PhotosDescriptionPrice

MILITARY MEDALS & MILITARY RELATED ITEMS circa 1800 to recent. 

With a particular emphasis on naval history related items.

TO PLACE AN ORDER:

Reserve your items by sending an email to  oldcoins@senet.com.au or telephone, Midday to 7pm AEST - Monday to Friday, 08 81653446 to confirm your purchase.

 If necessary, leave a phone message and a time to call and you will be answered.   

Aust

GB. Early 1700s Queen Anne lucky charm medalet. Good Luck To Your Ship. 1.1 grams and silver, 15mm diameter, a good luck charm, holed for wearing, an interesting early nautical item. Sailors are a superstious lot and often with good reason and carried many different charms through the ages.

$250

GB. 1798 Battle of the Nile. Gilt Bronze, 47.5mm, 39.49 grams. Conrad Kulcher engraver. Petty Officers award, un-named as usual. Edge inscribed "A TRIBUTE OF REGARD FROM ALEXr. DAVISON ESQ St.JAMES SQUARE" Only 300 made in gilt copper and distrubuted to petty officers. There were also 25 in gold (captains) 150 in silver (officers) 525 in copper (marines) and 6,000 in bronzed copper (sailors) Most of the gilt remains intact, Fine, rare. See a similar one listed at www.emedals.com for $1500 US.

This medal was designed as a tribute to Lord Horatio Nelson's victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Nelson (1758-1805) went to sea at the age of twelve and rapidly rose to the rank of Captain at the age of twenty-one in 1779. The medal depicts Peace, on the left, standing on a rock, holding an olive spray in her extended right hand. She leans on a shield bearing a profile bust of Nelson.The reverse of the medal shows a scene from the naval battle in Aboukir Bay on 1 August 1798, where the French ships were at anchor and the English ships were going into action. Nelson and his fleet of fourteen battleships broke through the French enemy line of thirteen ships and attacked the French on both sides. Eleven of the thirteen French ships were destroyed and the success re-established British command of the Mediterranean. For this victory Nelson was created Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe. The medal was commissioned by Alexander Davison who was Nelson's agent after the Battle of the Nile. Davison, partly to court favour with Nelson, intended to give a specimen copy to every man who had served in the action.

$950

Turkish Crimea Medal 1855-1856 issued to Allied personnel.  2242 J.SCULLY, 39th Rec. Lightly cleaned, attractive, with ribbon.

$175

GB. (Egypt) 1882-1889 Khedives star Medal.  Attractive condition, original medal, modern ribbon.

$195

Australia. 1885 NSW troops to the Soudan.  Carlisle 1885/3. 23mm, bronze. General Gordon. Mid grade, about VF and scarce.

$100

GB. 1894 Volunteer Long Service Good Conduct medal.  Attractive condition, original medal, modern ribbon.

$150

GB Naval Long Service Good Conduct Medal. Edward VII. 65385 J.BINNEY SEAN ICL, R.N.R. 

With ribbon, attractive condition, EF.
$125
GB QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL 1899, (type 2 reverse), - three clasps - Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal. 8861 Dr: D.Jeffrey, A.S.C. Impressed. Swing mounted, Very Fine.Sold
GB QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL 1899, (type 3 reverse). 230 Condr: F.W.Kampfert A.S.C. Impressed. Swing mounted, some scuffs, gVF.$150




American Battle fleet off Hampton Roads.  Mint pre World War 1, fold out panorama series of six postcards showing American battleships of the day. Still in overall good, fresh condition and extremely scarce. Printed in Sydney by Stewart Black.

Sold

GB. Admiral Horatio Nelson, Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe. 1758-1805. Æ Medal (38mm, 28.44 g). Lord Nelson and the Foudroyant. Birmingham mint. Struck 1897, from the copper salvaged from the vessel after its breaking up. ·:· HORATIO. VISCOUNT NELSON ·:·, bust facing slightly left, in military attire and wearing tricorne decorated with diamond aigrette; in two lines in exergue, BORN, 29th SEPTEMBER, 1758/DIED, 21st OCTOBER, 1805 / “FOUDROYANT,” LORD NELSON’S “FLAGSHIP.”, the Foudroyant under sail left on water; legend in five lines in exergue. BHM 3613; Eimer 1813; Hardy 107. Extremely Fine, minor spotting and toning, similar to photos.$85

GB 1905 Nelson Token.  100th Anniversary of Trafalgar. 18mm. Made from copper from HMS Victory, something usually in stock, VF or better.

$25

GB 1905. Copper from Nelson's Flagship.  The Olde St Sailors Society. 20mm badge, VF and scarce.

$35

1905 Japan/Russia war medal.  

In excellent overall condition, complete with original box.
$85

1908 US Fleet Visit to Australia.  

Gilt Bronze, 29mm. Carlisle 1908/11. By Stokes & Son, Extremely Fine.
$45

1925 US Fleet Visit to Australia.  

Gilt Bronze, 39mm. Carlisle 1925/1.  
Extremely Fine.
$35
1913 HMAS Australia medalet.   Gilt Bronze, 19mm. Carlisle 1913/4. To Commemorate the Visit of the First Commonwealth Fleet to Sydney, Near as struck and scarcer.
The battlecruiser Australia, superior to any other European warship then in the Pacific, made her first appearance in Sydney harbour in 1913 at the head of the Australian fleet. At the outbreak of war in 1914 she provided a clear deterrent to enemy warships and helped keep our coastline, shipping & trade open, whilst also taking part in operations to sieze German colonies & destroy their communications in the Pacific. In 1915 she was ordered to Britain where she became the flagship of the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron operating in the North Sea. She returned home in 1919 and was scuttled in 1924 under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.
$50
1913 HMAS Australia medalet.   Bronze, 29mm. Carlisle 1913/5. To Commemorate the Visit of the First Commonwealth Fleet to Sydney, contrasting tone, EF. $25
1913 HMAS Australia medalet.   Bronze, 29mm. Carlisle 1913/5. To Commemorate the Visit of the First Commonwealth Fleet to Sydney, EF, similar to photo.
This medalet marked the beginning of the Royal Australian Navy. The ships entered the harbour int he following order: Australia, Melbourne, Encounter, Sydney, Warrego, Paramatta & Yarra as crowds gathered in the early morning to cheer their entry into Sydney Harbour. Marking the occasion, all schoolchildren in NSW were given a holiday and issued with a small commemorative medalet.
$30
 WW1 Australian Postcard.   A view of the battlecruiser Australia - per photos.Sold
WW1 Australian Postcard.   A view of the battlecruiser Australia - per photos.$20


WW1 Australian Light Horse Medal Trio. 

1914/15 Star '1319 PTE AE HURST 1/L H RGT AIF', British War & Victory medals '1319 PTE AE HURST 1 LHR AIF'. gVF.

$850

WW1 Australian Victory Medal.  Awarded to 5843 PTE J.JAMES, 20 BN A.I.F. Complete with ribbon, VF. With research.

$100

WW1 Australian Victory Medal.  Awarded to 6425 PTE H.T.WOODS.  24 BN A.I.F. Complete with ribbon, VF.

$100

WW1 Australian Victory Medal.  Awarded to 909 PTE A.E.HUGHES. 17 BN A.I.F. Complete with ribbon, gVF.

$100

WW1 Australian British War Medal & Victory medal.  Awarded to 4237 T-L-CPL. A.J.MACKENZIE. 10 BN. A.I.F. With ribbons, Very Fine. They appear to be genuine medals that have been chromed.

$120

WW1 Australian 1914-15 Star & Victory medals.  Awarded to 1055 PTE D.C.COOMER 28/BN AIF. No ribbons, some signs of age, Fine. Find his BWM and the trio can be back together again!

$225

WW1/WW2 Australian group of four medals.
BWM 1914-1918, Victory Medal 1914-1919, War Medal 1939-45, Australian service Medal 1939-45. Lieut W.A.L.SENN A.I.F. on first two medals, third medal un-named, V4599 W.A.L.SENN on last medal. All named medals impressed. Display mounted, Good Very Fine.
William Albert Leonard Senn, born at Mayland South Australia, enl 01 Aug 1915 at Liverpool NSW with previous service in Scottish rifles. Emb 20 Dec 1915 with 13 Reinfts to 1 BN, trf to 54th Batallion at Tel-el-Kebir 16 FEB 1916, to France 29JUn 1916, to Cpl 14thNOV16, to Sgt 31 Jan 1917, to temporary CSM 28May1917, to2nd Lieut 10Aug17, to Lieut 18 Dec1917, to 53BN 10th Oct 1918, RTA 25th Jan 1919, , appointed Lieut in CMF to Garrison Bn 23 Jul1940, employed to various training facilities, died of illness 04 Jul 1943. With copy of service file, large amount of research and several photos.
$350

WW1 Australian 1914-15 star.  Awarded to 6605 Pte A.Pauthenet. 6 BN. A.I.F.  Complete with ribbon, usual tone, VF.

$150

WW1 Australian Star.  Awarded to 34981. A-BDR A.S. SALTER, 12 F.A.B. A.I.F. Joined 14/11/16. Wounded in Action. Complete with copies of Enlistment, Service and Medal entitlements, VF.

$175

Australia. WW1 Internment Camps 3d. 

18mm, Aluminum, Liverpool Internment Camp. 
Some signs of use, mid grade VF/gVF and very rare.

$1650

Australia. Royal Australian Navy silver lapel badge,  20mm, made in Birmingham, early 1915, EF.

$195

Australia. Returned from Active Service badge,  38mm, No 236891 by Stokes, Melbourne, VF.

$40
1914 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN SYDNEY-EMDEN MEDAL, in silver, made by Kerr from 1891 AM 8 reales.
Original Mexican 8 reales from the Emden wreck were made into a medal by the addition of this clasp. An attractive example, real history in your hands, VF and rare.
Sold

South Australia. World War 1 1916 button day badge of Navy Day, OCT 20th 1916. Good overall condition, similar to photo.

$15

1916 South Australia Navy Day. Tin, 29mm. Commemorates Navy Day, Adelaide 1916, VF.

$20

Australian 6 coin set, 1916 

In neat printed folder, values halfpenny to florin.  Average circulated condition.

$45

Australian 6 coin set, 1917 in neat printed folder, values halfpenny to florin.  Average circulated condition.

$45


Australian WW1 (1919) Military Leave Pass. 186 x 100mm. Fine & Scarce.

$100

WW 1 British Medal. 1914-15 star,  awarded to 77021 GNR W.R.Baker RFA. Usual tone, complete with ribbon, VF.

$75

WW 1 British Medal pair + Australian WW2 single. BWM 1914-1918, Victory Medal 1914-1919, both medals impressed to 3200 L.Sgr D.TERRY 7-Lond.R. plus 1939-1945 War Medal, impressed to N65798 D.TERRY. Display mounted, medals mounted as worn, last two ribbons damaged, VF-gVF.
Daniel Terry, born at Lambeth England to a Jewish family, enl 19 NOV 1914 in 7th (City of London) Bn London Regt. "The Shiney Seventh" Wounded in Action, on roll of individuals entitled to the War Badge (listing page included) disch 22 Feb 1918, emigrated to Australia and became postmaster at Bimbi NSW. WW2 enlisted 01 NOV 1939 at Paddington Sydney, NSW in CMF, disch 20 NOV 1940 as Cpl ex Aust Army pay Corps, listed in book titled "Jewry Book of Honour" died 21 JUL1978. With research including photos of Jewish grave at Rockwood Cemetery.
$225
GB. 1916 Battle of Jutland medal. White metal, 45mm. "Glorious Memory of those who fell that day" with Union Jack and White Ensign. Minor marks, Extremely Fine and scarce.$175      

British WW1 Territorial Efficiency Medal, 675041 CPL W.HUTCHINSON. Some rubbing, with ribbon, scarce.

$95 

Germany. Cruiser SMS Emden, original WW1 postcards. Four different to choose from, $30 each.$30 ea
Germany. Cruiser SMS Emden, ten pfennig canteen token. Brass, 19mm, Very Fine and an interesting souvenir from this famous ship.$350
Germany. Cruiser SMS Emden, fifty pfennig canteen token. Brass, 24mm, Fine and an interesting souvenir from this famous ship.$325
Germany. Cruiser SMS Emden, fifty pfennig canteen token. Brass, 24mm, Very Fine and an interesting souvenir from this famous ship.$375
Germany. Cruiser SMS Emden, One hundred pfennig canteen token. Zinc, 29mm, Very Fine and an interesting souvenir from this famous ship.$395
Germany. 1914 Silver Medalet  commemorating the cruiser SMS Emden. Victory Flying left, silver, 15mm, EF and rare.$395

Germany. 1914 Bronze Medal commemorating the cruiser SMS Emden,  33mm by Lauer, showing the captain (Muller) and the ship steaming full ahead. aU and rare.

$750

Germany. 1914 Silver Medal commemorating the cruiser SMS Emden,  33mm by Lauer, showing captain Muller and the ship steaming full ahead. Some minor scuffs and hairlines, EF and rare.

$550

Germany. 1914 SMS Emden silver medal.  Commemorates the escape from Cocos Is by the Emden shore party aboard the schooner "Ayesha" after the battle. Some obverse marks, nice violet tone, EF and rare.

$650

GERMANY. SMS EMDEN Medal, Kaptain Von Muller 1914, in silver (33mm) by Zeigler/ Grunthal (M.H.430a) Toned extremely fine.

$500
Germany. 1914 Battle of Coronel Medal. Silver, 33mm. Extremely Fine & scarce.  Commemorates a famous German Victory by Von Spee and his experienced squadron over a British cruiser force in November 1914.
This battle and the deaths of nearly 1500 British sailors led to the despatch of British Battlecruisers to South America, just in time to confront Von Spee off the Falkland Islands a month later.
$175

Germany. 1916 Iron for Gold medal. Iron, 39mm. Awarded to citizens who donated gold to the war effort, VF.

$45
Between the Wars, circa 1920-1938.$

GB. Territorial Efficiency medal, George V. 1666325 GNR J.ADAMS. R.A, EF, with ribbon.

$85

BRITISH INDIA GSM, 1930-31 NW Frontier clasp, 17277 DVR KHUSHAL SINGH. R.A. EF, with ribbon.

$100

BRITISH INDIA GSM, 1936-37 NW Frontier clasp, 15688 SEPOY MARDAN ALI 2/13 F.F. R.I.F.  EF, with ribbon.

$75

BRITISH KGV Period POLICE MEDAL. 

Harry A Moat. gVF, with ribbon.

$50

BRITISH KGV Period POLICE MEDAL. James Quarry, with ribbon, gVF.

$50

BRITISH KGVI Period POLICE MEDAL. William Ponton, with ribbon, gVF.

$45

Click small photo to see larger photo.

World War 2 & later. Medals first, then other items.      

$

Part

of

the

song

"Dust"

By

Redgum

My brother played the ponies,

a breaker by his trade.

Sailed for Cairo in '41, 

with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade.

Rode the winds of fortune, 

cast his life in a two-up game.

I carry his coins, they were in his hat,

from Tobruk to El Alemain.

His bones lie out at Sandgate, 

where the waste creeks meet the sea.

There's rusted cars and salvage yards,

where Brumbies once ran free.

Aust        


Australian WW2 Medal Group of Five. 1939-45 Star; Pacific Star; Defence Medal 1939-45; War Medal 1939-45; Australia Service Medal 1939-45. All medals impressed, Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Together with riband bar for the first three.
Walter John Randall, born at Adelaide SA, enlisted 14 Jun 1943, at Woodford QLD and allocated Australian Service number SX31402. Served Bouganville and Solomons. Discharged 03 Spr 46 as Sergeant, died 30th sept 86 at Adelaide. With research.
$295

Australian WW2 Medal Group of Five.  War, Service & Defence Medals, 1939-45 Star & Africa Star, awarded to NX 21150 A.M.HEATHCOTE. Alan Maxwell Heathcote enlisted at Paddington NSW 23/5/40 & was discharged as a Sapper with 2/5 Field Company Engineers on 25/1/43. Involved in court martial on 30/10/41. Fine to VF. Sold    

Australian WW2 Medal Group. Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and ASM officially impressed to NX 162008 C.G. VENN, with Returned from Active Service badge. 5 items. gVF.$185

Australian WW2 Medal Group.  Service & Defence Medals, 1939-45 Star & Pacific Star, awarded to S 50581, A.J Palmer. Nice bright group. Four medals.

$175

Australian WW2 Navy Officer's Medal group of 4. 1939/45 Star, Pacific star, War Medal and ASM. Stars un-named as issued, medals impressed to B. 4300 R.C. Linaker. EF condition.  

Robert Charles Linaker from Ipswich, served as Ord Seaman from 1/11/43 and became an Instructor Commander. After 31 years of service, Linaker discharged 11/4/75.

$175

Australian WW2 trio. Defence, War Medal 1939-45, Service Medal 1939-45 to 10414 F.C.Penny. Frederick Clarence Penny, bootmaker, born 14th Jan 15 at Melbourne VIC, enlisted 23 May 1940 at Melbourne in RAAF. Service included Darwin and Richmond, discharged 18 Jan 46 as Sergeant. Some surface contacts F-VF.$120


Australian WW2 Service & Defence Medals + miniature of 1945-75 medal.  Awarded to SX 19969 - E.H (Gene) Raymond.  All items in excellent condition, EF or better.

Plus a copy of Gene's book "Nearly a Goner" detailing some of Gene's incredibly lucky escapes through his long life. In his younger days, amongst other occupations, Gene was a Showman and a top-notch Magician, doing many shows both in Australia and abroad to entertain the Australian troops and civilians during the dark days of World War II.

$165

Australian WW2 single war medals.  Single medals officially impressed. 1939/45 Star to VX41032 H Kelly. $40 Defence Medal to NX30506 AE Fuller. $40 War Medal 1939-45 to 107114 JR Windridge, $40 Australian Service Medal 39-45 to NX 95218 A Cairncross. $40 Australia Service Medal 39-45 to NZ266542 E Martin, $40 Email to
save
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Brass penny, 20mm, VF and scarce.$135
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Copper threepence, 16mm, some marks, VF and scarce.$150
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Copper threepence, 16mm, much mint lustre, EF and scarce.$275
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Copper shilling, 19mm, VF and scarce.$450
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Copper two shillings, 23mm, VF and rare.$750
Australian WW2 Internment Camps Coinage.  Interesting part of our wartime history. Copper five shillings, 29mm, even brown colour with hints of red. Good EF and rare.$2750

Australian WW2 HMAS Sydney badge.  23mm and scarce.$45

Australian Army Ordinance Corps,  WW2 Lapel badge, approx 30mm x 25mm, shows three cannons and is in excellent condition.

$15

Australian WW2 One Pound War Savings Certificate. EF and an interesting souvenir from the period, similar to photo.$45
Australian WW2. . RAAF 482 Squadron badge, approx 45 x 30mm, in several colours, Fine.$30


Australian 7th Division 9 carat gold badge. 

30 x 25mm diameter. 4.6 grams.

Bruce Ruxton, AM, OBE (Died December 2011) enlisted in the AIF in February 1944 shortly after turning 18 and served in the SW Pacific and Indonesian Islands, Borneo and with the BCOF in Japan.

However, he is best known for his time as president of the Victorian RSL (1979-2002) during which he became a champion for ex-diggers and their families, particularly those in need, as well as weighing in on public and social issues.

Australian History right here in your hands.

$450

New Zealand WW2.  New Zealand Armoured Corps Badge, approx 40mm. Excellent condition and scarce, similar to photo.

$30

United Nations Medals.  16 different medals, various coloured ribbons represent different conflicts or areas of service. Original medals, less than $15 each.$225

India/Pakistan Medals.  16 different medals, (15 shown in photos + one extra) various coloured ribbons represent different conflicts or areas of service. Original medals, less than $15 each.$225

Interesting Bits and Pieces.  Old Australian badges, etc, mostly 1930s-1960s period, incl Miniature WW1 Service medal, Comforts Fund badges, War Veterans Home Appeal, KGVI Lapel badge, 5 KA smilers Club, Dog House club, etc. Approx 30 items, many military related.

$50

1948 Australian Legion of Ex Servicemen & Women badge, approx 25mm. Nice overall condition.

$20

Australian Army Service Corps badge c 1950s, 45mm. Missing rear pin otherwise in EF condition.

$10

1969 HMAS Voyager Medal. 39mm, copper, as struck. Commemorates the 82 lives lost in the sinking of HMAS Voyager in 1964. Struck by Historical Medal Society of Australia and NZ, by K.G. Luke, in original case of issue and scarce.

$85

Vietnam Medal pair to Australian, 4720490 T.H.Aunger. 

South Australian mechanic, enlisted 1969, discharged 1971. Together with research papers, the medals have had a clean otherwise EF.

Sold

 

GB/Commonwealth Medals & Militaria, 1930s and WW2, most are originals unless noted in the description.

 

GB. WW2 Long Range Desert Group badge. 32mm. Modern copy, original very scarce.

$15

South Africa. WW2 Medal pair. 100406 H.T.RUTTER. With ribbons, Nicely court mounted.

$65

GB WW2 1939-45 Original Medal,  a few minor marks, with ribbon, similar to photos. Same as Australian medal, except un-named. 

$30

GB. WW2 Original Defence Medal,  a few minor marks, with ribbon, similar to photos, Same as Australian issue except un-named.

Sold

GB. WW2 Original 1939-45 star. Same as Australian issue, except un-named. Sold
GB./Australia. WW2 Original Africa star. With ribbon, un-named, similar to photo.Sold
WW2 Original Italy star. Named to 232713 L.W.HENNINGS. Decent condition, with ribbon.$65
GB. WW2 Original Italy star. Decent condition, with ribbon.Sold
GB/Australia. WW2 Original France & Germany star. Original medal with fresh  ribbon.$35
GB/Australia. WW2 Original France & Germany star, clasp Atlantic. Decent condition with ribbon.Sold
GB/Australia. WW2 Original Burma star. Decent condition, a little more cleaning required, with ribbon.Sold
GB/Australia. WW2 Original Pacific star. Decent condition, with ribbon.Sold

GB/Australia. WW2 service, Arctic Star.
This medal was announced in 2013 and these are similar to those produced for eligible veterans. New condition, with ribbon. 
$35

GB/Australia. WW2 service, Arctic Star miniature.
This medal was announced in 2013 and these are from the similar to those produced for eligible veterans. New condition, with ribbon. 
$20

WW2 AIR CREW EUROPE.

Modern Copy of a scarce original worth $100s.

$30


GB. WW2 period original Naval reserve Long Service Medal.

Silver, 35mm diameter. Name erased. Complete with ribbon, toned, scarce.

$100

GB. Service original Medal,  Palestine campaign 1946-48 bar. AS 17090 PTE L Moshabesha A.PC. Complete with ribbon.  EF, minor contacts and marks.

$75

GB. 1950s The Navy League. 25mm, by Argaunt, London. Enameled in gold, red, blue and white, attractive.

$20

GB. Army Canteen notes.   Seven notes with values to Five Pounds. gVF to UNC.

$20

GB. Army Canteen notes.  Six  notes with values to Five Pounds. gVF to UNC.

$15

GB. 2012 Golden Jubilee medal.  Some light rubbing, in original box, scarce.

$100

USA. World War II  Navy group of four Medals with ribbons, includes Navy medal with Long Service Star, Defense, Campaign and Asiatic Pacific Campaign medals. Overall in good condition, slight reverse stain to Navy medal on left.

$75

USA. WW2 Navy Medal.  Near new condition, with ribbon.

$20

USA Military Merit medal.  Vietnam, Navy clasp, in box of issue.

$40

Book - Propaganda Postcards of WW2.  By Ron Menchine, Krause Publication, 2000. Softback, over 150 pages. Describes 100's of postcards, from USA, Britain, Germany etc, many priced, profuse illustrations.

$15

Nigeria. 1966-70 National Service medal.  Un-named, with ribbon, near as made.

$25

Nigeria. 1967 Defence Service medal.  Un-named, with ribbon, near as made.

$25





Guy D'Oyly-Hughes
original autograph 1929 - $350.

The Tragedy of HMS Glorious, June 8th 1940.   

HMS Glorious, Acasta & Ardent.

I preface these comments by saying that hindsight is a wonderful thing and it is easy for us armchair strategists, for whom these brave men died to give us the lifestyle we currently enjoy, to fight the battle on Monday morning, or after the event.
Guy D'Oyly-Hughes (1891-1940) was a brave man who served on submarines in WW1 and won two gallantry awards.
However, a combination of shocking errors by himself and British intelligence led to one of  the greatest naval disasters in loss of life terms suffered by Britain in WW2 and is a compelling story of human folly and human courage.
The aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and the two destroyers were despatched ahead of the Narvik evacuation convoy so the captain of HMS Glorious, Guy D'Oyly-Hughes could expedite a court martial against one of his officers, a ridiculously trivial reason for such a tactically important decision.
The carrier failed to have any aerial reconissance or a proper lookout posted and was in a poor state of readiness when it was surprised and sunk by the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst & Gneisneau in the Arctic Sea on June 8th 1940.
 
Although the British sighted the Germans at 1600 GMT, by 1638 when the first German shell struck the Glorious, she still had not managed to get any aircraft aloft, a very poor level of organization.
Over 1500 men died in these three ships, which were all lost to German gunfire.
The few survivors were not found for nearly three days, during which most had died from the cold & exposure.
This tragic incident was largely covered up by the Admiralty, indeed, 70+ years after the events, some official records about this battle are still suppressed.
As astounding as the folly that led to this disaster was the bravery of the survivors and especially of the two destroyers, who, even though they knew they were doomed, attacked and damaged the German battle-cruiser Scharnhorst to such an extent that the Germans had to return to port, thus in all probability saving the King of Norway, who was aboard another ship (HMS Devonshire) which was right in the Germans path.
The actions of those aboard HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent have, in my opinion, not been fully recognised by the British;  some posthumus bravery awards are in dire need of distribution.

For all its horror and carnage, World War II was a just war, if such a thing is possible. British, Australians & Americans, the democratic English speaking peoples, stood up and defeated murderous, tyrannical dictatorships that, given the chance, would have enslaved the whole world. Lest we forget.

The stately ship is seen no more,
The fragile skiff attains the shore;
And while the great and wise decay.
And all their trophies pass away,
Some sudden thought, some careless rhyme.
Still floats above the wrecks of Time.

(William Lecky 1838-1903, On an Old Song.)

Further reading: Roskill, Stephen. "The Cantankerous Captain of HMS Glorious" Sunday Times 1980.
Winton, John. "Carrier Glorious." Cassell Military paperbacks, 1986.
BBC Channel 4 Documentary, HMS Glorious, 1997.

$350

Australian WW2 HMAS Sydney medal. 
Sinking of the Bartolomeo Colleoni 19th July 1940, 57mm, in silver by Amor. Edge engraved L.D Fitzgerald Stoker III ON 23604. Lightly cleaned, Extremely Fine and very rare, most of the 640 struck having gone down with the ship and crew after the engagement with HSK Kormoran on 19th November 1941. History in your hands.
Leonard Doolan Fitzgerald was born 29th September 1921 in Ipswich Qld and enlisted in Brisbane on 22nd September 1939 and discharged 28th Sept 1951. Posting at discharge HMAS Penguin at rank of Petty officer Stoker Mechanic. He saw service on HMAS Sydney from 27th Jan 1940 to 30th May 1941 and subsequently served on HMAS Kuttabul from 31st May 1941 - a vessel with the unfortunate fame of being sunk by a Japanese midget submarine in Sydney harbour on 31st May 1942, before transferring to other fleet vessels and naval bases.
Sold



This plastic model of HMAS Sydney is to scale, 1 inch = 50 foot and is nearly one foot (12'') long.

It shows the Sydney as she appeared in 1939, with 8 x 6 inch guns, 4 x 4 inch AA guns, 12 x .5 inch machine guns, eight 21 inch torpedo tubes, three searchlights, pole masts, fire control directors, ship's boats, carley floats, crane, catapult and one Seagull Mk V seaplane. 

This scale model has been built by me from parts from several different 1/600th Airfix model kits...

No commercially produced model kit of HMAS Sydney has ever been offered for sale...




Above: Only physical evidence so far found of  HMAS Sydney, a damaged Carley float.

 

Above-wartime photo of the Sydney, below is a peactime photo.

Below is a line drawing of the Sydney design, minus the aircraft & catapult.

Above: The Kormoran.

 

What happened to HMAS Sydney?   

HMAS Sydney, the second Australian cruiser to be so named, was a "Modified Leander" class cruiser. She was originally named HMS Phaeton, but transferred on completion to the RAN in the mid 1930's and re-named HMAS Sydney. She differed from the Leander class in being fitted with unit machinery. This meant that she had two funnels instead of one. Unit machinery was fitted to separate the boiler rooms, so the ship could not be completely disabled by any single hit.  The two funnels also gave the ship a remarkably handsome, symmetrical appearance.  Australia had three modified "Leander" class cruisers. Two, Sydney & Perth, were sunk during World War II with very heavy loss of life..

HMAS Sydney was 555 feet long, with a beam of 56.8 feet. She weighed over 7000 tons fully loaded, but was still very fast, and could make 32 knots (about 60 kilometers per hour). Her main armament consisted of eight six-inch (152mm) guns. She also carried four single 4 inch (100mm) 12 x 0.5 inch anti-aircraft guns, torpedo tubes and a seaplane.  Her range was about 6000 miles and she was designed to scout for the the fleet and protect convoys. 

HMAS Sydney had a short but busy and distinguished service career, the highlight being the sinking of the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni  in the Mediterranean in 1940.  However, on November 19, 1941, she was ambushed and sunk  by the German raider  Kormoran, in the Indian Ocean about 150 miles off Western Australia. 

Sydney's captain, Joseph  Burnett, had taken command of the cruiser in May, 1941. He was considered an officer of great experience and professional achievement.  However, Burnett fatally erred by approaching an unknown ship too closely on November 19, 1941, in an area where it was known German raiders were operating. 

Why Burnett waited to get within about 1500 yard (point-blank in naval terms) before asking for the other ship's secret call sign, a ship that was NOT listed on his plot, remains a mystery, as all 645 officers and men went down with the Sydney.  Why also, did Burnett not send his scouting aircraft to inspect the ship from a safe distance, particularly as she was giving garbled replies to his messages?  Also, Sydney was not properly "closed up" ready for action. True, her six inch turrents were manned, but most of her light guns were not and the Germans could see many men lounging about on the cruiser's deck.  The most charitable thing one can say for Burnett was that he was totally fooled by the German's disguise...In his defence, Kormoran bore a remarkable similarity to the ship she claimed to be, the Dutch merchant ship Straat Malakka and HMAS Sydney had experienced false raider sitings previously, also, it is easy to fight the battle on Monday morning, or in hindsight.

The German raider could not reply to Sydney's request for Straat Malakka's secret call sign, and her confusing messages had done their job of enticing the Australian ship in to point blank range.  Kormoran hoisted her German Navy colours and opened fire at close range. A hail of 5.9 inch and 37mm fire swept the Australian ship, killing many men and putting the bridge and fire control out of action.  Due to damaged fire-control systems, most of Sydney's return gunfire missed the German raider, but hits were scored and the Kormoran's engine room set afire. 

The ships drifted out of range after about 30 minutes of hectic action. Both were mortally wounded. The Kormoran's fire fighting gear had been destroyed so the crew had no choice but to abandon ship before the fire reached the ship's store of mines, which blew her apart.  They set to the boats, over 300 were later rescued. The Sydney was never seen again.  She had sustained devastating damage, much worse than Kormoran, and it is safe to assume that she sunk during the late evening of the 19th November 1941.  The only piece of HMAS Sydney ever recovered was a badly damaged Carley float, found eight days after the action and now on display in the Australian War Museum in Canberra..

Since that fateful day, many mysteries remain unanswered, and some people have tried to suggest a Japanese submarine was involved in the final disappearance of HMAS Sydney or some of her crew.. The evidence to support this is flimsy. The cruiser had taken numerous large calibre shell hits and at least one torpedo hit in the action. It is doubtful she survived long after the Kormoran lost sight of her, about 10 pm.  All her boats and rafts had almost certainly been smashed from the amount of gunfire she had received. Japan, although nearly ready for war, had not attacked yet. Her carrier forces were soon to strike Pearl Harbour in a surprise attack, so why potentially ruin that by attacking a single ship, or risk discovery, 18 days before?

HMAS Sydney was a victim of the fortunes of war, and unfortunately it appears, to incompetent leadership. She was a more powerful and faster ship than her final adversary, but the Kormoran had the vital element of surprise. Both ships remain forever off the WA  coast, a silent memorial to 725 brave men, both Australian and German, who gave their lives in service of their country. Lest we forget.

 

 

 

 

 

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