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eMedals-A DSC & Bar Miniature Group for the Sinking of U-162

Item: GB4845

A DSC & Bar Miniature Group for the Sinking of U-162



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A DSC & Bar Miniature Group for the Sinking of U-162

A DSC & Bar Miniature Group for the Sinking of U-162 - Distinguished Service Cross, George VI GRI with Second Award Bar (silver, 19.5 mm); 1939-1945 Star (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm): Atlantic Star (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm); Africa Star, 1 Clasp - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm); Burma Star (bronze, 19 mm x 22 mm); Defence Medal (silver, 18.5 mm); War Medal 1939-1945 (silver, 18.5 mm); Naval General Service Medal 1915-1962, 1 Clasp - S.E. ASIA 1945-6 (silver, 18 mm); and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal 1937 (silver, 18 mm). Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, as worn by the veteran, original ribbons, light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a Reproduction Photograph of de Chair (in uniform standing beside his wife and wearing his Fullsize Medal group, black and white, 108 mm x 179 mm), along with a copy of his Service Records and assorted research papers. Footnote: Henry Graham Dudley de Chair was born on September 10, 1905, the son of Sir Dudley de Chair. His father had been one of Admiral Jellicoe's Admirals at Jutland and made his reputation blocking Germany's northern ports while in Command of the 10th Cruiser Squadron. The young Henry Graham Dudley de Chair joined HMS Dreadnought, the flagship of his father, Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair, as a school boy at the age of 12, towards the end of the war. He was to see some live action, as the AA guns of HMS Dreadnought shot down a German Gotha bomber that had ventured too close to the warship. His father would later become the twenty-fifth Governor of New South Wales, Australia. Henry Graham Dudley de Chair officially joined service in the Royal Navy on May 15, 1919, at the age of 13, entering the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. In the mid-1920s, he was to see three promotions: to Acting Sub-Lieutenant on January 15, 1926, to Sub-Lieutenant on August 30, 1926, and to Lieutenant on October 16, 1928. His first ship service was on the Mediterranean Fleet flagship HMS Iron Duke, followed by postings with the Destroyer HMS Wivern and the Sloop HMS Laburnham in New Zealand. In his memoirs, entitled "Let Go Aft: The Indiscretions of a Salt Horse" published in 1993, he described a merry picture of self-confident sea power and an uncomplicated enthusiasm among the young officers of the Royal Navy. In 1928, HMS Laburnham untook a huge voyage visiting virtually all the dependencies of the Pacific. By 1929, the young de Chair found himself having to call his father "Your Excellency" in his role as aide-de-camp to the Governor of New South Wales. He served on HMS Nelson as part of the Home Fleet in 1931, and was witness in September of that year to the Invergordon Mutiny, during a time of much social disturbance. The protest was caused as much by poor leadership and communications as by the Government's ill-considered pay cuts. He served on HMS Venetia in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935 and was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander on October 16, 1936. He married Patricia Ramsey in 1936 and the couple were to have one daughter and two sons together. His first command was with the Destroyer HMS Wrestler in 1936, based at Portsmouth and he was later awarded the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal 1937. He was posted to the S-Class Destroyer HMS Scout in 1937 and would remember his time with her for the wrong reasons. De Chair was court-martialled, dismissed his ship and reprimanded after HMS Scout had ran aground in the Thames Estuary in 1938, while conducting gunnery trials. His officer of the watch set the wrong course and put HMS Scout ashore on a sandbank. The career-affecting disaster was made better by the letters of encouragement and support that he received from many senior officers who spoke of his high reputation, one of which was Admiral Lord Cork and Orrery, who had drawn attention to his own similar experience. The offending officer of the watch went on to become a Circuit Judge. De Chair resumed his career, serving an explanatory tour as the gas, ventilation and sports and boats officer of the Battleship HMS Royal Sovereign in 1938. When the smoke had cleared over the HMS Scout incident, he was named Lieutenant Commander and given command of the S-Class Destroyer HMS Thracian (D 86), with the Hong Kong Local Defence Flotilla on August 14, 1938. He arrived in Singapore with his wife on the day of the Munich crisis and did not return home until 1941. There was a distinct period of increasing Japanese intransigence, with their war with the Chinese affecting the rights and conditions of many third party nations and de Chair found himself a day-to-day proconsul for Britain's interests and the safety of her citizens in Swatow, Canton and the Pearl River. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, he assumed command of the V-Class Destroyer HMS Vimy (D 33) on May 20, 1941, in the rank of Lieutenant Commander. HMS Vimy would see action in September 1941, sinking the Italian submarine Alessandro Malespina. As Escort Force Commander, De Chair's clever tactic surprised a submarine following his convoy on the surface and the four depth charge attacks that followed produced "three loud eerie booms", other breaking-up noises, along with a long slick of oil. He was not credited or decorated for this action, as insufficient hard evidence meant that he had to wait for postwar confirmation of the sinking by the Italian Foreign Office. HMS Vimy would later enter the Caribbean theatre. Three British destroyers, HMS Vimy, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Quentin, had escorted the damaged battleship Queen Elizabeth to the United States for repair and were on their way to Trinidad, when they were suddenly alerted to the presence of a faulty German torpedo which was running on the surface. It was launched by U-162, a Type IXC U-Boat, made of Krupp steel and had been laid down on April 19, 1940 at Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG, at Seebeck Yard in Bremerhaven, Germany. She had been launched on March 1, 1941 and commissioned under the command of Lieutenant Commander (Korvettenkapitän) Jürgen Wattenberg on September 9th of that year. During three war patrols, U-162 had sank fourteen vessels. Just four days after sinking Star of Oregon, she was detected northeast of Trinidad, on September 3, 1942, the three British destroyers hunting down U-162, in order to sink her. Counter-attacks and searches ended when HMS Vimy sighted U-162 trying to escape on the surface. When the U-Boat finally came in sight, HMS Vimy was racing off at a tangent with U-162 broad on her port bow. In the destroyer, full port wheel was put on and she heeled alarmingly, clawing round to port in her attempt to ram the U-Boat. At that moment, the bridge personnel realized that instead of ramming, they were going to be rammed. U-162 was also under full helm and coming for Vimy's engine room. The destroyer went from full port wheel to full starboard wheel in her attempt to get away. The U-Boat could easily have ripped its way through the destroyer's thin side plates and de Chair was acting to save his ship. Vimy rolled to port and started clawing her way round to starboard as she fought to get away. Vimy's violent swing away saved her and the U-Boat only hit her a glancing blow, that just dented the plates. The damage from the glancing blow was minor, but the aftermath was crippling. The racing destroyer with full starboard wheel on was skidding to port, and the U-Boat ended up sliding along the destroyer's side. Alongside U-162, de Chairremarked that "no textbook nor anti-submarine course catered for a situation like this". The hardened Krupp steel of the U-Boat's pressure hull came into contact with the destroyer's port propellers. Vimy came to stop some distance off, minus one of her propellers. At this stage, it is probable that if Lieutenant Commander Wattenburg had steerageway, he could have turned and emptied his torpedo tubes at the destroyer, but he had finally given up. His U-Boat had a damaged pressure hull, diving plates, rudders and no listening gear, with three destroyers in contact. The U-Boat's crew were ordered up onto the casing. To the watchers on Vimy's bridge, the sight of German sailors on the casing dressed in shorts and swimming trunks looked very suspicious. It was possible they were giving up, but then there could be others down below who would dive the boat and escape. Those on the Vimy decided that what they would were witnessing was a ruse, and the damaged destroyer gathered way on her single propeller. As Vimy steamed past the sinking hull of U-162, a single depth charge left her launcher and landed in the sea alongside the stricken boat. The blast from the charge going off with its shallow setting, flung all the Germans from the the U-Boat's casing into the sea. By the time Vimy, manoeuvring with difficulty, could get close again, only the top of U-162's conning tower was visible. U-162 went to her watery grave on the underwater ridge between the Barbados and Tobago Basins. The chief engineer went with her. He had been responsible for getting U-162 going after the punishing depth charge attacks, and now his responsibility was to ensure that she sank. He died down below opening the sea cocks when the dept charge went off. One other sailor was lost, probably during the explosion of the last charge. HMS Pathfinder and HMS Quentin were now on scene and the destroyers picked up forty-nine survivors, including Wattenburg. They were taken prisoner and sent to camps in the United States, where they were to remain for the rest of the war. The prisoners gave American interrogators information about U-162's history, including where and when she was laid down, how many ships she sank and details about her home port and the design and layout of submarines that were in her class. U-Boat Commander Jürgen Wattenburg was later named Captain at Sea (Kapitän zur See). For his in battle actions decisions and the subsequent sinking of U-162 and the capturing of its crew, on September 3, 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Henry Graham Dudley de Chair, HMS Vimy, Royal Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, as mentioned in the Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette 35833 of Friday, December 18, 1942, on Tuesday, December 22, 1942, page 5566. He was invested with his DSC on April 6, 1943. His service with HMS Vimy concluded on December 1, 1942 and he was promoted to Commander on December 31, 1943. De Chair assumed the role of Commander of the V-Class Destroyer HMS Venus (R 50) on October 16, 1944, and would do so until December 16, 1945. The British began a search and destroy operation in May 1945, called Operation Dukedom, that would ultimate result in the sinking of the Japanese cruiser Haguro and become the last classic destroyer action of the war. The Haguro had been operating as a supply ship for Japanese garrisons in the Dutch East Indies and the Bay of Bengal sinceMay 1st. During the Battle of the Malacca Strait, sometimes called the Sinking of the Haguro, and in Japanese sources as the Battle off Penang, on May 16, 1945, Captain (later Admiral Sir Manley) Powers manoeuvred his destroyer flotilla of five ships, in order to intercept the Japanese heavy cruiser Hagaro, which was accompanied by the destroyer Kamikaze. Both ships were moving northward from Singapore to support the Japanese evacuations of the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. HMS Venus, commanded by de Chair, was the first to detect Hagaro on radar at an exceptionally long range. The destroyer attack was organized to surround the target in a "star pattern". Harago's eight-inch guns inflicted damage on Power's ship, but multiple torpedo hits, including a "coup de grace" from HMS Venus eventually sank her. Kamikaze escaped to recover survivors the next day. For his actions that day that led to the sinking of the Hagaro, Henry Graham Dudley de Chair DSC, Commander of HMS Venus, Royal Navy, was awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Service Cross, as mentioned in the Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette 37271 of Friday, September 14, 1945, on Tuesday, September 18, 1945, page 4637. For his Second World War service, de Chair was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Africa Star with the North Africa 1942-43 Clasp, the Burma Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal 1939-1945 and the Naval General Service Medal 1915-1962 with South East Asia 1945-6 Clasp. After the war, de Chair was given a number of appointments of varying congeniality, the most satisfying of which were Second-in-Command of the Naval Air Station at St Merryn and of the Third Submarine Squadron Depot Ship Montclere at Rothesay. Having been passed over for further promotion, he retired on September 10, 1955, his Royal Navy service totalling thirty-six years and four months. Upon his departure from the navy, he was four years in command of the three-master Baltic Schooner Prince Louis owned by the Moray Outward Bound Sea School, during which time he said he learned more about the sea than in all his time in the Royal Navy. His marriage to Patricia had been previously dissolved and in 1960, he married Lady Harcourt, widow of Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt. That same year, he became Development Officer for the Hertfordshire Association of Boys' Clubs and would assume this role for the next eight years, before leaving the position in 1968. De Chair died on January 5, 1995, at the age of 89, survived by his second wife, along with his three children from his first marriage. His younger brother was Somerset Struben de Chair, born on August 22, 1911. The younger de Chair had been a Conservative MP, a poet, an author and a soldier during his career. He served during the Second World War and was on the Reserve of Officers when he joined the Household Cavalry upon the outbreak of the war. Somerset Struben de Chair served in the Middle East and saw action during the Iraqi and Syrian campaigns, where he suffered wounds bad enough to have him invalided out in 1942. Ironically, both brothers died on the same day: January 5, 1995, with Somerset Struben de Chair passing away in Antigua, at the age of 83.
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