns for defence against torpedo boats. As was customary for battleships of the period, she was also equipped with four 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull.
Russell had an armoured belt that was 7 in (178 mm) thick; the transverse bulkhead on the aft end of the belt was 7 to 11 in (178 to 279 mm) thick. Her main battery turrets’ sides were 8 to 10 in (203 to 254 mm) thick, atop 11 in (279 mm) barbettes, and the casemate battery was protected with 6 in of Krupp steel. Her conning tower had 12-inch-thick sides. She was fitted with two armoured decks, 1 and 2 in (25 and 51 mm) thick, respectively.
Pre-World War I
Russell was named after Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, a former Royal Navy officer and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in the 17th century. She was laid down by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company at Jarrow on 11 March 1899 and launched on 19 February 1901. She arrived at Sheerness later the same month and went to Chatham Dockyard for steam and gun-mounting trials. Construction of Russell was completed in February 1903. During her sea trials, she was painted in the black and buff paint scheme used during the Victorian period, though after entering service she was repainted in the new grey paint scheme.
Russell commissioned at Chatham Dockyard on 19 February 1903 for service in the Mediterranean Fleet, in which she served until April 1904. On 7 April 1904 she recommissioned for service in the Home Fleet. When the Home Fleet became the Channel Fleet in January 1905, she became a Channel Fleet unit. She transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in February 1907. In July 1908, Russell visited Canada during the Quebec Tercentenary, in company with her sister ships Albemarle, Duncan, and Exmouth. While there on 16 July she collided with the cruiser Venus off Quebec, but suffered only minor damage.
In 1909, Russell had her armament overhauled, which included the installation of new traversing and elevation gear and sighting equipment. She also had identification bands painted onto her funnels. On 30 July 1909, Russell transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet. Under a fleet reorganisation of 1 May 1912, the Mediterranean Fleet became the 4th Battle Squadron, First Fleet, Home Fleet, and changed its base from Malta to Gibraltar; Russell transferred to home waters in August 1912. In September 1913, Russell was reduced to a nucleus crew in the commissioned reserve and assigned to the 6th Battle Squadron, Second Fleet. Beginning in December 1913, she served as Flagship, 6th Battle Squadron, and Flagship, Rear Admiral, Home Fleet, at the Nore. During this period, the ship had her anti-torpedo nets removed.
On 7–8 July 1914, Russell ferried representatives of the British government, led by Lord Beauchamp, from Dover to Guernsey to attend the unveiling of a monument to Victor Hugo. French government representatives were carried by the French cruiser Dupetit-Thouars.
World War I
North Sea and the Channel
When World War I began in August 1914, plans originally called for Russell and battleships Agamemnon, Albemarle, Cornwallis, Duncan, Exmouth, and Vengeance to combine in the 6th Battle Squadron and serve in the Channel Fleet, where the squadron was to patrol the English Channel and cover the movement of the British Expeditionary Force to France. However, plans also existed for the 6th Battle Squadron to be assigned to the Grand Fleet. When the war began, the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, requested that Russell and her four surviving sister ships of the Duncan class (Albemarle, Cornwallis, Duncan, and Exmouth) be assigned to the 3rd Battle Squadron in the Grand Fleet for patrol duties to make up for the Grand Fleet’s shortage of cruisers. Accordingly, the 6th Battle Squadron was abolished temporarily. Russell, Exmouth, and Albemarle were the only ships in a condition to immediately join Jellicoe, so they left without the rest of the squadron on 5 August. They arrived in Scapa Flow on the night of 7–8 August. The ships worked with Grand Fleet cruisers on the Northern Patrol.
Russell and her four Duncan-class sisters, as well as the battleships of the King Edward VII class, were temporarily transferred to the Channel Fleet on 2 November 1914 as reinforcements in the face of German Navy activity in the Channel Fleet’s area. The following day, the German fleet raided Yarmouth; at the time, Russell and the rest of the 3rd Squadron were dispersed on the Northern Patrol, and were thus unavailable during the German attack. On 13 November 1914 the King Edward VII-class ships returned to the Grand Fleet, but Russell and the other Duncans stayed in the Channel Fleet, where they reconstituted the 6th Battle Squadron on 14 November 1914, with Russell serving as the squadron’s flagship. The squadron was based at Portland, although it transferred immediately, 14 November, to Dover. However, due a lack of antisubmarine defences at Dover, particularly after the harbour’s anti-submarine boom was swept away in a gale, it returned to Portland on 19 November 1914.
The 6th Battle Squadron was given a mission of bombarding German submarine bases on the coast of Belgium, and Russell participated in the bombardment of German submarine facilities at Zeebrugge on 23 November 1914 in company with Exmouth. The two ships left Portland on 21 November accompanied by eight destroyers, a group of trawlers, and a pair of airships to observe the fall of shot, though the airships failed to arrive in time for the operation. Russell and Exmouth closed to 6,000 yards (5,500 m) of the port and shelled the harbour, the railroad station, and coastal defences. The two ships fired some 400 shells in total and observed several fires ashore; reports from Dutch observers indicated significant damage had been inflicted, but the attack achieved very little and discouraged the Royal Navy from continuing such bombardments.
The 6th Battle Squadron returned to Dover in December 1914, then transferred to Sheerness on 30 December to relieve the 5th Battle Squadron there in guarding against a German invasion of the United Kingdom. Between January and May 1915, the 6th Battle Squadron was dispersed. Russell and Albemarle remained with the Grand Fleet through April; on 19 April, they were detached from the fleet base at Rosyth to conduct training exercises in Scapa Flow. They rejoined the fleet for a sortie on 21 April Russell left the squadron in April 1915 and rejoined the 3rd Battle Squadron in the Grand Fleet at Rosyth. She underwent a refit at Belfast in October–November 1915. During this refit she received a pair of 3-inch (76 mm) anti-aircraft guns on her quarterdeck.
On 6 November 1915, a division of the 3rd Battle Squadron consisting of battleships Hibernia (the flagship), Zealandia, Albemarle, and Russell was detached from the Grand Fleet to reinforce the British Dardanelles Squadron in the Gallipoli Campaign at the Gallipoli Peninsula. Russell was at that time in Belfast, and she joined the other ships while they were en route. Albemarle had to turn back almost immediately due to heavy weather damage, but the other ships continued to the Mediterranean, where Russell took up her duties at the Dardanelles in December 1915, based at Mudros with Hibernia and held back in support. Her only action in the campaign was her participation in the evacuation of Cape Helles from 7 January to 9 January 1916, and she was the last battleship of the British Dardanelles Squadron to leave the area. She relieved Hibernia as Divisional Flagship, Rear Admiral, in January 1916.
After the conclusion of the Dardanelles campaign, Russell stayed on in the eastern Mediterranean. Russell was steaming off Malta early on the morning of 27 April 1916 when she struck two naval mines that had been laid by the German submarine U-73. A fire broke out in the after part of the ship and the order to abandon ship was passed; after an explosion near the after 12-inch (305 mm) turret, she took on a dangerous list. However, she sank slowly, allowing most of her crew to escape. A total of 27 officers and 98 ratings were lost. John H. D. Cunningham served aboard her at the time as a lieutenant commander and survived her sinking; he would one day become First Sea Lord.
According to the naval historian R. A. Burt, insufficient internal subdivision, which limited the ability of the crew to counter-flood to offset underwater damage, contributed significantly to the loss of Russell and her sister Cornwallis, both of which listed badly before sinking.
The wreck was examined for the first time in 2003 by a British dive team; the ship lies at a depth of 63 fathoms (115 m) about 3.2 nautical miles (6 km) from the Delimara peninsula. Her stern was blown off by the mine.
Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The use of Q-ships contributed to the abandonment of cruiser rules restricting attacks on unarmed merchant ships and to the shift to unrestricted submarine warfare in the 20th century.
They were used by the British Royal Navy and the German Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War and by the Royal Navy, the Kriegsmarine, the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the United States Navy during the Second World War (1939–45).
In 1915, during the First Battle of the Atlantic, Britain was in desperate need of a countermeasure against the U-boats that were strangling her sea-lanes. Convoys, which had proved effective in earlier times (and would again prove effective during the Second World War), were rejected by the resource-strapped Admiralty and the independent captains. Depth charges of the time were relatively primitive, and almost the only chance of sinking a submarine was by gunfire or by ramming while on the surface. The problem was how to lure the U-boat to the surface.
A solution to this was the creation of the Q-ship, one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war. Their codename referred to the vessels’ home port, Queenstown, in Ireland. These became known by the Germans as a U-Boot-Falle (“U-boat trap”). A Q-ship would appear to be an easy target, but in fact carried hidden armaments. A typical Q-ship might resemble a tramp steamer sailing alone in an area where a U-boat was reported to be operating.
Torpedoes are expensive, and a submarine only carries a limited number of them, ideally employed when the vessel is submerged and invisible to her target. Ammunition for a deck gun, oppositely, is inexpensive and plentiful in comparison. As a result, submarine captains prefer to surface and use their deck gun on easy or already weakened targets.
By seeming to be a suitable target for the U-boat’s deck gun, a Q-ship was intended to lure a submarine into surfacing. Once the U-boat was vulnerable, perhaps even gulled further by pretence of some crew dressed as civilian mariners “abandoning ship” and taking to a boat, the Q-ship would drop its panels and immediately open fire with its deck guns. At the same time, the vessel would reveal her true colours by raising the White Ensign (Royal Navy flag). When successfully fooled a U-boat could quickly be overwhelmed by several guns to its one, or defer from firing and try to submerge before mortally wounded.
The first Q-ship victory was on 23 June 1915, when the submarine HMS C24, cooperating with the decoy vessel Taranaki, sank U-40 off Eyemouth. The first victory by an unassisted Q-ship came on 24 July 1915 when Prince Charles sank U-36. The civilian crew of Prince Charles received a cash award. The following month an even smaller converted fishing trawler renamed HM Armed Smack Inverlyon successfully destroyed UB-4 near Great Yarmouth. Inverlyon was an unpowered sailing ship fitted with a small 3-pounder (47 mm) gun. The British crew fired nine rounds from their 3-pounder into UB-4 at close range, sinking her with the loss of all hands despite the attempt of Inverlyon’s commander to rescue one surviving German submariner.
On 19 August 1915, HMS Baralong sank U-27, which was preparing to attack the nearby merchant ship Nicosian. About a dozen of the U-boat sailors survived and swam towards the merchant ship. The commanding officer, allegedly fearing that they might scuttle her, ordered the survivors to be shot in the water and sent a boarding party to kill all who had made it aboard. This became known as the “Baralong incident”.
HMS Farnborough sank U-68 on 22 March 1916. Her commander, Gordon Campbell, was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). New Zealanders Lieutenant Andrew Dougall Blair and Sub-Lieutenant William Edward Sanders faced three U-boats simultaneously in Helgoland while becalmed and without engines or wireless. Forced to return fire early, they managed to sink one U-boat and avoid two torpedo attacks. Sanders was promoted to lieutenant commander, eventually commanding the topsail schooner HMS Prize in command of which he was awarded the Victoria Cross for an action on 30 April 1917 with U-93, which was severely damaged. Helgoland, while the ship sustained heavy shellfire, waited until the submarine was within 80 yards (73 m), whereupon he hoisted the White Ensign and Prize opened fire. The submarine appeared to sink and he claimed a victory. However, the badly damaged submarine managed to struggle back to port. With his ship accurately described by the survivors of U-93, Sanders and his crewmen were all killed in action when they attempted a surprise attack on UB-48 on 14 August 1917.
According to Warships of World War I by H. M. LeFleming, the Royal Navy converted 58 from merchant ships (18 were sunk by U-boats), in addition to 40 Flower-class sloop and 20 PC-boats. However Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1906–1921 quotes no fewer than 157 named submarine decoy vessels converted from other types of ship, in addition to another ten whose name was unknown. It agrees with LeFleming about the number of sloops and PC-boats.
These ones were completed as Q-ships, disguised as coastal freighters and differed from regular service PC-boats. None were lost in the war. The Flower-class sloops were designed on merchant ship lines thus making them easily adaptable for conversion to Q-ships, 39 being completed as such while the other was converted after being torpedoed. These all had single funnels, and as the merchant ship silhouette was left to the builders. The “Flower-Q’s” were employed mainly on convoy and anti-submarine work. Nine were lost during the war. After the war, it was concluded that Q-ships were greatly overrated, diverting skilled seamen from other duties without sinking enough U-boats to justify the strategy. In a total of 150 engagements, British Q-ships destroyed 14 U-boats and damaged 60, at a cost of 27 Q-ships lost out of 200. Q-ships were responsible for about 10% of all U-boats sunk, ranking them well below the use of ordinary minefields in effectiveness.
The Imperial German Navy commissioned six Q-boats during the Great War for the Baltic Sea into the Handelsschutzflottille. None were successful in destroying enemy submarines. The German Q-ship Schiff K heavily damaged the Russian submarine Gepard of the Bars class on 27 May 1916. The famous Möwe and Wolf were merchant raiders, vessels designed to disrupt enemy trade and sink merchantmen, rather than attack enemy warships.
A surviving example of the Q-ships is HMS Saxifrage, a Flower-class sloop of the Anchusa group completed in 1918. She was renamed HMS President in 1922 and served as the London Division RNR drill ship until 1988, when she was sold privately and remains moored at King’s Reach on the Thames.
HMS Arabis was an Arabis-class sloop of the Royal Navy. She had a brief career, serving during the First World War.
She was built by D. and W. Henderson and Company, of Glasgow as Yard No 497, and was launched on 6 November 1915. She was involved in a minesweeping exercise off the Dogger Bank during the night of 10 February 1916, when she was encountered by a flotilla of German torpedo boats. A brief action followed which led to the torpedoing and sinking of Arabis with the loss of 56 of her crew.
The Arabis class was a slightly enlarged and improved derivative of the previous Acacia-class and Azalea-class sloops. They were designed at the start of the First World War as relatively fast minesweepers that could also carry out various miscellaneous duties in support of the fleet such as acting as dispatch vessels or carrying out towing operations, but as the war continued and the threat from German submarines grew, became increasingly involved in anti-submarine duties.
Arabis was 268 ft (81.69 m) long overall and 255 ft (77.72 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 33 ft 6 in (10.21 m) and a draught of 11 ft (3.35 m). Displacement was 1,250 long tons (1,270 t) normal. Two cylindrical boilers fed steam to a four-cylinder triple expansion steam engine rated at 2,000 ihp (1,500 kW), giving a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). The Arabis class had a main armament of two 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns or two 4-inch (102 mm) guns, with Arabis armed with 4.7-inch guns, with two 3-pounder (47 mm) anti-aircraft guns also carried. The ship had a crew of 90 officers and other ranks.
Construction and service
Arabis was one of the first nine ships of her class ordered on 6 July 1915. Arabis was laid down as yard number 497 at D. and W. Henderson and Company’s Glasgow shipyard, and was launched on 6 November 1915. She was delivered to the Royal Navy on 18 December 1915, and was allocated the pennant number T44. Arabis joined the newly established 10th Sloop Flotilla, consisting of Arabis-class sloops, on commissioning.
On 9 February 1916, the four sloops of the flotilla (Buttercup (leader of the flotilla), Arabis, Alyssum and Poppy), set out from Bridlington Bay to continue sweeping a channel in the North Sea. On 10 February a force of 25 German torpedo boats of the 2nd, 6th and 9th Torpedo-boat flotillas set out on a sortie into the North Sea. While the British Admiralty had been warned of the German operation by the codebreakers of Room 40, they did not recall the 10th Sloop Flotilla in order not to warn the Germans that the British could break the German Navy’s codes. The Admiralty stated that “Vessels at a distance from their ports must take their chance”. At dusk on 10 February, the four sloops stopped their sweeping, dropping a dan buoy to mark the progress of the sweep. Arabis was ordered to remain underway in the vicinity of the buoy, while the other three ships steamed south-east and north-west. At about 22:50 hr, Buttercup was leading was leading Poppy and Alyssum back towards the buoy, when what appeared to be the flashes of torpedoes being launched were spotted by Buttercup’s officer of the watch, who turned the sloop away at full speed with Poppy and Alyssum following. Arabis, meanwhile, remained near the buoy and was attacked by several torpedo boats, with two torpedoes missing Arabis and an exchange of gunfire occurring, with Arabis’s steering gear and radio equipment damaged before the German ships broke off the engagement. After about 45 minutes, a second group of German torpedo boats approached. Arabis opened fire on the German ships, although her aft 4.7-inch gun jammed after the second round, before two torpedoes hit Arabis, sinking the sloop. The Germans picked up 14 survivors, with 76 men killed. Arabis’s commanding officer, Lieutenant-Commander Hallowell-Carew, was in 1919 awarded the Distinguished Service Order for this action.
HMS Crescent was a first class cruiser of the Edgar class in the British Royal Navy. Crescent, and her sister ship Royal Arthur, were built to a slightly modified design and are sometimes considered a separate class. She was launched in 1892, saw early service at the Australia Station and the North America and West Indies Station, served in the First World War, and was sold for breaking up in 1921.
Crescent had a length of 387 feet 6 inches (118.11 m) long overall and 360 feet (109.73 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 60 feet (18.29 m) and a draught of 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m). She displaced 7,350 long tons (7,470 t). Armament consisted of two 9.2-inch guns, on the ships centreline, backed up by ten six-inch guns, of which four were in casemates on the main deck and the remainder behind open shields. Twelve 6-pounder and four 3-pounder guns provided anti-torpedo-boat defences, while four 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted.
The Edgars were protected cruisers, with an arched, armoured deck 5–3 inches (127–76 mm) thick at about waterline level. The casemate armour was 6 inches (152 mm) thick, with 3 inches (76 mm) thick shields for the 9.2-inch guns and 10 inches (254 mm) armour on the ship’s conning tower. It contained four double-ended cylindrical Fairfields boilers feeding steam at 150 pounds per square inch (1,000 kPa) to 2 three-cylinder triple expansion engines, which drove two shafts. This gave 12,000 indicated horsepower (8,900 kW) under forced draught, giving a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).
She was built at Portsmouth and launched on 30 March 1892.
Crescent had her first commission at the Australia Station. On 11 January 1895 she left Australia under Captain Arbuthnot. From 1899 until 1902 she was flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick Bedford, Commander-in-Chief North America and West Indies Station, which had headquarters at Bermuda and (during summer) Halifax. Under the command of Captain Charles John Graves-Sawle she visited Trinidad and Jamaica in February 1900, and the following month Nassau, Bahamas to assist HMS Hermes, stranded there with a broken shaft. Captain Stanley Colville was appointed in command on 1 March 1900, but did not actually take command of the ship until later. Commander Henry Hervey Campbell was appointed in command in May 1902, and she took part in coronation celebrations at the Halifax headquarter in that year. Bedford was succeeded as Commander-in-Chief at the station on 15 July 1902, when he left homebound with Crescent, which was succeeded as flagship of the station by HMS Ariadne. She arrived at Spithead on 24 July, but her commission was prolonged so she could take part in the fleet review held there on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII. Following the review, the King went on a tour westwards along the coast, with Crescent as escort ship, and she only returned to Portsmouth in early September, paying off there on 3 October for a complete overhaul.
She served in the First World War, and was sold on 22 September 1921 for breaking up in Germany.
HMS Furious was a modified Courageous-class battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy (RN) during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, the ship was very lightly armoured and designed with a main battery of only two 18-inch (457 mm) guns. Furious was modified as an aircraft carrier while under construction. Her forward turret was removed and a flight deck was added in its place, such that aircraft had to manoeuvre around the superstructure to land. Later in the war, the ship had her rear turret removed and a second flight deck installed aft of the superstructure, but this was less than satisfactory due to air turbulence. Furious was briefly laid up after the war before she was reconstructed with a full-length flight deck in the early 1920s.
After her conversion, Furious was used extensively for trials of naval aircraft and later as a training carrier once the new armoured carriers like Ark Royal entered service in the late 1930s. During the early months of the Second World War, the carrier spent her time hunting for German raiders in the North Atlantic and escorting convoys. This changed dramatically during the Norwegian Campaign in early 1940 when her aircraft provided air support to British troops ashore in addition to attacking German shipping. The first of what would be numerous aircraft ferry missions was made by the carrier during the campaign. After the withdrawal of British troops in May, Furious made several anti-shipping strikes in Norway with little result before beginning a steady routine of ferrying aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
At first, Furious made several trips to West Africa, but she began to ferry aircraft to Gibraltar in 1941. An unsuccessful attack on German-occupied ports on the Arctic Ocean interrupted the ferry missions in mid-1941. Furious was given a lengthy refit in the United States and spent a few months training after her return in April 1942. She made several more ferry trips in mid-1942 before her aircraft attacked airfields in Vichy French Algeria as part of the opening stages of Operation Torch in November 1942. The ship remained in the Mediterranean until February 1943 when she was transferred to the Home Fleet.
Furious spent most of 1943 training, but made a number of attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz and other targets in Norway during the first half of 1944. By September 1944, the ship was showing her age and she was placed in reserve. Furious was decommissioned in April 1945, but was not sold for scrap until 1948.
Design and description
During the First World War, Admiral Fisher was prevented from ordering an improved version of the preceding Renown-class battlecruisers by a wartime restriction that banned construction of ships larger than light cruisers. To obtain ships suitable for traditional battlecruiser roles, such as scouting for fleets and hunting enemy raiders, he settled on ships with the minimal armour of a light cruiser and the armament of a battlecruiser. He justified their existence by claiming he needed fast, shallow-draught ships for his Baltic Project, a plan to invade Germany via its Baltic coast.
Furious had an overall length of 786 feet 9 inches (239.8 m), a beam of 88 feet (26.8 m), and a draught of 24 feet 11 inches (7.6 m) at deep load. She displaced 19,513 long tons (19,826 t) normally and 22,890 long tons (23,257 t) at deep load. She had a metacentric height of 5.33 feet (1.6 m) at deep load. Furious and her half-sisters were the first large warships in the Royal Navy to have geared steam turbines. To save design time, the installation used in the light cruiser Champion, the first cruiser in the RN with geared turbines, was copied and simply duplicated to provide two sets of turbines. The four Brown-Curtis turbines were powered by eighteen Yarrow small-tube boilers that were designed to produce a total of 90,000 shaft horsepower (67,000 kW). The ship’s speed was an estimated 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph), but she never ran her sea trials.
Furious was designed to normally carry 750 long tons (762 t) of fuel oil, but could carry a maximum of 3,160 long tons (3,211 t). At full capacity, she could steam for an estimated 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). The ship was designed to carry two BL 18-inch Mark I guns in two single turrets, one each fore (‘A’) and aft (‘Y’). Her secondary armament consisted of 11 BL 5.5 in (140 mm) Mk I guns. A pair of quick-firing (QF) 3-inch (76 mm) 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns were mounted before the funnel. Furious was also fitted with two submerged tubes for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes for which 10 torpedoes were carried.
Even as she was being built, Furious was modified with a large hangar capable of housing ten aircraft on her forecastle that replaced the forward turret. A 160-foot (49 m) flight deck was built along its roof. Aircraft were flown off and, rather less successfully, landed on this deck. Floatplanes like the Short Type 184 used a four-wheel trolley that ran down a track along the centre of the flight deck for take-off. Aircraft were lifted by crane from the hangar to the flight deck. Although the aft turret was fitted and the gun tested, it was not long before Furious returned to her builders for further modifications. In November 1917, the rear turret was replaced by a 300-foot (91 m) deck for landing aircraft over another hangar. Her funnel and superstructure remained intact, with a narrow strip of decking around them to connect the fore and aft flight decks. Turbulence from the funnel and superstructure was severe enough that only three landing attempts were successful before further attempts were forbidden. Her 18-inch guns were reused on the Lord Clive-class monitors General Wolfe and Lord Clive during the war.
Furious was laid down on 8 June 1915 at Armstrong Whitworth’s Low Walker shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne. The ship was launched on 18 August 1916 and commissioned on 26 June 1917. As completed, her complement numbered 737 officers and ratings.
Aircraft landing and the First World War
On 2 August 1917, while performing trials, Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning landed a Sopwith Pup, believed to have been N6453, successfully on board Furious, becoming the first person to land an aircraft on a moving ship. On 7 August, he made one more successful landing in the same manner, but on his third attempt, in Pup N6452, the engine choked and the aircraft crashed off the starboard bow into the sea, causing him to drown. The deck arrangement was unsatisfactory because aircraft had to manoeuvre around the superstructure to land.
In the meantime, all three Courageous-class ships were assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron (CS) in October 1917 when the Admiralty received word of German ship movements on 16 October, possibly indicating a raid. Admiral Beatty, commander of the Grand Fleet, ordered most of his light cruisers and destroyers to sea in an effort to locate the enemy ships. Furious was detached from the 1st CS and ordered to sweep along the 56th parallel as far as 4° East and to return before dark. Her half-sisters Courageous and Glorious were not initially ordered to sea, but were sent to reinforce the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron patrolling the central part of the North Sea later that day. Two German Brummer-class light cruisers managed to slip through the gaps in the British patrols and destroyed the Scandinavia convoy during the morning of 17 October, but no word was received of the engagement until that afternoon. The 1st CS was ordered to attempt to intercept the German ships, but they proved to be faster than expected and the British ships were unsuccessful.
Furious returned to the dockyard in November to have the aft turret removed and replaced by another deck for landing, giving her both a launching and a recovery deck. Two lifts (elevators) serving the hangars were also installed. Furious was recommissioned on 15 March 1918, and her embarked aircraft were used on anti-Zeppelin patrols in the North Sea after May. In July 1918, she flew off seven Sopwith Camels which participated in the Tondern raid, attacking the Zeppelin sheds there with moderate success.
Furious was laid up after the war, but was converted to an aircraft carrier with a continuous flight deck between June 1921 and September 1925. Her design was based on experience gained with the first two British carriers, Argus and Eagle, although this was very limited as Argus was less than three years old and Eagle had carried out only 143 deck landings during her preliminary sea trials in 1920.
The ship’s superstructure, masts, funnel and landing deck were removed and she was given a 576-by-92-foot (175.6 by 28.0 m) flight deck that extended over three-quarters of her length. This flight deck was not level; it sloped upwards about three-quarters of the way from the stern to help slow down landing aircraft, which had no brakes at that time. The fore-and-aft 320-foot (97.5 m) arresting gear was not intended to stop landing aircraft—the landing speeds of the time were low enough that this was unnecessary given a good headwind—but rather to prevent aircraft from veering off to one side and potentially falling off the flight deck. Various designs for the flight deck were tested in a wind tunnel by the National Physical Laboratory which showed that the distinctive elliptical shape and rounded edges used minimised turbulence.
Furious was not lengthened, but her beam was increased 1 foot (0.3 m) to 89 feet .75 inches (27.1 m) and her average draught was now 27 feet 3 inches (8.3 m) at deep load, 2 feet (0.6 m) deeper than before the conversion. She displaced 22,500 long tons (22,900 t) at normal load and 26,500 long tons (26,900 t) at deep load, over 3000 long tons more than her previous displacement. Her metacentric height was 3.6 feet (1.1 m) at deep load, a reduction of 1.48 feet (0.5 m) after her conversion. During the ship’s post-conversion sea trials she reached 30.03 knots (55.62 km/h; 34.56 mph). Her fuel capacity was increased by 700 long tons (710 t) during her reconstruction, which increased her range to 5,300 nautical miles (9,800 km; 6,100 mi) at a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) or 7,480 nautical miles (13,850 km; 8,610 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).
A two-level hangar was built under the flight deck, 15 feet (4.6 m) in height per level. The lower hangar was 550 feet (167.6 m) long by 35–50 feet (10.7–15.2 m) wide and the upper was 520 by 50 feet (158.5 by 15.2 m). Each hangar could be sectioned off by electrically operated steel shutters on rollers. Her boilers were ducted down the side of the ship to exhaust either out of gratings at the rear of the flight deck or, when landing operations were in progress, out of the side of the lower hangar at the rear of the ship. This solution proved to be very unsatisfactory as it consumed valuable space, made parts of the lower hangar unbearable and interfered with landing operations to a greater or lesser degree. Her original flying-off deck remained in place for use by small aircraft like fighters which improved launch and recovery cycle flexibility allowing the ship to simultaneously land aircraft on the main flight deck while fighters were taking off on the lower deck or to speedily fly off her aircraft from both decks. Doors at the forward end of the upper hangar opened onto the lower flying deck. Like Argus, Furious was flush-decked and lacked an island superstructure to minimise any turbulence over the flight deck; instead she had a navigating position at the leading edge of the flight deck, starboard, and was provided with a retractable charthouse forward, on the flight deck centreline. The ship could normally carry about 36 aircraft.
Two 47-by-46-foot (14.3 by 14.0 m) lifts (elevators) were installed to transfer aircraft between the flight deck and hangars. No arresting gear was fitted and two 600-imperial-gallon (2,700 l; 720 US gal) ready-use petrol tanks were provided for aircraft and the ship’s boats on the upper deck. An additional 20,000 imperial gallons (91,000 l; 24,000 US gal) of petrol were in bulk storage. In 1939, her complement consisted of 41 officers and 754 crewmen.
Furious retained ten of her original eleven breech-loading 5.5-inch (140 mm) guns, five on each side, for self-defence from enemy warships. Six QF 4-inch Mark V guns replaced her original anti-aircraft guns. Four were mounted on the sides of the flying-off deck and two on the quarterdeck. The four guns on the flying-off deck were removed in 1926–27 for trials of the lower flight deck, but only two were replaced when the trials were concluded. Four single QF 2-pounder “pom-poms” were installed in 1927. During Furious’s September 1930 – February 1932 refit, her anti-aircraft outfit was reinforced by the addition of two eight-barrel QF 2-pounder Mark V pom-pom mounts where the forward 4-inch guns on the flying-off deck had been removed earlier.
The 5.5-inch and 4-inch guns were replaced during her refit in early 1939 by a dozen QF 4-inch Mk XVI guns in six twin dual-purpose Mark XIX mounts. One mount each was on the former flying-off deck and the quarterdeck while the other four were mounted two per side. Two more Mark V 2-pounder mounts were added fore and aft of the newly added island superstructure at the same time. While later refitting in the United States, the ship was fitted with a maximum of 22 manually operated automatic 20-millimetre (0.79 in) Oerlikon light anti-aircraft guns, which replaced the single quadruple Vickers .50 machine gun mount.
A single High Angle Control System director was fitted on the island and another on an elevated mount on the former flying-off deck. Two pom-pom directors were also mounted on the island for the weapons mounted fore and aft of the island.
Furious was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet after commissioning in 1925, although she spent much of the next several years conducting trials for practically every aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) inventory. These included landing and flying-off tests of Fairey IIID and Fairey Flycatcher floatplanes, with and without wheels, to compare various designs of wooden and metal floats. The lower flight deck was greased to allow them to take off with a minimum of difficulty. A Flycatcher fitted with wooden skids was also tested and behaved perfectly satisfactorily. The arresting gear was barely used during these trials and it was removed shortly afterwards. Deck-edge palisades were installed in 1927 to keep aircraft from blowing over the side in rough weather. The first carrier night-landing was made by a Blackburn Dart on 6 May 1926 aboard Furious. In the 1920s, the ship commonly carried one flight of fighters (Fairey Flycatcher), two of spotters (Blackburn Blackburn or Avro Bison), one spotter reconnaissance (Fairey IIID) and two flights of torpedo bombers (Blackburn Dart), each usually of six aircraft.
Furious was reduced to reserve on 1 July 1930 in preparation for a lengthy overhaul at Devonport. It lasted from September 1930 to February 1932 and was focused on refitting her machinery and re-tubing her boilers. In addition her quarterdeck was raised by one deck, the AA armament was revised and spraying facilities were fitted in the hangars. Upon completion, she ran a full-power trial on 16 February 1932 where her maximum speed was 28.8 knots (53.3 km/h; 33.1 mph) from a total of 89,745 shaft horsepower (66,923 kW).
Furious recommissioned in May 1932 as part of the Home Fleet with a reduced crew before being brought up to full complement in November. Transverse arresting gear was fitted sometime during the mid-1930s. She was detached to the Mediterranean Fleet from May to October 1934. Furious was present at the Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead on 20 May 1937 for George VI. She became a deck-landing training carrier in 1937, although she was refitted in Devonport between December 1937 and May 1938 where the forward end of her lower flight deck was raised to make her less wet forward. During the Munich Crisis in September 1938, the ship embarked 801, 821 and 822 Squadrons and joined the fleet at Scapa Flow, before resuming her training duties after the peaceful conclusion of the affair. She was struck a glancing blow by the destroyer Encounter during this time, but suffered only minor damage.
From 1933 to the end of 1938, Furious carried 801 Squadron which initially flew a mixture of six Hawker Nimrod and three Flycatcher fighters. Hawker Osprey fighters replaced the Flycatchers in early 1934 and the Nimrods were withdrawn in October 1936. 811 and 822 Squadrons were embarked for reconnaissance and anti-shipping missions. They flew the Blackburn Ripon, the Blackburn Baffin and the Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers as well as the Fairey IIIF, the Fairey Seal and the Blackburn Shark reconnaissance aircraft.
The ship was given a more extensive refit from January to May 1939 that removed her 5.5-inch guns and palisades, mounted anti-aircraft guns on her lower flying-off deck, plated in the doors at the forward end of the upper hangar, and gave her a small island on the starboard side. Furious resumed her training duties after the completion of the refit and continued them until October 1939. As a deck-landing training carrier in 1939 Furious embarked 767 Squadron, flying Shark, Swordfish and Fairey Albacore torpedo bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, and 769 Squadron, flying Blackburn Skua, Blackburn Roc, and Gloster Sea Gladiator fighters.
Second World War
Furious remained on training duties, combined with anti-submarine sweeps off the east coast of Scotland until 2 October 1939. She was then assigned to the Home Fleet to replace the sunken Courageous and embarked nine Swordfish aircraft from 816 Squadron and a detachment of three more Swordfish from 818 Squadron. The ship sortied on 8 October with the fleet to unsuccessfully hunt for the German battleship Gneisenau and escorting ships which had been spotted off southern Norway. After returning from this search, Furious departed her berth adjacent to the battleship Royal Oak in Scapa Flow for more futile searches for German ships on 13 October, the day before Royal Oak was sunk by U-47. Afterwards she was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she and the battlecruiser Repulse formed a hunting group for German raiders. Furious served as the flagship for the convoy bringing most of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division to Britain in mid-December 1939. In the darkness on 17 December, the west-bound ocean liner SS Samaria passed through the convoy unseen. She ripped off the horizontal wireless masts on Furious’s starboard side, carried away five overhanging lifeboats from the port side of RMS Aquitania, and just missed the third and fourth ships in line.
Furious joined the Home Fleet off the coast of Norway on 10 April 1940 with only eighteen Swordfish from 816 and 818 Squadrons embarked; no fighters were able to join the ship in time. Sixteen Swordfish made unsuccessful torpedo attacks on German ships in Trondheim harbour the following morning. On 12 April, both squadrons attempted to attack German ships in Narvik in bad weather. Disappointed with the failure of the torpedo attacks the previous day, bombs were carried instead. 818 Squadron, making the first attack, damaged several captured Norwegian ships, but lost two aircraft to flak, although the crews were rescued by the British cruiser Penelope and the destroyer Punjabi. Following 40 minutes behind, 816 Squadron was forced to turn back by heavy weather. One aircraft was lost while landing, but the crew was recovered. Another attack was launched the next day in support of the British ships entering Narvik, but they contributed little and another pair of Swordfish were shot down.
Furious, ordered to remain behind after the bulk of the Home Fleet departed on 15 April, departed the Narvik area on 14 April, escorted by three destroyers, to refuel at Tromsø. En route, her Swordfish attacked Junkers Ju 52 transports that had landed on frozen Lake Hartvikvatnet approximately 10 miles (16.1 km) northeast of Narvik. Two of the Ju 52s were destroyed and several others damaged. She reached the port on 16 April with only 27% of her fuel remaining. She stayed there until 18 April when she headed south to scout the Narvik area. She was attacked en route by a single Heinkel He 111 bomber of the II./KG 26 wing from very high altitude. Two large bombs narrowly missed the ship, the closest only 11 yards (10.1 m) off the port side aft. The shock shook her propeller shafts out of alignment and jarred the port inner high-pressure turbine so she was limited to 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). Furious remained off the coast of Norway despite the damage and attempted to fly off aircraft on 22 April, despite severe weather, to discourage German aircraft from delivering supplies to the German forces in Narvik. One aircraft was shot down by the Germans and the others returned reporting heavy snowstorms between the ship and Narvik. The weather worsened the next day and Captain Troubridge decided to head to Harstad to check the damage from the near miss. It proved worse than anticipated and he was ordered back to the United Kingdom. Only six of the nine remaining Swordfish were serviceable.
After quick repairs, which included the removal of several rows of turbine blades, Furious returned to Norway on 18 May carrying the Gladiators of a reformed Royal Air Force 263 Squadron; they were flown off on 21 April once their base at Bardufoss was ready. One Gladiator and the guiding Swordfish crashed en route, killing all crewmen. The ship returned to Scapa Flow once all the Gladiators had been flown off, carrying only six Sea Gladiators of 804 Squadron and nine Swordfish of 816 Squadron for self-protection while ferrying 263 Squadron.
On 14 June, carrying only half of 816 Squadron for her own protection, Furious sailed unescorted for Halifax carrying £18,000,000 in gold bullion. On 1 July she escorted a convoy of Canadian troops bound for Iceland from Halifax and ferried over almost 50 aircraft with spare parts and munitions. On his own initiative, Captain Troubridge ordered all available space should be used to transport sugar to Britain. Upon her arrival, she embarked the rest of 816 Squadron, as well as nine Skuas of 801 Squadron and nine Swordfish of 825, and made a number of largely unsuccessful air strikes on shipping in Norwegian waters and on the seaplane base at Tromsø in September and October 1940, at a cost of several aircraft. Both Swordfish squadrons disembarked afterwards to make room as she prepared to resume her role as an aircraft transport.
During this time, she retained only six Skuas of 801 Squadron for her own protection. Furious was back in Liverpool by 15 December where she embarked 40 more Hurricanes for Takoradi. She sailed on 21 December 1940 joining with Convoy WS5A and the small carrier Argus. The German cruiser Admiral Hipper encountered the convoy on 25 December 1940, but little damage was inflicted by Admiral Hipper before she was driven off by the escorts. No air strike could be flown against the German cruiser because the Swordfish were embarked in Argus with bombs that they could not carry and their torpedoes were aboard Furious. After Furious’s Skuas had flown off to search for Hipper, space was made to land the Swordfish to load the torpedoes, but the Skuas could not locate Admiral Hipper because of the poor visibility. Furious reached Takoradi on 10 January 1941 arriving back in Britain on 5 February 1941 where she was given a brief refit. She made another ferry trip to Takoradi on 4 March, carrying 12 Fairey Fulmars of 807 Squadron and six Swordfish of 825 Squadron for self-defence.
Furious now had a new destination for her ferry trips and she transported 24 Hurricanes to Gibraltar on 25 April where they were transferred to Ark Royal to be flown off for Malta. She sailed for a brief refit at Belfast immediately afterwards. While in Belfast she was hit by one small bomb and near-missed by two others during a German air raid in early May, but was only lightly damaged. The ship loaded another batch of 40 Hurricane IIs, plus nine Fulmars from ‘X’ Flight of 800 Squadron in Liverpool, and arrived back in Gibraltar on 18 May. Some of these fighters were moved to Ark Royal via planks between the flight decks of the carriers berthed stern to stern. This time she accompanied Ark Royal and the two carriers flew off their fighters from a position south of Sardinia. Furious loaded 48 more Hurricane IIs and arrived back in Gibraltar on 1 June where some of the fighters were transferred to Ark Royal. The two carriers departed Gibraltar on 4 June and flew off 44 of the 48 fighters. Furious returned to the Clyde for her biggest load of aircraft yet, 64 Hurricanes, leaving room for only nine Swordfish from 816 Squadron on this voyage. Upon her arrival on 25 June she transferred 22 Hurricanes to Ark Royal and that carrier flew them off to Malta the next day. Of the 42 Hurricanes left on Furious, 26 were moved to Ark Royal when she returned on 28 June. This time, however, both carriers sailed to deliver the fighters to their usual take-off point west of Sicily. The tenth of Furious’s aircraft to take off crashed into her island, killing 14 men and starting a serious fire on the flight deck. The blocked flight deck forced the remaining six Hurricanes to remain on board and they were returned to Gibraltar. Furious exchanged 816 Squadron for 818 from Ark Royal, then departed for home.
In July, Furious embarked nine Fulmars of 800 Squadron, ‘A’ Flight of 880 Squadron with four Sea Hurricane IBs, nine Swordfish from 812 Squadron and nine Albacores of 817 Squadron to attack the German-occupied ports of Kirkenes, Norway, and Petsamo, Finland, departing Scapa Flow on the 23rd in company with the carrier Victorious, two cruisers and six destroyers. The two carriers and their escorts gathered in Seidisfjord, Iceland, under the command of Rear Admiral Wake-Walker where they refuelled in late July. Furious attacked ships in Petsamo on 30 July with all her Swordfish and Albacores, escorted by six Fulmars and all four Sea Hurricanes, but there was very little shipping present. One small ship, MV Trotter, was sunk, several oil storage tanks were set afire, and several wooden jetties were torpedoed. The British ships had been spotted before the attack and two Fulmars and an Albacore were shot down by the alerted defences. Furious was short of fuel and had to leave shortly afterwards, but she transferred her Albacores to Victorious to fill up that carrier’s decimated squadrons before she left. Sea Hurricanes of 880 Squadron shot down a shadowing Dornier Do 18 flying boat on 31 July as the ship was leaving.
On 30 August, Furious left Belfast with a load of 49 Hurricanes, carrying three Fulmars of 800 Squadron and four Sea Hurricane IBs of 880A Squadron for self-defence, and nine Swordfish of 812 Squadron for Ark Royal. She arrived in Gibraltar on 6 September and transferred 40 Hurricanes to the other carrier the next day. Ark Royal sailed for the departure point the following day, but could only fly off 14 Hurricanes because some of the Bristol Blenheim bombers used to guide the fighters to Malta failed to make their rendezvous. When Ark Royal returned, she transferred the six Swordfish of 810 Squadron to Furious and both carriers departed that same day to deliver the Hurricanes. This was Furious’s last ferry mission as she was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a lengthy refit. She arrived on 7 October and did not return to the United Kingdom until April 1942.
Furious spent the next three months after her return working up. In August, she was detailed to accompany the convoy bound for Malta in Operation Pedestal, but she was only to sail far enough with them to allow her 38 Supermarine Spitfires to reach Malta. This she did, just as Eagle was torpedoed, but Furious turned around after flying off her fighters and reached Gibraltar successfully. She loaded another batch of 32 Spitfires on 16 August and they were flown off the following day southeast of the Balearic Islands. After this mission, Furious was sent back to the Home Fleet for training. One last mission was necessary to reinforce the defences of Malta before Operation Torch and the ship arrived at Gibraltar on 27 October. She loaded 32 Spitfires and launched them on 29 August before returning to Gibraltar and being assigned to Force H.
As part of Operation Torch, Furious embarked 12 Supermarine Seafire IBs of 801 Squadron, another 12 Seafire IICs of 807 Squadron and nine Albacores of 822 Squadron to provide air cover for the amphibious landings by the Central Task Force. On the morning of 8 November, Furious’s Seafires strafed the Vichy French airfield at Tafraoui, destroying three aircraft on the ground and shooting down one Dewoitine D.520 fighter, the first air-to-air kill by a Seafire. Eight Albacores, escorted by Sea Hurricanes from two escort carriers, attacked the field at La Senia. They were attacked by D.520s as they began their attack dive, but they destroyed 47 aircraft on the ground despite the loss of an Albacore from anti-aircraft fire and the loss of three and damage to two more against the French fighters. Seafires of 807 Squadron from Furious covered the landings at Oran, engaging a flight of D.520s, shooting down three and destroying about twenty aircraft on the ground.
Furious remained with Force H until February 1943 before transferring to the Home Fleet where she remained for the rest of the war. In July, the fleet demonstrated off the coast of Norway in strength to distract attention from the Allied invasion of Sicily; Furious’s role was to allow a German reconnaissance aircraft to spot the British ships and make a report, then shoot it down. She was refitted in August and spent the rest of the year training. During the passage of Convoy JW 57 from the UK to Russia in February 1944, Furious, escorted by the British battleship Anson and the French battleship Richelieu, attacked German shipping off the Norwegian coast on 24 February 1944. The carrier had the Seafire IBs of 801 Squadron aboard, plus the Fairey Barracuda torpedo bombers of 827 Squadron and 830 Squadrons. No aircraft were lost and a beached freighter was destroyed.
In preparation for Operation Tungsten, an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz, Furious and Victorious exchanged Barracuda squadrons, 827 for 831 Squadron, so that the squadrons that trained together could fly together. Furious also embarked 880 Squadron with eight Seafire L.IIC fighters to reinforce the six Seafire IBs of 801 Squadron. On the morning of 3 April 1944, 21 Barracudas of 827 and 830 Squadrons made the first attack just as the Tirpitz was getting under way for sea trials. The Germans were caught entirely by surprise and the Tirpitz’s smokescreen was only just beginning to form. The British aircraft enjoyed a clear view of their target and hit the German battleship six times. An hour later, the second wave of 19 Barracudas from 829 and 831 Squadrons arrived and scored eight more hits. Only one Barracuda was shot down from each wave and another crashed on take-off. 801 and 880 Squadrons were retained for fleet air defence during the operation. Tirpitz’s superstructure and upper hull was moderately damaged by the bombs, but her machinery was intact because the Barracuda pilots pressed home their attack below the 3,000-foot (910 m) altitude necessary to give their 1,600-pound (730 kg) armour-piercing bombs enough velocity to penetrate Tirpitz’s main armoured deck. Nonetheless Tirpitz was under repair for three months.
The Home Fleet tried another attack on Tirpitz later on 23 April 1944, but bad weather prevented any attack from being made that day and for the next several days. Instead, the aircraft attempted to attack installations at Bodø on 26 April 1944, but found a German convoy instead and sank three ships. Furious and the escort carrier Searcher attacked shipping in the vicinity of Kristiansund and sank the ore carrier Almora and the tanker Saarburg for the loss of two aircraft on 6 May 1944. Another attack on Tirpitz by the Home Fleet had to be abandoned on 15 May 1944 because of poor weather. Yet another attempt on 28 May was foiled by bad weather, but a German convoy was successfully attacked on 1 June 1944. One ammunition ship was sunk and two others were set on fire.
Furious and the fleet carriers Formidable and Indefatigable made another attempt to sink the Tirpitz on 17 July 1944, in Operation Mascot. For this attack, the carrier embarked 880 Squadron with three Seafire L.IICs, 20 Grumman Hellcats of 1840 Squadron, Barracudas of 830 Squadron and three Swordfish of 842 Flight. The Barracudas, heavily loaded with bombs of up to 1,600-pound (730 kg), launched using a wooden ramp that was temporarily placed at the end of the flight deck, an early example of what was to be later named the ski-jump. The attack was unsuccessful against the fully alerted German defences as a smokescreen covered the German battleship so the Barracudas had to drop their bombs blindly through the smoke. Four more attacks on Tirpitz were made in August 1944 under the name of Operation Goodwood in a concerted effort to sink her. Furious carried twelve Seafire F.IIIs of 801 Squadron, another twelve Seafire L.IICs of 880 Squadron and nine Barracudas of 827 Squadron for this operation. The first attack on 20 August 1944 was recalled because of bad weather, but the attack on 22 August 1944 was spotted by the Germans and 11 aircraft were lost. Another attack was made two days later; one armour-piercing bomb penetrated Tirpitz’s armoured deck but failed to detonate, and another 500-pound (230 kg) bomb did only superficial damage. A fourth attack was made on 29 August, but inflicted no damage.
By this time, the ship’s age and limitations became increasingly apparent and she was placed in reserve on 15 September 1944. The ship was paid off in April 1945 being berthed at Loch Striven, was used to evaluate the effects of aircraft explosives on the ship’s structure. Furious was sold in 1948 for scrap, and had been completely broken up in Troon by 1954.
HMS Canopus was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy and the lead ship of the Canopus class. Intended for service in Asia, Canopus and her sister ships were smaller and faster than the preceding Majestic-class battleships, but retained the same battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) guns. She also carried thinner armour, but incorporated new Krupp steel, which was more effective than the Harvey armour used in the Majestics. Canopus was laid down in January 1897, launched in October that year, and commissioned into the fleet in December 1899.
Canopus served in the Mediterranean Fleet upon commissioning until 1903, when she was decommissioned for refitting. In 1905, she was sent to East Asia, but the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance that year rendered her presence in Asian waters unnecessary. She instead returned to Britain and served with several fleet commands in British waters, including the Atlantic Fleet, the Channel Fleet, and finally the Home Fleet. Another short deployment to the Mediterranean followed in 1908–1909. Upon returning to Britain, she was placed in reserve.
At the beginning of the First World War in August 1914, she was mobilised for service in the South America Station, where she patrolled for German commerce raiders. She was involved in the search for the German East Asia Squadron of Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee. Too slow to follow Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock’s cruisers, she missed the Battle of Coronel in November 1914, where Cradock was defeated. Moored at Port Stanley as a defensive battery, she fired the first shots of the Battle of the Falklands in December, which led Spee to break off the attack before being chased down and destroyed by Admiral Doveton Sturdee’s battlecruisers.
Canopus was transferred to the Mediterranean in early 1915 for the Dardanelles Campaign. She participated in major attacks on the Ottoman coastal fortifications defending the Dardanelles in March 1915, but the British and French fleets proved incapable of forcing the straits. After the Gallipoli Campaign ended with the withdrawal of Allied forces in January 1916, Canopus patrolled the eastern Mediterranean, but saw no further action. She was removed from service in April 1916 and was converted into a barracks ship in early 1918. After the war, the ship was broken up in 1920.
Canopus and her five sister ships were designed for service in East Asia, where the new rising power Japan was beginning to build a powerful navy, though this role was quickly made redundant by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902. The ships were designed to be smaller, lighter and faster than their predecessors, the Majestic-class battleships. Canopus was 421 feet 6 inches (128.47 m) long overall, with a beam of 74 ft (23 m) and a draft of 26 ft 2 in (7.98 m). She displaced 13,150 long tons (13,360 t) normally and up to 14,300 long tons (14,500 t) fully loaded. Her crew numbered 682 officers and ratings.
The Canopus-class ships were powered by a pair of 3-cylinder triple-expansion engines, with steam provided by twenty Belleville boilers. They were the first British battleships with water-tube boilers, which generated more power at less expense in weight compared with the fire-tube boilers used in previous ships. The new boilers led to the adoption of fore-and-aft funnels, rather than the side-by-side funnel arrangement used in many previous British battleships. The Canopus-class ships proved to be good steamers, with a high speed for battleships of their time—18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) from 13,500 indicated horsepower (10,100 kW)—a full two knots faster than the Majestics.
Canopus had a main battery of four 12-inch (305 mm) 35-calibre guns mounted in twin-gun turrets fore and aft; these guns were mounted in circular barbettes that allowed all-around loading, although at a fixed elevation. The ships also mounted a secondary battery of twelve 6-inch (152 mm) 40-calibre guns mounted in casemates, in addition to ten 12-pounder guns and six 3-pounder guns for defence against torpedo boats. As was customary for battleships of the period, she was also equipped with four 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull, two on each broadside near the forward and aft barbette.
To save weight, Canopus carried less armour than the Majestics—6 inches (152 mm) in the belt compared to 9 in (229 mm)—although the change from Harvey armour in the Majestics to Krupp armour in Canopus meant that the loss in protection was not as great as it might have been, Krupp armour having greater protective value at a given weight than its Harvey equivalent. Similarly, the other armour used to protect the ship could also be thinner; the bulkheads on either end of the belt were 6 to 10 in (152 to 254 mm) thick. The main battery turrets were 10 in thick, atop 12 in (305 mm) barbettes, and the casemate battery was protected with 6 in of Krupp steel. Her conning tower had 12 in thick sides as well. She was fitted with two armoured decks, 1 and 2 in (25 and 51 mm) thick, respectively.
Canopus’s keel was laid down at Portsmouth Dockyard on 4 January 1897. The ship was launched on 12 October 1897, and completed on 5 December 1899. She was named after the ancient city of Canopus, Egypt, where the Battle of the Nile took place. Canopus was commissioned by captain Wilmot Fawkes at Portsmouth on 5 December 1899 for service in the Mediterranean Fleet. Captain Harry Seawell Niblett was appointed in command in November 1900, and she underwent a refit at Malta from December 1900 to June 1901. In May 1902 she visited Palermo to attend festivities in connection with the opening of an Agricultural Exhibition by King Victor Emmanuel, and the following month saw her visiting Larnaka. Captain Philip Francis Tillard was appointed in command on 1 December 1902, and she ended her Mediterranean service in April the following year, and paid off into the Reserve at Portsmouth on 25 April 1903. While in reserve, Canopus was given an extensive refit by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead that lasted from May 1903 to June 1904. Returning to the commissioned Reserve at Portsmouth, she was rammed by the battleship HMS Barfleur in Mount’s Bay during manoeuvres on 5 August 1904, suffering slight damage.
Canopus returned to full commission on 9 May 1905 and relieved the battleship HMS Centurion on the China Station. She had reached Colombo, Ceylon on her outbound voyage when the United Kingdom and Japan ratified a treaty of alliance. The alliance meant that the United Kingdom could have a reduced presence on the China Station and battleships were no longer required there, so Canopus was recalled from Colombo in June 1905 and thus was the only Canopus-class battleship which did not serve on the China Station. Upon her return to the United Kingdom, Canopus began service in the Atlantic Fleet on 22 July 1905. In January 1906 she transferred to the Channel Fleet and later that year was fitted with fire control. On 10 March 1907, she transferred to the Portsmouth Division of the Home Fleet at Portsmouth, where she was reduced to a nucleus crew in May 1907 and underwent a refit between November 1907 and April 1908. Her refit completed, Canopus commissioned on 28 April 1908 for service in the Mediterranean Fleet. In December 1909, she was reduced to service in the 4th Division, Home Fleet, undergoing a refit at Chatham Dockyard from July 1911 to April 1912 during this service. In May 1912 she went into reserve at the Nore to serve as the parent ship for the 4th Division, Home Fleet. In 1913 and 1914 she was stationed at Pembroke Dock in Wales as part of the 3rd Fleet. The ships of the 3rd Fleet, though on the active list, were effectively in reserve, as they had small caretaker crews that would be completed only in the event of war.
First World War
Canopus in WW1
After the First World War broke out in August 1914, Canopus was commissioned on 7 August 1914, for service in the 8th Battle Squadron in the Channel Fleet, under the command of Captain Heathcoat Grant. She was detached from that duty on 21 August 1914 to operate from the Cape Verde-Canary Islands Station to support the cruiser squadron there. In early September, her sister ship HMS Albion relieved her and Canopus transferred to the South America Station to become guard ship there and provide support to the cruiser squadron of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock. While en route, Canopus nearly encountered the German light cruiser Karlsruhe off Brazil, but the German ship intercepted British radio signals before Canopus could locate her.
South Seas Station
Canopus departed the Abrolhos Rocks on 8 October 1914 to assist Cradock’s ships in searching for the German East Asia Squadron of Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee, which was en route to the South Atlantic from the Far East. Canopus arrived at Stanley in the Falkland Islands on 18 October 1914, where she took up guard ship and escort duties. Cradock had initially intended to take Canopus with his squadron, which consisted of the armoured cruisers Good Hope and Monmouth, the light cruiser Glasgow and the auxiliary cruiser Otranto, but her late arrival, coupled with the fact that she required an overhaul upon arriving in the Falklands, forced Cradock to proceed without her. In addition, Canopus could make no more than 12 knots (22 km/h), which would have made it difficult for Cradock to force the East Asia Squadron into battle. Cradock ordered Canopus to join him when possible, though he intended to use her only to protect his colliers. On 27 October, Cradock detached his light cruiser Glasgow to Coronel to gather intelligence, and the next day ordered Canopus to bring the colliers to the Juan Fernández Islands, where his squadron would replenish its fuel. Glasgow arrived in Coronel on 31 October, but departed too early on 1 November to receive an order from the First Sea Lord that Cradock should not risk engaging Spee’s squadron without Canopus.
Canopus was still some 300 nautical miles (560 km) south of Cradock when he encountered Spee’s squadron, and the German ships were faster than the British cruisers, preventing Cradock from rejoining Canopus. In the ensuing Battle of Coronel, the East Asia Squadron sank both of Cradock’s armoured cruisers and damaged Glasgow; by the time Cradock was defeated, Canopus was still 250 nautical miles (460 km) away. Glasgow and Otranto escaped to the south and rendezvoused with Canopus. Spee broke off the pursuit of the fleeing British ships when he became aware that Canopus was in the area, writing the following day that, “against this ship, we can hardly do anything. If they had kept their forces together we should most likely have come off second best.” Shortly after news of the battle reached Britain, the Royal Navy ordered all naval forces in the region to consolidate; this included the remnants of Cradock’s command, along with the armoured cruisers Defence, Carnarvon, and Cornwall. In addition, a pair of battlecruisers—Invincible and Inflexible—were detached from the Grand Fleet to hunt down and destroy Spee’s squadron.
Canopus was ordered to return to the Falklands and place herself in Stanley to guard the port on 9 November. She arrived three days later, and began to make preparations for the defence of the harbour. At Stanley, Canopus’s crew set up defences against an attack by Graf Spee. Canopus herself was beached in the mudflats in a position that allowed her to cover the entrance to the harbour and have a field of fire landward to the southeast; to reduce her visibility, her topmasts were struck and she was camouflaged. An observation post was established ashore on high ground and connected to the ship by telephone, allowing Canopus to use indirect fire against approaching ships. Some of her 12-pounder guns and a detachment of seventy Royal Marines were put ashore to defend Stanley and its environs. On 25 November, Canopus intercepted a radio message that indicated that Spee’s squadron had rounded Cape Horn, though the message was erroneous; Spee actually made the passage on the night of 1–2 December. By 4 December, Canopus’s crew had completed their preparations.
On 7 December, the main British squadron, commanded by Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee, arrived in Stanley and began coaling, with the intention of departing two days later to search for Spee. Instead, on the morning of 8 December, the German squadron arrived off Stanley; at 07:50, lookouts aboard Canopus raised the alarm. Shortly after 09:00, by which time the German cruisers—Gneisenau and Nürnberg—had approached to within 11,000 yards (10,000 m) , Canopus fired two salvos, both of which fell short. Observers stated that fragments from the second salvo hit one of Gneisenau’s funnels, though according to modern historians, including Robert Gardiner and Randal Gray, Hew Strachan, and Paul Halpern, Canopus made no hits with either salvo. Under fire from Canopus and spotting the tripod masts of Sturdee’s battlecruisers, Spee called off his force’s planned attack on the Falklands. At 09:31, Canopus ceased firing, as the Germans had begun to withdraw. Sturdee’s battlecruisers, much faster than Spee’s ships, eventually caught and destroyed the East Asia Squadron, with the exception of the light cruiser SMS Dresden, which was able to outrun the British pursuers. Canopus, still moored in the mud, remained behind at Stanley and missed the rest of the battle. Canopus left the Falklands on 18 December 1914 to return to her South American Station duties at the Abrolhos Rocks.
In February 1915, Canopus transferred to the Mediterranean to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. On 2 March 1915, she took part in the second attack on the Ottoman Turkish entrance forts at the Dardanelles. During this operation, she led the 4th Sub-Division, which also included the pre-dreadnoughts Cornwallis and Swiftsure. Canopus and Swiftsure were tasked with suppressing the guns in the fortress at Dardanus while Cornwallis would engage minor batteries at Intepe and Erenköy. Canopus and Swiftsure entered the straits at 13:20 and closed to within 1,000 yards (910 m) of the north shore, where at 14:20 they opened fire at the fortress on the other side of the straits, some 7,500 yards (6,900 m) away. The ships fired for about two hours before the Ottomans inside Dardanus returned fire at 16:15, which they did quite accurately, straddling Canopus quickly and scoring a hit on her quarterdeck that damaged a wardroom. A second shell knocked down her topmast and a third holed her after funnel, exploded, and rained fragments on two of her boats.
The heavy Ottoman fire forced Canopus and Swiftsure to withdraw from their bombardment position, though this placed them in range of the guns at Erenköy as well, while those at Dardanus could still engage them. Cornwallis, having silenced the guns at Intepe, started shelling Erenköy, while Canopus and Swiftsure kept their fire on Dardanus. The Ottomans repeatedly straddled the three battleships, but being further out in the strait, they had more room to manoeuvre and so avoided any direct hits. By 16:40, the guns at Dardanus fell silent, allowing all three ships to concentrate their fire at Erenköy, where the batteries were quickly neutralised. The three ships then withdrew, seemingly having achieved their objective, though that night, when destroyers and minesweepers tried to clear the minefields blocking the straits, they were met with very heavy fire and were forced to withdraw. During the third landings on 4 March 1915, she demonstrated off the Aegean coast to keep Ottoman ground forces tied down.
She covered the bombardment of the forts by the superdreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth on 8 March, and covered minesweepers attempting to sweep in minefields off Kephes on 10 March. During the operation on the 10th, she, the protected cruiser Amethyst, and several destroyers covered a force of minesweepers. Canopus attempted to destroy the searchlights for the Ottoman coastal guns but failed to knock them out. As a result, when the minesweepers tried to clear the mines, they came under intense fire and had to retreat, one of them striking a mine in the chaos. She also took part in the major attack on the Narrows forts on 18 March 1915. During the 18 March attack, a fleet of British and French warships—including Queen Elizabeth and the battlecruiser Inflexible—would attempt to suppress the forts in daylight, allowing the minesweepers to finally clear the fields unmolested by Ottoman fire. The British ships initially succeeded in inflicting heavy damage on the fortresses, but the battleship Agamemnon and then Inflexible began taking serious damage from the coastal batteries. The French battleships also began to take damage, and the battleship Bouvet struck a mine and exploded.
The French ships began to retreat, but Canopus and the other British battleships continued the bombardment. Shortly thereafter, Inflexible struck a mine and was badly damaged but managed to withdraw. The battleships Irresistible and Ocean also struck mines and both sank, forcing the British to break off the attack. After that attack, Canopus and protected cruiser HMS Talbot escorted the damaged Inflexible from Mudros to Malta on 6 April. In heavy weather and with Inflexible nearly foundering, Canopus had to take the crippled battlecruiser under tow, stern first, during the last six hours of the voyage on 10 April. Returning to the Dardanelles, Canopus took part in the blockade of Smyrna and covered a diversionary attack on Bulair during the main landings on 25 April 1915. She supported Anzac forces ashore in May, including during a strong Ottoman counterattack on 19 May. When her sister ship Albion became stranded on a sandbank off Gaba Tepe under heavy fire on 22–23 May 1915, Canopus towed her free. On 25 May, Canopus withdrew to Mudros and while leaving the Dardanelles, encountered the German U-boat SM U-21, which went on to sink the battleship Triumph later that day. Canopus then underwent a refit at Malta from May to June 1915.
After the Dardanelles campaign ended with the evacuation of Allied forces from Gallipoli in January 1916, Canopus was assigned to the British Eastern Mediterranean Squadron, where she served until she returned to the United Kingdom in April 1916. Canopus arrived at Plymouth on 22 April 1916, then paid off at Chatham to provide crews for antisubmarine vessels. She remained at Chatham until April 1916, undergoing a refit there later in 1916, having her eight main-deck 6-inch (152 mm) guns replaced by four on the battery deck and her 12-pounder and 3-pounder guns replaced by light antiaircraft weapons in 1917, and becoming an accommodation ship in February 1918. Canopus was placed on the disposal list at Chatham in April 1919. She was sold for scrapping on 18 February 1920 and arrived at Dover on 26 February 1920 to be scrapped
HMS Monmouth was the name ship of her class of 10 armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ships were also known as the County Cruisers (each being named after a British county).
She was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet upon completion in 1903. She was transferred to the China Station in 1906, and remained there until she returned home in 1913 and was assigned to the reserve Third Fleet. When World War I began in August 1914, the ship was recommissioned and assigned to the 5th Cruiser Squadron in the Central Atlantic to search for German commerce raiders and protect Allied shipping. She was detached upon arrival to patrol the Brazilian coast for German ships, and was later ordered to the South Atlantic to join Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock’s squadron in their search for the German East Asia Squadron. He found the German squadron on 1 November off the coast of Chile. The German squadron outnumbered Cradock’s force and were individually more powerful; they sank Cradock’s two armoured cruisers in the Battle of Coronel. Monmouth was lost with all hands.
Design and description
The Monmouths were intended to protect British merchant shipping from fast cruisers like the French Guichen, Châteaurenault or the Dupleix class. The ships were designed to displace 9,800 long tons (10,000 t). They had an overall length of 463 feet 6 inches (141.3 m), a beam of 66 feet (20.1 m) and a deep draught of 25 feet (7.6 m). They were powered by two 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft using steam provided by 31 Belleville boilers. The engines produced a total of 22,000 indicated horsepower (16,000 kW) which was designed to give the ships a maximum speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph). Monmouth, however, was one of three of the ships of the class that failed to meet their designed speed. She carried a maximum of 1,600 long tons (1,600 t) of coal and her complement consisted of 678 officers and ratings.
The Monmouth-class ships’ main armament consisted of fourteen breech-loading (BL) 6-inch (152 mm) Mk VII guns. Four of these guns were mounted in two twin-gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure, and the others were positioned in casemates amidships. Six of these were mounted on the main deck and were only usable in calm weather. Ten quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder (3-inch (76 mm)) 12-cwt guns were fitted for defence against torpedo boats. Monmouth also carried three 3-pounder 1.9 in (47 mm) Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.
The ship’s waterline armour belt was four inches (102 mm) thick amidships and two-inch (51 mm) forward. The armour of the gun turrets, their barbettes and the casemates was four inches thick. The protective deck armour ranged in thickness from 0.75–2 inches (19–51 mm) and the conning tower was protected by ten inches (254 mm) of armour.
Construction and service
Monmouth, named for the Welsh county, was laid down by London and Glasgow Shipbuilding at their shipyard in Govan on 29 August 1899, and launched on 13 November 1901. Her completion was delayed due to a collision with the liner Assyria in Glasgow harbour in late March 1902. She arrived at Devonport in late August that year for trials, but was not finally completed and accepted until 2 December 1903, when she was initially assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet. She was briefly placed in reserve in Devonport at the end of January 1906, before being recommissioned in April for service on the China Station. During 1913 Monmouth paid a courtesy visit to the German treaty port of Tsingtao on the Chinese Mainland. Later in the same year she returned home and was assigned to the reserve Third Fleet.
She was mobilised on 4 August with a crew that mostly consisted of reservists, and sent to the 5th Cruiser Squadron of Rear Admiral Archibald Stoddart on the Cape Verde – Canary Islands station. Upon her arrival on 13 August, Stoddart detached her to the Brazilian coast to search for the German light cruisers known to be in the area. She came under Cradock’s command in mid-September. At the end of September, Cradock made his first fruitless search of the Tierra del Fuego area and later detached Monmouth and two other ships to search up the Chilean coast, reaching Valparaiso on 15 October, while his flagship, Good Hope returned to Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, to recoal and to reestablish communications with the Admiralty. He received word on 7 October that German Vice Admiral Spee’s ships were definitely bound for the Cape Horn region and waited for the elderly predreadnought battleship Canopus to reinforce his squadron. She was in poor mechanical condition when she arrived at Port Stanley and required time to make repairs. Good Hope sailed on 22 October without her, going around Cape Horn, while Canopus and three colliers departed the following day, taking the shorter route through the Strait of Magellan.
Battle of Coronel
Good Hope rendezvoused with the rest of the squadron at Vallenar Roads, in the remote Chonos Archipelago of Chile on 27 October to recoal. They departed two days later, just as Canopus arrived, Cradock ordering the battleship to follow as soon as possible. He sent the light cruiser Glasgow to scout ahead and to enter Coronel, Chile to pick up any messages from the Admiralty and acquire intelligence regarding German activities. The cruiser began to pick up German radio signals from the light cruiser SMS Leipzig on the afternoon of 29 October, and delayed entering Coronel for two days with Cradock’s permission to avoid being trapped by the fast German ships. A German supply ship was already there and radioed Spee that Glasgow had entered the harbour around twilight. The cruiser departed on the morning of 1 November, but Spee had already made plans to catch her when informed of her presence the previous evening.
Glasgow departed Coronel at 09:15 after having picked up the squadron’s mail, and rendezvoused with the rest of the squadron four hours later. Cradock ordered his ships to form line abreast with a distance of 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) between ships to maximise visibility at 13:50 and steered north at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). At 16:17 Leipzig spotted Glasgow, the easternmost British ship, to its west and she spotted Leipzig’s funnel smoke three minutes later. At 17:10 Cradock ordered his ships to head for Glasgow, the closest ship to the Germans. Once gathered together, he formed them into line astern, with Good Hope in the lead, steering southeasterly at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) at 18:18. As the sixteen 21-centimetre (8.3 in) guns aboard the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were only matched by the two 9.2-inch guns on his flagship, he needed to close the range to bring his more numerous 6-inch guns to bear. The Force 7 winds and high seas, however, prevented the use of half of those guns as they were too close to the water. He also wanted to use the setting sun to his advantage so that its light would blind the German gunners. Spee was well aware of the British advantages and refused to allow Cradock to close the range. His ships were faster than the British, slowed by the 16-knot maximum speed of the armed merchant cruiser Otranto, and he opened up the range to 18,000 yards (16,000 m) until conditions changed to suit him. The sun set at 18:50, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them.
Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04, when the range closed to 12,300 yards (11,200 m). Spee’s flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau fired at Monmouth. The German shooting was very accurate, with both armoured cruisers quickly scoring hits on their British counterparts while still outside six-inch gun range, starting fires on both ships. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee’s ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. One shell from Gneisenau blew the roof off Monmouth’s forward turret and started a fire, causing an ammunition explosion that completely blew the turret off the ship. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards (5,000 m) away at 19:35. Severely damaged, Monmouth began to slow and veered out of line.
Glasgow fought almost an entirely separate battle as the German armoured cruisers ignored her almost completely and she inconclusively dueled the light cruisers Leipzig and Dresden. Glasgow broke contact with the German squadron at 20:05 and discovered Monmouth, listing and down by the bow, having extinguished her fires, 10 minutes later. She was trying to turn north to put her stern to the heavy northerly swell and was taking water at the bow. There was little that Glasgow could do to assist the larger ship as the moonlight illuminated both ships and the Germans were searching for them.
The light cruiser Nürnberg had been trailing the German squadron and spotted the plume of smoke from Glasgow at 20:35, and then saw Monmouth with a 10-degree list to port shortly afterwards. As Nürnberg closed the range, Monmouth’s list increased so that none of the guns on her port side could be used. The German cruiser closed to within 600 yards (550 m) and illuminated her flag with its spotlight in the hopes that she would strike her colours and surrender. There was no response from the British ship and Nürnberg opened fire at 21:20, aiming high, but there was still no response. The German ship then fired a torpedo which missed and turned off its searchlight. Monmouth then increased speed and turned towards Nürnberg, which caused her to open fire again. Monmouth capsized at 21:58, taking her entire crew of 734 men with her as the seas were too rough to attempt any rescue effort.
HMS Sandfly was an Acheron-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that served during World War I and was sold for breaking in 1921. She was the seventh Royal Navy ship to be named after the small biting fly of the same name.
She was built under the 1910-11 shipbuilding programme by Swan Hunter of Wallsend. She had three Parsons turbines, and three Yarrows boilers. Capable of 28 knots, she carried two 4-inch guns, other smaller guns and two 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes and had a complement of 72 men. She was launched on 9 July 1911.
Sandfly served with the First Destroyer Flotilla from 1911 and, with her flotilla, joined the British Grand Fleet in 1914 on the outbreak of World War I.
The Battle of Heligoland Bight
She was present on 28 August 1914 at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, detached from the First Destroyer Flotilla along with Badger, Beaver and Jackal. She shared in the prize money for the engagement.
The Battle of Dogger Bank
On 24 January 1915, the First Destroyer Flotilla, including Sandfly, were present at the Battle of Dogger Bank, led by the light cruiser HMS Aurora. Her crew shared in the prize money for the German armoured cruiser SMS Blücher.
Transfer to Third Battle Squadron
Sandfly was one of seven destroyers to go with the First Destroyer Flotilla when it was transferred from the Grand Fleet to screen the Third Battle Squadron in November 1916.
Conversion to minelayer
In 1917 the Acheron-class destroyers Ferret, Sandfly and Ariel were converted to minelaying destroyers, capable of carrying 40 mines. Sandfly served with the 20th Flotilla, and operated out of Immingham.
On 31 August 1917 Sandfly went to the aid of SS Miniota of the Canadian Pacific Line when she was torpedoed by SM U-19 30 nautical miles (56 km) off Start Point. Miniota was badly holed and sinking by the bow, which made her difficult to tow, and when efforts to tow her into Portland Harbour failed, she sank in 68 metres (37 fathoms) of water.
In common with the survivors of her class, she was laid up after World War I, and on 9 May 1921 she was sold to Thos. W. Ward for scrap.
HMS Bullfinch was a three-funnel, 30-knot destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1896–1897 Naval Estimates. She was the third ship to carry this name since it was introduced in 1857 for a 4-gun wooden-screw gunboat.
Bullfinch was laid down on 17 September 1896, at the Earle’s Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited shipyard at Hull, Yorkshire, and launched on 10 February 1898. During her trials while steaming at 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) she suffered a major accident in which the connecting rod to the high-pressure cylinder broke and released steam into the forward engine room. Eight individuals were killed and six were injured. The broken connecting rod punctured the hull, and Lieutenant F.G. Dineley (in command during trials) ordered the use of collision mats to stem the intake of water and she was able to make port. The destroyer was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in June 1901.
After commissioning Bullfinch was assigned to the Channel Fleet. Commander Brian Barttelot was appointed in command on 24 February 1902, and she was assigned to the Portsmouth instructional flotilla. In May 1902 she towed her sister ship HMS Dove to Queenstown, after the latter had struck a rock off Kildorney.
She spent her operational career mainly in Home Waters operating with the Channel Fleet as part of the Devonport Flotilla.
On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter ‘A’. Since her design speed was 30 knots and she had three funnels, she was assigned to the C class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as a C-class destroyer and had the letter ‘C’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.
World War I
In July 1914 Bullfinch was in active commission in the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at Devonport tendered to Leander, destroyer depot ship to the 7th Flotilla. In September 1914 the 7th Flotilla was redeployed to the Humber River. She remained in this deployment until the cessation of hostilities. Her employment within the Humber Patrol included anti-submarine and counter-mining patrols. On 15 August 1914, she was involved in a collision in British waters, with the loss of four stokers.
In 1919 Bullfinch was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 10 June 1919 to Young of Sunderland for breaking.
HMS Cambrian was a C-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy during World War I. She was the name ship of her sub-class of four ships. Assigned to the Grand Fleet upon completion in 1916, the ship played only a small role during the war. Cambrian was assigned to the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets during the 1920s and was sent to support British interests in Turkey during the Chanak Crisis of 1922–1923. The ship was placed in reserve in late 1929. She was sold for scrap in 1934.
The C-class cruisers were intended to escort the fleet and defend it against enemy destroyers attempting to close within torpedo range. Ordered as part of the 1914–15 Naval Programme, the Cambrian sub-class were a slightly larger and improved version of the preceding Calliope sub-class; Cambrian, the last ship of her sub-class to be completed, differed from her sister ships as she had a more powerful armament. The ships were 446 feet (135.9 m) long overall, with a beam of 41 feet 6 inches (12.6 m) and a mean draught of 14 feet 10 inches (4.5 m). Displacement was 4,320 long tons (4,390 t) at normal and 4,799 long tons (4,876 t) at deep load. Cambrian was powered by four direct-drive Parsons steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, which produced a total of 40,000 indicated horsepower (30,000 kW). The turbines used steam generated by six Yarrow boilers which gave her a speed of 28.5 knots (52.8 km/h; 32.8 mph). She carried 841 long tons (854 t) tons of fuel oil. The ship had a crew of 368 officers and ratings.
Cambrian’s main armament consisted of three BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XII guns that were mounted on the centreline. One gun was forward of the bridge and the last two were in the stern, with one gun superfiring over the rearmost gun. Her secondary armament consisted of six QF 4 in (102 mm) Mk IV guns, three on each side, one pair abaft the bridge on the forecastle deck and the other two pairs one deck lower amidships. For anti-aircraft defence, she was fitted with one QF 4 in (102 mm) Mk V gun. The ship also mounted two submerged 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes, one on each broadside. The Cambrians were protected by a waterline belt amidships that ranged in thickness from 1.5–3 inches (38–76 mm) with a 1-inch (25 mm) deck. The walls of their conning tower were 6 inches thick.
During 1917–18, her pole foremast was replaced by a tripod mast that was fitted with a gunnery director. In January 1919, Cambrian had her 4-inch guns removed and an additional 6-inch gun added abaft the funnels. At the same time, her AA gun was replaced by a pair of QF 3 in (76 mm) 20-cwt anti-aircraft guns. Sometime between 1919 and 1924 the ship received a pair of 2-pounder (40 mm) Mk II “pom-pom” guns on single mounts.
Construction and career
Cambrian, the fourth ship of her name in the Royal Navy, was laid down by Pembroke Dockyard in Pembroke Dock, Wales, on 8 December 1914, launched on 3 March 1916, and completed in May 1916. She was commissioned into service that same month and was assigned to the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet in which she served through the end of World War I and until 1919. The squadron was generally tasked with screening the battleships of the Grand Fleet during the war. The ship did not participate in the inconclusive Action of 19 August 1916 with the rest of her squadron. The squadron was briefly detached from the Grand Fleet in March 1917 to fruitlessly patrol off the Norwegian coast when news of a blockade runner was received by the Admiralty.
At the beginning of 1919, Cambrian was refitted in Rosyth before she sailed for Devonport where she was visited by the Edward, Prince of Wales on 13 June. The ship was assigned to the North American and West Indies Station the following month, where she served until 1922. Cambrian’s crew spent several days in August trying to tow off the schooner Bella Scott after she had run aground near Kingston, Jamaica and received a brief refit in Bermuda in March–April 1920. The Prince of Wales again visited the ship on 26 September in Dominica. On 25 January 1921, she was inspected by Vice-Admiral Sir William Pakenham at Bermuda and again on 17 June. The ship arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts to participate in the Pilgrim Tercentenary celebrations on 31 July.
She was part of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet from August 1922 until June 1924, and was detached to support British interests during the Chanak Crisis of 1922–23. She escorted the seaplane carrier Ark Royal from the UK to Turkey from 27 September to 8 October and was later guard ship at Smyrna in December.
The ship was decommissioned in June 1924 and began a refit that lasted into 1926, during which her aft control tower and searchlight platform was removed, when she was recommissioned to serve in the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet where she participated in a fleet exercise in March 1929. After transporting troops to China in 1929, she was decommissioned in November 1929 and assigned to the Nore Reserve. She was recommissioned as the flagship of the Nore Reserve in March 1931 and was then decommissioned in July 1933 at Sheerness and listed for sale. Cambrian was sold for scrap on 28 July 1934.
HMS Vivid was the Royal Navy designation for the barracks at Devonport in England and for other nominal bases in Cornwall, Ireland and Wales.
HMS Vivid was commissioned in 1890, and operated as a training unit until 1914. The base was renamed HMS Drake in 1934, which today refers to all of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Plymouth.
Other, nominal bases, were established for personnel on detached duty and attached to HMS Vivid for accounting purposes. These base were also named “Vivid”.
Vivid I was the Seamanship, Signalling and Telegraphy School in Devonport.
Vivid II was the Stokers and Engine Room Artificers School in Devonport
Vivid III was used for the Royal Naval Division Trawler Section.
Vivid IV was for personnel at Falmouth (Cornwall) and what was then Queenstown in Ireland from 1922 to 1923.
Vivid V was used for personnel at Milford Haven (South Wales).
The reason for the ship and the naval establishment having the same name is that prior to 1959, the Naval Discipline Act only applied to Officers and Men of the Royal Navy who were borne or listed in the muster books of one of HM ships of War. Thus all personnel were allocated to a nominal depot ship, even when not actually serving on a proper seagoing warship. This was usually between Drafts or while undergoing Training or promotion/advancement courses. The shore establishment usually took the name of the original ship. Whenever the nominal depot ship changed, then she also took the name of the previous ship.
The 17th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment was an infantry battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, part of the British Army, which was formed as a Pals battalion during the Great War. The core of the battalion was a group of professional footballers, which was the reason for its most commonly used name, The Football Battalion (also the footballers’ or players’ battalion). The 23rd (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment was formed in June 1915 and became known as the 2nd Football Battalion. The battalions fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 among others.
During the First World War there had been an initial push by clubs for professional football to continue, in order to keep the public’s spirits up. This stance was not widely agreed with and public opinion turned against professional footballers. One soldier, serving in France, wrote to a British newspaper to complain that “hundreds of thousands of able-bodied young roughs were watching hirelings playing football” while others were serving their country. The suggestion was even made that King George V should cease being a patron of The Football Association.
William Joynson-Hicks formed the battalion on 12 December 1914 at Fulham Town Hall after Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, suggested it as part of the Pals battalion scheme. England international Frank Buckley became the first player to join, out of thirty players who signed up at its formation. The formation was announced to the general public on 1 January 1915.
During training, the players were allowed leave on a Saturday to return to their clubs to take part in games. However, the clubs found themselves having to subsidise the train fares as the Army did not pay for them.
By the following March, 122 professional footballers had signed up for the battalion, which led to press complaints as there were some 1800 eligible footballers. These recruits included the whole of Clapton Orient (later to be known as Leyton Orient) – the entire Heart of Midlothian team had signed up for the 16th Royal Scots (‘McCrae’s Battalion’) prior to the formation of the football battalion. In addition to footballers, officials and referees also joined the 17th, along with football fans themselves. Many football players deliberately chose to avoid the battalion by joining other regiments, causing the War Office to initially have difficulties filling the battalion.
A number of decorations were issued to the soldiers with the battalion. Lyndon Sandoe, of Cardiff City, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal with bar, and the Military Medal. The battalion suffered heavy losses, including at the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Guillemont during the Battle of the Somme. During the First World War, the battalion lost more than a thousand men, including 462 in one battle alone at the Battle of Arras in 1917.
The 17th was assigned to the 6th Infantry Brigade, part of the 2nd Infantry Division.
23rd (Service Battalion)
A second football battalion, the 23rd (Service) Battalion was formed in June 1915. Former Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton Orient footballer Alan Haig-Brown was appointed commanding officer in September 1916. The 23rd was assigned to the 123rd Brigade, part of the 41st Division.
A memorial to the Football Battalion was unveiled in 2010 in Longueval, France. It was attended by members of the Football Supporters’ Federation and representatives of more than 20 clubs. It had been paid for through donations received from football supporters having been promoted by former professional footballer and SAS soldier Phil Stant. The ceremony was conducted by Father Owen Beament of Millwall and a two-minute silence was initiated by Gareth Ainsworth.
A granite memorial to the three Clapton Orient players who died in the Battle of the Somme whilst members of the battalion was unveiled in 2011, located in Northern France. Over 200 Leyton Orient supporters travelled for the unveiling, which commemorated the lives of Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott.
HMS Good Hope was one of four Drake-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy around 1900; she was originally named Africa, but was renamed before she was launched. She became flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet in 1906, and was the flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in 1908. She was reduced to reserve in 1913, but was recommissioned in mid-1914.
When war was declared in August 1914, Good Hope was ordered to reinforce the 4th Cruiser Squadron and became the flagship of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock. Cradock moved the available ships of his squadron later that month to the coast of South America to search for German commerce raiders.
He was then ordered further south to the Strait of Magellan to block any attempt of the German East Asia Squadron to penetrate into the South Atlantic. He found the German squadron on 1 November off the coast of Chile. The German squadron outnumbered Cradock’s force and were individually more powerful; they sank Cradock’s two armoured cruisers in the Battle of Coronel. Good Hope was lost with all hands.
Design and description
Good Hope was designed to displace 14,150 long tons (14,380 t). The ship had an overall length of 553 feet 6 inches (168.7 m), a beam of 71 feet 4 inches (21.7 m) and a deep draught of 26 feet 9 inches (8.2 m). She was powered by two 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, which produced a total of 30,000 indicated horsepower (22,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph). The engines were powered by 43 Belleville boilers. She carried a maximum of 2,500 long tons (2,500 t) of coal and her complement consisted of 900 officers and ratings.
Her main armament consisted of two breech-loading (BL) 9.2-inch (234 mm) Mk X guns in single gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure. Her secondary armament of sixteen BL 6-inch Mk VII guns was arranged in casemates amidships. Eight of these were mounted on the main deck and were only usable in calm weather. A dozen quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 12 cwt guns were fitted for defence against torpedo boats. Two additional 12-pounder 8 cwt guns could be dismounted for service ashore. Good Hope also carried three 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 17.72-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.
The ship’s waterline armour belt had a maximum thickness of 6 inches (152 mm) and was closed off by 5-inch (127 mm) transverse bulkheads. The armour of the gun turrets and their barbettes was 6 inches thick while the casemate armour was 5 inches thick. The protective deck armour ranged in thickness from 1–2.5 inches (25–64 mm) and the conning tower was protected by 12 inches (305 mm) of armour.
Good Hope, named after the British colony on the Cape of Good Hope, was laid down on 11 September 1899 with the name of Africa by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering at their Govan shipyard. She was renamed Good Hope on 2 October and launched on 21 February 1901, when she was formally named by Mrs. (Ethel) Elgar, wife of Francis Elgar, manager of the shipbuilding company. She arrived in Portsmouth to be completed and armed in late December 1901. Captain Charles Edward Madden was appointed in command for her first commission on 8 November 1902.
She was to be commissioned as flagship of Rear-Admiral Wilmot Fawkes as he succeeded as commander of the Cruiser Squadron in the Home Fleet, but was ordered first to convey Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to South Africa in late 1902. Fawkes hoisted his flag on 23 November, and the ship left Portsmouth with Chamberlain and his wife on board two days later. During the outward voyage, the Good Hope docked at Port Said, Suez, Aden, Mombasa, and Zanzibar, before landing Chamberlain at Durban in late December. After staying through Christmas at Port Elizabeth, she visited Simon’s Town before returning home along the West Coast of Africa.
In 1906 she became the flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet and was the flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron when she visited South Africa two years later. Good Hope was placed in reserve in 1913.
Good Hope was re-commissioned in mid-1914 with a crew composed mainly of naval reservists and was briefly assigned to the 6th Cruiser Squadron in August, before being transferring the 4th Cruiser Squadron. She rendezvoused at the old Royal Naval Dockyard (which had closed in 1905 and transferred to the Dominion government to become Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard) in the former Imperial fortress of Halifax, Nova Scotia (which had replaced the Bermuda-based squadron of the North America and West Indies Station in 1907), with HMS Suffolk, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock. Cradock transferred his flag to Good Hope because she was faster than his previous flagship. In Halifax, the crew of Good Hope was joined by four young Canadian midshipmen to assist Cradock with his command. They would become the first Royal Canadian Navy casualties of the First World War.
Cradock’s command was despatched to the coast of South America later that month at his own suggestion to better hunt for the German ships preying upon British merchant ships. Good Hope was coaled at the Royal Naval Dockyard in the North Atlantic Imperial fortress colony of Bermuda (by Bermuda Militia Artillery gunners assisting with coaling). On the way south, Good Hope’s crew was strengthened by the recruitment of 26 stokers in the West Indies, probably in St. Lucia. His ships were generally unsuccessful in this and he moved his squadron further south in late September to search for the East Asia Squadron, under the command of Vice Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee, in the vicinity of Cape Horn and the Strait of Magellan in accordance to his orders from the Admiralty.
At the end of September, Cradock made his first fruitless search of the Tierra del Fuego area and later detached three of his ships to search up the Chilean coast, reaching Valparaiso on 15 October, while Good Hope returned to Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, to recoal and to reestablish communications with the Admiralty. He received word on 7 October that Spee’s ships were definitely bound for the Cape Horn region and waited for the elderly predreadnought battleship Canopus to reinforce his squadron. She was in poor mechanical condition when she arrived at Port Stanley and required time to make repairs. Good Hope sailed on 22 October without her, going around Cape Horn, while Canopus and three colliers departed the following day, taking the shorter route through the Strait of Magellan.
Battle of Coronel
Good Hope rendezvoused with the rest of the squadron at Vallenar Roads in the remote Chonos Archipelago of Chile on 27 October to recoal. They departed two days later, just as Canopus arrived, Cradock ordering the battleship to follow as soon as possible. He sent the light cruiser Glasgow to scout ahead and to enter Coronel, Chile to pick up any messages from the Admiralty and acquire intelligence regarding German activities. The cruiser began to pick up German radio signals from the light cruiser SMS Leipzig on the afternoon of 29 October, and delayed entering Coronel for two days with Cradock’s permission to avoid being trapped by the fast German ships. A German supply ship was already there and radioed Spee that Glasgow had entered the harbour around twilight. The cruiser departed on the morning of 1 November, but Spee had already made plans to catch her when informed of her presence the previous evening.
Glasgow departed Coronel at 09:15 after having picked up the squadron’s mail and rendezvoused with the rest of the squadron four hours later. Cradock ordered his ships to form line abreast with an interval of 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) between ships to maximise visibility at 13:50, and steered north at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). At 16:17 Leipzig spotted Glasgow, the easternmost British ship, to its west and she spotted Leipzig’s funnel smoke three minutes later. At 17:10 Cradock ordered his ships to head for Glasgow, the closest ship to the Germans. Once gathered together, he formed them into line astern, with Good Hope in the lead, steering southeasterly at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) at 18:18. As the sixteen 21-centimetre (8.3 in) guns aboard the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were only matched by the two 9.2-inch guns on his flagship, he needed to close the range to bring his more numerous 6-inch guns to bear. The Force 7 winds and high seas, however, prevented the use of half of those guns as they were too close to the water. He also wanted to use the setting sun to his advantage so that its light would blind the German gunners. Spee was well aware of the British advantages and refused to allow Cradock to close the range. His ships were faster than the British, slowed by the 16-knot maximum speed of the armed merchant cruiser Otranto, and he opened up the range to 18,000 yards (16,000 m) until conditions changed to suit him. The sun set at 18:50, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them.
Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04 when the range closed to 12,300 yards (11,200 m). Spee’s flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau fired at Monmouth. Cradock’s flagship was hit on the Scharnhorst’s third salvo, when shells knocked out her forward 9.2-inch turret and set her forecastle on fire. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee’s ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards (5,000 m) away at 19:35. Seven minutes later, Good Hope charged directly at the German ships, although they dodged out of her way. Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate their fire on the British flagship and she soon drifted to a halt with her topsides all aflame. At 19:50 her forward magazine exploded, severing the bow from the rest of the ship, and she later sank in the darkness. Spee estimated that his flagship had made 35 hits on Good Hope, suffering only two hits in return that did no significant damage and failed even to wound one crewman. Good Hope was sunk with all hands, a total of 926 officers and r