The Medals of Chief Petty Officer Herbert Tarr who Refused DSM
Medals of Chief Petty Officer Herbert "Jack" Tarr who Refused DSM - 1914-1915 Star (211957, H. TARR, P.O., R.N.); British War Medal (211957 H. TARR. ACT. C.P.O. R.N.); Victory Medal (211957 H. TARR. ACT. C.P.O. R.N.); War Medal 1939-1945; New Zealand War Service Medal; and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (211957 HERBERT TARR: P.O. H.M.S. AMPHITRITE.). Naming is officially impressed on four, the other two are un-named. Court-mounted without pinback, cleaned, very fine. Accompanied by a two level ribbon bar with ribbons for all six medals and the Distinguished Service Medal (not included in the medal grouping), a duotang folder with his military biography, original documents, including his Royal Navy Service Records, a Royal Navy Educational Certificate for Petty Officer, a recommendation letter from the New Zealand Magistrate's Court (dated March 18, 1925), a Marine Department of New Zealand Certificate of Competency as Engineer (dated September 5, 1934), a New Zealand River Service Certificate (dated September 7, 1934), a recommendation letter for the position of Harbourmaster in Whakatane (dated February 6, 1937), two New Zealand Boy Scout Warrants of Appointment (dated July 28 and August 12, 1922), along with numerous newpaper articles, a black and white photograph of a seated Tarr in dinner attire and sixteen black and white ship photographs. Documents are in good to fine condition. Footnote: Herbert "Jack" Tarr was born May 20, 1885 in Buckland, Portsmouth, England and was a Godson of Queen Victoria by proxy when he joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15. He served at the Greenwich Naval School, aboard the Boscawen, a three-deck sailing ship. During his very eventful naval career, he served at various bases and aboard or attached to various ships (including HMS Boscowan, Aboukiri, Vernon, Mercury, Thames, Bonaventure, Pembroke, Arrogant, Royal Arthur, Assistance, Hermoine, Magpie, Glory, Amphitrite, Blake, Vancouver, Greenwich, Columbine, Pembroke, Chatham, Philomel, Vindictive, Amphorite, Niger), along with three submarines (A2, A5, C10). He obtained the ranks of Boy 2nd Class in October 1900, Boy 1st Class in July 1901 and Ordinary Seaman in May 1903. In the summer of 1903, he was serving on board H.M.S. Aboukir in the Mediterreanean. With the black plague rampant, the ships landed at the Egyptian port of Alexandria, in order to bury the dead. There were men, women and children lying dead all over the city. Tarr was 18 at the time and in his own words, the Egyptians were "dying like flies. They were unable to cope with the disaster themselves - that was the reason we were called in." Every morning there were fresh bodies found in the streets where they had been thrown by relatives or friends. The sailors stacked the bodies in hand carts and took them away for burial. With the epidemic out of control, there was nothing the Egyptian authorities could do but let it take its course. Every day the sailors ran the risk of contracting the disease but they were safe, as they had been ordered to become chain smokers. Thousands of cigarettes were issued and although Tarr didn't smoke, he followed orders to do so. As a result, no sailors were lost, however, Tarr contracted a liking for tobacco and smoked for the rest of his life. He later obtained the ranks Able Seaman (1904), Leading Seaman (1908) and Petty Officer (1910) before WWI. He was one of the first men in the Royal Navy to serve on submarines. Life aboard submarines wasn't easy, as Tarr said "there weren't any bunks, we slept on the battery boards - small and cramped". He was not a tall man, yet he noted that "I bumped by head on the girders all the time." His first submarine was the A2 out of Portsmouth. In 1905, he had a close call with death, when during diving manoeuvres off the Isle of Wight, the sub dived and got tangled in some mooring cables. After about seven hours struggling to free the vessel and with their air supply running out, they managed to break free and came to the surface. He had two additional close calls on two other subs. In the early days, submariners not only volunteered for the job but generally, learned on the job. Soon after the episode with A2, Tarr transferred to A5, now with the rank of Petty Officer. The sub was being refitted from a previous accident and was at the floating dock in Portsmouth, when a tremendous explosion occurred. The submarine was charging her batteries and the crew were unaware that large quantities of escaping chlorine gas had accumulated under the battery board. It needed only one spark to set off an explosion complete with a blinding flash. The whole submarine rocked and swayed. It was pure luck that no one was killed, although one sailor who had his finger on the switchboard when the battery exploded, had the finger burnt off. By 1909, he was with C10 and had another narrow escape. They were at sea off the Thames Estuary, proceeding two lines ahead of another submarine, C11, on the way to attend the London Review. Everything appeared normal when travelling through the darkness, then there was a crash and C10 shuddered to a halt. Water began pouring in through a gaping hole in C10 after it had been struck by a merchant ship, the S.S. Addiston. The Addiston had hit C11 before striking C10, with C11 sinking immediately with only one survivor. The crew of C10 were still in trouble but fortunately, the escorting destroyer, H.M.S. Bonaventure was in the area. The Bonaventure fastened hawsers while pumps began operating. For several hours, the fate of C10 hung in the balance but gradually, the water was pumped out and temporary repairs were made. Tarr later became "Qualified in Submarines" on July 15, 1911. He was serving on H.M.S. Niger, an Alarm Class Torpedo Gunboat when the Great War broke out. On November 11, 1914, off Deal pier, the German submarine U 12 sank her with a torpedo about noon, fortunately, with no lives lost, the ship's company being taken off by the Deal and Kingsdown lifeboats. He then saw service in the English Channel on the Torpedo Boat 057. The battleship H.M.S. Glory saw him once again serving in the Mediterreanean and then concluded his War Service aboard the H.M.S. Amphitrite, a cruiser which had been converted into a minelayer serving in the North Sea. He later achieve the ranks of Acting Chief Petty Officer (1918) and Chief Petty Officer (1919). Post-WWI, during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1919, he served on the the H.M.S. Vancouver in the Baltic Sea and on July 27th, came into confrontation with the Russian submarine Vyepr. Although torpedos were launched at the Vancouver, it was the Vyper that was seriously damaged by depth charges dropped by Vancouver, which remained unscathed. The Russian submarine Ersk was also in the neighbourhood but was not damaged. In his records, under "Decorations", there is a portion that has been erased. It is said that for this action that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal but "turned it down", which would perhaps explain the erasure. In 1920, he made the decision to settle in New Zealand and was later pensioned accordingly in 1926. The following year, he was instrumental in forming the Vindictive Sea Scout Troop in Auckland, the first troop in New Zealand. He acquired work as a Harbourmaster-Launchman at Whakatane, attaining a Certificate of Competancy as an Engineer and was registered with the New Zealand River Service. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, and although he was now 55 and technically "over age", he was recalled for service with the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Chief Petty Officer on February 4, 1941, and assigned as a recruiting officer at Lyttelton. Almost two years later, he was demobilized on January 20, 1943. In 1945, Tarr moved to New Plymouth on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, where he became patron of the New Plymouth Ex-Royal Navalmen's Association and a life member of the Returned Services' Association. When he died at the age of 87, he left behind his wife and two stepdaughters, Valerie and Thelma.