A WWI DSM for Service on the Armed Steam Yacht James Fletcher
A WWI DSM for Service on the Armed Steam Yacht James Fletcher - Distinguished Service Medal, George V (116282. C. REID. P.O. 1 CL. JAMES FLETCHER. AUX. PAT. 1915-6.); 1914-15 Star (116282, C. REID, P.O. 1., R.N.); British War Medal (116282 C. REID. P.O. 1 R.N.); Victory Medal (116282 C. REID. P.O. 1 R.N.); and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Victoria, narrow suspension (CHARLES REID, P.O. 1 CL., H.M.S. PEMBROKE.). Naming is officially impressed on the first four medals, the RNLSGCM is officially re-impressed. Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, cleaned, light contact, very fine. Accompanied by copies of his Service Records and the London Gazette 29668 of Friday July 14, 1916 (noting the award of the DSM to Reid), along with assorted research papers. Footnote: Charles Reid was born on March 18, 1866 in Miltit, Fermanagh, Ireland. He entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on May 11, 1881, at the age of 15, becoming a Leading Seaman on November 25, 1889 and subsequently, attaining the rank Petty Officer 1st Class on January 23, 1892. He served aboard numerous ships between his entry into the Royal Navy in 1881 and his transfer to the Royal Fleet Reserve in March 1904, including: Impregnable, Agincourt, Royal Adelaide, Raleigh, Indus, Cambridge, Defiance, Undaunted, Pembroke, Amphion, Empress of India, Curacao and Cleopatra. For his long service in the Royal Navy, he was awarded the Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in September 1894. Upon the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, Reid was recalled for service, at the age of 48, aboard the armed steam yacht James Fletcher from January 1915 until the end of the First World War, a period that witnessed a good deal of work alongside monitors and drifters in bombardments off Dunkirk and Zeebrugge, particularly in the autumn of 1915. However, it was for the vessel's U-Boat ramming claim, in early 1916, that Reid most likely received his Distinguished Service Medal, in the capacity of Coxswain. His award of the DSM was announced in the London Gazette 29668 of Friday July 14, 1916 on the same date, page 7066: "Petty Officer, 1st Class, Charles Reid, O.N. 116282; (R.F.R. Dev/A.1280)", mentioned as follows: "The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have received with much satisfaction from the officers in charge of the Auxiliary Patrol areas at home and abroad reports on the services performed by officers and men serving under their orders during the period 1 January 1915 to 31 January 1916. These reports show that the officers and men serving in Armed Yachts, Trawlers and Drifters of the Auxiliary Patrol during the period in question have carried out their duties under extremely hazardous conditions of weather and exposure to enemy attack and mines with marked zeal, gallantry and success." His skipper, Commander E.L.B. Boothby, received a Distinguished Service Order on the same occasion: "Early in January 1916, the James Fletcher had a stroke of good luck. When patrolling at night off the South Goodwin she rammed an enemy submarine, which was travelling at a good speed on the surface, apparently steering about west. She struck her two distinct blows separated by a grating noise along the side of the ship of about two seconds’ duration. The submarine was first struck a slanting blow just abaft her conning-tower, fairly hard. The second blow struck her very hard on her tail frame, practically stopping all the way on the James Fletcher. The James Fletcher claimed that the enemy vessel must have been filled and sunk, as her hatches were open and men were on the deck; the officer of the watch reported that he distinctly heard voices talking, and saw the submarine was only about ten yards off on his starboard bow, and when hit she heeled over to a considerable angle. The James Fletcher was examined on the mud subsequent to this, and various indications of a recent collision were found below the waterline. The James Fletcher received the usual reward for the destruction of this submarine." Reid was present at another serious U-Boat encounter off Dover in August 1918, when the James Fletcher and the drifter J. Burn delivered a devastating depth-charge attack against famous ace Kapitain-Leutnant Hundius in UB-103. It has been written, that he was so badly shaken by the impact of these "wasser boms", that it caused him to sail into a minefield a month later, rather than risk another depth-charging from some circling drifters. For his First World War service, Reid was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.