The Medals of the Crafts Brothers: DSM Fort Alexandrovsk Veteran and Gallipoli Casualty
WWI Crafts Brothers Groups: DSM Fort Alexandrovsk Veteran and Gallipoli Casualty - DSM Group of Four to Private Albert Ernest Crafts, Royal Marine Light Infantry: Distinguished Service Medal, George V (PLY/8538. PTE. A.E. CRAFTS. R.M.L.I. CASPIAN SEA. 1918-1919); 1914-15 Star (PLY. 8538. PTE. A.E. CRAFTS, R.M.L.I.); British War Medal (PLY. 8538 PTE. A.E. CRAFTS. R.M.L.I.); and Victory Medal with MID Oak Leaf (un-named). Naming is impressed. Un-mounted, dark patinas on the silver medals, edge nicks on the DSM, paper residue on the reverse of the ribbons from previous board mounting, very fine. Accompanied by copies of his Service Records, Supplement to the London Gazette, pages 12507-10 (battle documentation and despatch related to the conduct of ratings "specially mentioned" at the action off Fort Alexandrovsk in May 1919, identifing Craft and his ship, "Emile Nobel", dated October 9, 1919), Supplement to the London Gazette, pages 13747-8 (stating that Crafts and eighteen others were to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for actions off Fort Alexandrovsk on May 21, 1919, dated November 11, 1919), plus originals of a Memorandum from The Registrar, Royal Fleet Reserve RMLI, Plymouth (confirming that Crafts was to receive the Distinguished Service Medal, dated November 19, 1919), Certificate of Service in the Royal Marines (entries from November 26, 1917 to July 14, 1924), Certificate of Service in the Royal Marines (confirming his mobilization on June 29, 1918 and demobilization on November 12, 1919, dated September 14, 1919) and Discharge Certificate (dated January 2, 1919). Gallipoli Casualty Pair to Colour Sergeant Frank Herbert Crafts, Royal Marine Light Infantry: British War Medal (CH. 6400 CR. SGT. F.N. CRAFTS. R.M.L.I.); and Victory Medal (CH. 6400 CR. SGT. F.N. CRAFTS. R.M.L.I.). Naming is impressed, his middle initial typed as an "N" instead of an "H". Un-mounted, dark patina on the BWM, paper residue on the reverse of the ribbons from previous board mounting, extremely fine. Accompanied by a copy his Service Records and an original Letter from the Admiralty, London (addressed to his father, Mr. W. (William) Crafts, accompanying the Clasp to the 1914 Star, BWM and VM "which would have been conferred upon him had he lived", dated December 12, 1924). Footnote: Albert Ernest Crafts was born on June 5, 1879, in Hucknall, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, the son of William and Mary Crafts of Sherwood, Nottinghamshire. He had one brother, Frank Herbert Crafts and one sister, Maude S. Crafts. He enlisted with the Royal Marines on April 20, 1897 in Nottingham, at the age of 17, naming his next-of-kin as his father, William and stating his trade was that of Baker. During his naval career, he is documented as having been attached to various bases and ships, including: Plymouth, Pique, Lion, Cornwallis, Hogue, Nile, Europa, Roxborough, Monmouth, Theseus, Adventure, Theseus II, Adventure, Amphion and awarded nine Good Conduct Badges. He is documented as having seen action aboard HMS Pique in China during the Boxer Rebellion, was wounded and later awarded the China Medal 1900 on April 1, 1903 (which has been lost to time). He was granted a Hurt Certificate on February 26, 1908, as he had the index finger on his left hand amputated. He was subsequently employed with the Plymouth Division, Royal Marine Light Infantry in the Great War and saw service aboard HMS Adventure between May 1915 and November 1917. Crafts was discharged on June 28, 1918 at Plymouth, in consequence of having completed twenty-one years' service. He was re-activated the next day for service, as part of the Caspian Sea Naval Force, and was a participant in the attack on Fort Alexandrovsk ion May 21, 1919. In mid-May 1919, Crafts sailed aboard the Emile Nobel as part of Rear-Admiral Seymour's Caspian Squadron, whose task was to observe Fort Alexandrovsk, which had recently fallen to the Bolsheviks. Just one day out of port, an enemy convoy was sighted and the Emile Nobel was credited with compelling the enemy to slip a number of barges after firing a few long range shots. These were later sunk and their crews made prisoner. A few days later she was again in action, successfully engaging the enemy destroyer Caspie and claiming another barge, the latter being hit by her third salvo and rapidly catching fire amidships. By this time the enemy's return fire was proving both accurate and heavy, the Emile Nobel being hit in the engine room and seriously damaged. Five of her crew were killed and another seven seriously wounded. Despite these losses, she rejoined the Squadron and participated in the subsequent attack on the harbour before Fort Alexandrovsk, inflicting with her consorts considerable damage on the enemy ships therein. Upon silencing the shore batteries, Seymour ordered the withdrawal of his force, stopping briefly the following morning to allow the burial of the Emile Nobel's dead. Shortly afterwards, he ordered her return to Petrovsk. In his subsequent despatch reporting the activities of the Caspian Squadron in May 1919, Rear-Admiral Seymour made special mention of the gallant Emile Nobel and among those picked out for especially good services was Albert Ernest Crafts, his rank being erroneously listed as Lance-Corporal. Crafts is mentioned in the London Gazette, pages 12507-10 on October 9, 1919, in a despatch as one of the conduct of ratings from the Emile Noble "specially mentioned" at the action off Fort Alexandrovsk in May 1919, with a full documentation of the encounter with the Bolsheviks and in the London Gazette, pages 13747-8 on November 11, 1919, stating that Crafts and eighteen others were to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for actions in the Caspian Sea off Fort Alexandrovsk on May 21, 1919. Crafts was finally demobilized on November 12, 1919, having received a share of the prize money allocated for the "destruction of Bolshevik armed vessels on 21 May 1919". The following year, he enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve on October 19, 1920, where he was to serve for the next forty-five months before being discharged on July 14, 1924 as "Medically Unfit". Footnote: Colour Sergeant Frank Herbert Crafts was born on July 7, 1874 in Hershnall, Herthwait, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, the son of William and Mary Crafts of Sherwood, Nottinghamshire. He had one brother, Albert Ernest Crafts and one sister, Maude S. Crafts. He enlisted with the Royal Marine Light Infantry as a Private, on July 7, 1892 in Derby, at the age of 18, naming his father as his next-of-kin and stating his trade was that of Baker. A little over four years later, Crafts was promoted to Corporal on October 25, 1896, then to Sergeant on January 19, 1900. He re-engaging on July 7, 1904. During his naval career, he is documented as having been attached to various bases and ships, including: HMS Victory, Alexandra, Hibernia, Renown, Royal Sovereign and was awarded the Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on July 7, 1907 (which has been lost to time). He was named Colour Sergeant on February 27, 1910, and had been the recipient of four Good Conduct Badges (in 1894, 1898, 1904, 1908) along the way. Crafts was discharged on July 6, 1913, having completed his term of service but was re-mobilized on August 2, 1914, with the outbreak of hostilities in WWI. He was serving at Dunkirk from September 19 to October 2, 1914, when he was wounded on the first day, later shifting to the Defence of Antwerp on October 3rd and was wounded again ten days later, on October 13th. Crafts was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Portsmouth Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Naval Division, beginning on February 28, 1915. He was wounded in action two months later at Gallipoli (Dardanelles) on April 28, 1915. He recovered enough from his wounds, to fight again but was killed in action on May 6, 1915, during the Gallipoli Campaign, at the age of 41 and is remembered with honour on the Helles Memorial, Panels 2 to 7. The Helles Memorial stands on top of the Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes the form of an obelisk over thirty metres high that can be seen by ships passing through the Darndanelles. It is worthy to note that all Portsmouth Battalion casualties recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having died on May 6, 1915 were most likely killed in the charge up Razor-Back Hill, Monash Valley on May 3rd, but may have been killed at Anzac Beachhead on any day between April 28 and May 3, 1915. The 1914 Star (which has been lost to time) was forwarded to his father, William Crafts, on October 18, 1919, the clasp for the Star (also lost to time), along with the British War Medal and Victory Medal presented here, were sent to his father on December 12, 1924.