Orders, Decorations and Medals (21 September 2007)

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Date of Auction: 21st September 2007

Sold for £2,300

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 1 clasp, Algiers (John H. Helby, Midshipman) small edge bruise, otherwise good very fine £1200-1400

Footnote

John Hasler Helby entered the Navy on 1 June 1807, as a First Class Volunteer aboard the Success in which ship, over the next four years, he enjoyed an eventful period of service. He attended the expedition to Madeira in 1807, assisted at the reduction of Ischia and Procida in 1809. He ‘was in her boats on several cutting out expeditions,’ and co-operated, as Midshipman, in the defence of Sicily against the threatened invasion of Murar, when he ‘commanded an Anglo-Sicilian “Scampivia”. Among other boat-services, he contributed, on 4 April 1810, to the destruction of two vessels laden with oil which were under the protection of heavy gunfire from the beach, near Castiglione. On the 25th of the same month he assisted at the capture of an armed ship and three barks, under the castle of Terracina. Removed, in 1811, to the Cerberus Helby was again employed on many cutting-out affairs, some of them of a very dashing nature, on the coasts of Corfu and Italy. On one occasion, however, while absent in a prize, he was wrecked on the Calabrian shore and held prisoner for three months. After a brief return to England he again sailed to the Mediterranean, in the Phoenix, under Captain Charles Austen, and was present in ‘a smart action and capture of two pirates in the Archipeligo in 1815’. After having been very actively employed in further boat-service actions, he was again shipwrecked, near Smyrna, on 20 February 1816. On this occasion he greatly distinguished himself by his daring conduct in swimming on shore through a violent surf with a hauling-line, for the purpose of receiving a hawser to save the ships company. Volunteering to remain in the Mediterranean, Helby became successively attached to the Boyne and Queen Charlotte, both flagships of Lord Exmourh. He came under his Lordship's notice for the extreme gallantry of his behaviour at the ensuing battle of Algiers for which he received a medal. Helby was promoted Commander in 1847 having held several commands in the Revenue Service and Coast Guard. Sold with extensive research, including a copy of his Memorandum of Services, May 1846.