Historik Orders, Ltd.

British Campaign Medals and Orders Singles and Groups, Russian Badges and Medal Gallery


Order Number: 2910

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AFRICA GENERAL SERVICE Medal Named to: S.R. DAW. LG. STO. H.M.S. Highflyer
Clasp: SOMALILAND 1902-04
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Order Number: 2919

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Ashantee / Africa medal named to: 3545. PTE. C.A. ROBINSON. 2/ W.I.R. 

Clasp: Sierra Leone 1898-99.

LSGC medal named to:  3545. PTE. C.A. ROBINSON. W. INDIA. REGT.

Comes with Copies of the roll.

Condition: VF.

Order Number: 4324

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The very fine West Africa Benin River Expedition 1894, Boer War 1902, and Great War Battle of Jutland group awarded to Chief Boatswain W.G. Holliday, Royal Navy, who served aboard the cruiser H.M.S Phoebe on the Benin River in 1894, and aboard the gunboat H.M.S Dwarf towards the end of the Boer War, being promoted to Warrant Officer’s rank in 1902, he was aboard the battleship H.M.S Benbow at the battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916.
Group of 5: East and West Africa Medal 1887-1900, 1 Clasp: Benin River 1894; (W.G. HOLLIDAY, LG. SEAN:, H.M.S. PHOEBE.); Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, no clasp; (W.G. HOLLIDAY. P.O.1 CL., H.M.S. DWARF.); 1914-1915 Star; (BOSN. W.G. HOLLIDAY, R.N.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (CH.BOSN. W.G. HOLLIDAY. R.N.)
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Walter George Holliday was born on 20th October 1871 in Stratford, Essex, and having worked as an errand boy, then joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class (Devonport No.139142) with the training establishment H.M.S Impregnable from 21st October 1886, and was initially employed in signals, being the posted to the boys training establishment H.M.S Ganges from 31st October 1886, and back to Impregnable from 27th May 1887, being advanced to Boy 1st Class on 18th January 1888.
Holliday then joined the cadet training ship H.M.S Britannia from 15th June 1888, and was rated as Ordinary Seaman on 20th October 1889, before joining the flagship at Devonport, H.M.S Royal Adelaide from 1st November 1889, and was posted aboard the battleship H.M.S Anson from 27th November 1889, being rated as Able Seaman on 1st March 1890 when she was serving as Flagship to the Rear Admiral Channel Fleet, and as such was aboard her on 17th March 1891 when the passenger steamer SS Utopia accidentally collided with stationary Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar. 562 of Utopia‍ ' s passengers and crew and two rescuers from H.M.S Immortalite were killed in the accident, whilst Anson did not report any injuries or damage.
This incident is best described here. On 25th February 1891 Utopia sailed out from Trieste to New York City with stopovers at Naples, Genoa and Gibraltar. She carried a total of 880 people: 59 crewmembers (most of them stewards), three first-class passengers, 815 third-class passengers and three stowaways. There were 85 women and 67 children. According to captain John McKeague's signed statement, Utopia normally carried seven lifeboats that could accommodate up to "460 people in moderate weather" but on the night of the catastrophe one of these boats was missing.
Utopia reached Gibraltar in the afternoon of 17th March. Captain John McKeague steered Utopia to her usual anchorage in the inner harbour, but then realized that it was occupied by two battleships, HMS Anson and HMS Rodney. McKeague later recalled that he had been temporarily dazzled by Anson‍ ' s searchlight. When McKeague's eyesight recovered he "suddenly discovered that the inside anchorage was full of ships". McKeague, according to his statement, thought that Anson was "further off than she really was" and attempted to steer Utopia ahead of Anson‍  ' s bow. Suddenly, a "strong gale combined with current swept the vessel across the bows of the Anson, and in a moment her hull was pierced and cut by the ram of the ironclad". According to third mate Francis Wadsworth, the impact occurred at 6:36 p.m. Anson‍ ' s ram tore a hole 5 metres wide below Utopia‍ ' s waterline, and her holds were quickly flooded. McKeague at first considered beaching the ship, but Utopia almost instantly lost engine power: the engineers shut down the engines to prevent a steam explosion. McKeague ordered the lowering of the lifeboats and to abandon ship, but Utopia suddenly listed 70 degrees, crushing and sinking the boats. The survivors clung to the starboard of Utopia while hundreds were trapped inside steerage holds. Twenty minutes after the impact Utopia sank to the depth of 17 metres (56 ft). The masts, protruding above the waves, became the last refuge for the survivors. Anson, the Swedish battleship Freya, and other nearby ships immediately sent rescue teams to the site, but rough weather and a strong current made it difficult for them to approach the wreck: "rescuers, blinded by the wind and rain, saw nothing but a confused, struggling mass of human beings entangled with wreckage.” Two sailors from HMS Immortalite, James Cotton and George Hales, drowned attempting to rescue survivors when their boat drifted on the rocks. Search and rescue continued until 11 p.m. Out of 880 passengers and crewmembers of Utopia, there were 318 survivors: 290 steerage passengers, two first class passengers, three Italian interpreters and 23 crewmembers. The remaining 562 passengers and crewmembers of Utopia were dead or missing. Cotton and Hales were buried with military honours on 19th March. The first group of Utopia victims, 28 adults and three children, were buried in a trench in Gibraltar on 20 March. Divers sent to examine the wreck reported that the inner spaces of Utopia "were closely packed with the bodies ... who had become wedged into an almost solid mass"; and that "the bodies of many of the drowned were found so firmly clasped together that it was difficult to separate them." Hundreds of bodies remained trapped in the steerage holds of the sunken ship. Holliday who would have witnessed this incident and may well have been involved in the rescue work, then found himself posted to Vivid I at Devonport from 1st October 1891, and posted to the gunnery establishment H.M.S Cambridge from 7th October 1891, and the torpedo school H.M.S Defiance from 27th March 1892, and having qualified in both gunnery and torpedo gunnery, was then posted back to Vivid I from 22nd October 1892 and aboard the cruiser H.M.S Phoebe from 1st December 1892, and was then posted with her to join the Cape and West Africa Station. Promoted to Leading Seaman on 28th March 1894, Holliday then found himself involved in the Benin River Expedition of August to September 1894, which proceeded up the Benin River to curb the predatory activities of Chief Nana of Brohemie. The expedition, composed chiefly of naval personnel, was commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Bedford. For his services during these operations, Holliday was awarded the East and West Africa Medal 1887-1900, with clasp for Benin River 1894, being one of 224 men from Phoebe to qualify for this clasp. Promoted to Petty Officer 2nd Class on 24th August 1895, he then transferred to the cruiser H.M.S Sappho from 22nd January 1896, also serving on the Africa Station, and then transferred back to Vivid I from 5th April 1896. Posted to Cambridge from 3rd June 1896, he then joined Defiance again from 30th August 1896, and Cambridge again from 27th September 1896, being promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class on 23rd October 1896, and then posted back to Vivid I from 28th November 1896. Holliday was posted aboard the battleship H.M.S Magnificent from 14th January 1899, and then having rejoined Cambridge on 4th July 1901 and Vivid on 23rd February 1902, was posted aboard the gunboat H.M.S Dwarf from 1st April 1902, and briefly saw service off the coast of South Africa towards the end of the Boer War, and was one of 176 men of this ship to receive the Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902 without clasp. Whilst still serving aboard Dwarf, one 1st October 1902 he was deemed suitable for promoted to Warrant Officer rank, and as such was appointed Acting Boatswain. Shortly afterwards Holliday was confirmed in the rank of Boatswain and posted to the battleship H.M.S Benbow from 1st January 1903, before joining the cruiser H.M.S Arrogant from 3rd November 1903 and the cruiser H.M.S Diana from 30th September 1904, and was then posted home to Devonport to join H.M.S Indus from 5th March 1907. Holliday was posted aboard the cruiser H.M.S Sutlej from 9th March 1909, and then the cruiser H.M.S Hogue from 16th November 1909 for quarterdeck duties, followed by the cruiser H.M.S Inflexible from 12th October 1910, also for quarterdeck duties. Holliday then found himself appointed to the Coast Guard as Boatswain in Command of the Coastguard Station at Queenstown in Southern Ireland on 5th March 1912, but was recalled and posted aboard the battleship H.M.S Benbow from 17th April 1914, and was serving aboard her on the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914. Benbow served as the 4th Battle Squadron's flagship until June 1916. She was initially the flagship of Admiral Douglas Gamble, until he was replaced in February 1915 by Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee. Her commander was Captain H. W. Parker.
Prior to the Battle of Jutland, Benbow left Scapa Flow with the rest of the Grand Fleet under the command of Admiral John Jellicoe on 30th May 1916. She led the 4th Division, consisting of the battleships Bellerophon, Temeraire, and Vanguard. The 4th Division formed the column of ships immediately to starboard of the fleet flagship, Iron Duke under Jellicoe as they steamed south eastwards to meet the German High Seas Fleet. At 1710 on 31st May, Benbow relayed a message to Jellicoe on Iron Duke that the High Seas Fleet was at sea with 26-30 battleships on a course of 347 in line ahead. This indicated that the German admiral was at sea with his full strength – 18 dreadnought-type battleships and ten pre-dreadnoughts and that the two sides were on a converging course.
Benbow opened fire at 1830 with intermittent salvoes at the lead German battleships of the Konig Class. Poor visibility led to her ceasing fire 10 minutes later, having fired just six two-gun salvoes from her forward turrets. By 1900, she had made a turn to starboard, leading the 4th division past the wreck of the battlecruiser Invincible which had been destroyed by a magazine explosion. The turn brought them towards the German fleet, and at 1909 she again opened fire with her 6-inch (150 mm) batteries on the German destroyers of the 3rd flotilla at 8,000 yards (7,300 m), believing them to be making a torpedo attack. They were actually attempting to rescue the crew of the German light cruiser Wiesbaden, which had been disabled earlier by Invincible, and was now under fire from the Grand Fleet. Benbow then shifted her fire to the 6th and 9th destroyer flotillas which had begun to launch torpedo attacks.
At 1917 Benbow opened fire on the German battlecruiser Derfflinger with a two gun salvo from her forward turret. The shells passed over the ship and Benbow readjusted her aim down 1,600 yards (1,500 m) and swung about to allow her after gun to fire. She then fired four 5 gun and one 4 gun salvoes, claiming a single hit on the German battlecruiser, which was later disproved. She again ceased fire at 1924 due to poor visibility caused by the smoke laid by the German destroyers during their torpedo attacks. The High Seas Fleet disengaged and fled to the south. At 2010 there was a brief skirmish between the German destroyers V46 and V69, and the British 2nd Light Cruiser squadron and Benbow, in which Benbow fired a single salvo of 6-inch (150 mm) shells and a single round from her B gun before the German ships escaped. This was the last contact with the enemy, and Benbow returned with the rest of the fleet to Scapa Flow. In total Benbow had fired 40 rounds of 13.5-inch (340 mm) shells, all of them being "Armour Piercing capped", and 60 rounds of 6-inch (150 mm) shells. She had managed to escape damage or casualties.
Holliday who was aboard Benbow at the battle of Jutland, would serve for the majority of the remainder of the war aboard her when she was at anchor at the 4th Division's home port of Scapa Flow, or on manoeuvres and routine patrols in the North Sea.
Holliday who was at some stage promoted to Chief Boatswain, was then transferred to Vivid at Devonport for miscellaneous duties on 20th May 1918, before being placed on the Retired List on 12th August 1922. He later lived at 5 Meredith Road, Devonport, and died at some stage between December 1937 and June 1938. Confirmed as his full entitlement.

Comes with research.

Condition VF.