Orders, Decorations and Medals (22 June 1999)

Date of Auction: 22nd June 1999

Sold for £4,700

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

An important Great War group to Admiral Arthur Hayes-Sadler, C.S.I., Royal Navy, Senior Naval Officer during the Persian Gulf operations 1914-15, for which he was awarded the C.S.I.

The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, C.S.I., neck badge in gold and enamels, the motto set with small diamond chips around central carved cameo bust of Queen Victoria; Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, 1 clasp, Alexandria 11 July (Midn., R.N., H.M.S. Sultan); 1914-15 Star (R.Adml., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals, with oak leaf M.I.D. emblem (R. Adml., R.N.); Khedive’s Star 1882; Legion of Honour, Commander’s neck badge in gold and enamels, 58 mm, the five medals mounted as worn and the group contained in a contemporary fitted carrying case, the Egypt medal with light pitting, otherwise good very fine or better (7) £4000-5000


The group is accompanied by the following items:

i Two Midshipman’s Logs covering the period 3 February 1879 to 20 June 1883. Both are profusely illustrated with maps, plans of ships, sketches and watercolours. The first volume begins with a superb frontispiece in ink and watercolours, the second volume containing a detailed description of the battle of Alexandria with watercolour illustrations of the forts being bombarded.

ii Personal diaries kept by Rear Admiral Hayes-Sadler for the years 1917 and 1918. Although his writing is at times difficult to read, these diaries contain much detail of historic importance of the final two years of the war.

iii Original Warrant for the C.S.I., dated 4 May 1916, and bearing the signatures of the King and Austen Chamberlain. This was one of only three operational awards of the Star of India given to Naval officers during the entire Great War.

iv Original parchment Warrant for the Legion of Honour, dated Paris 5 February 1915.

v Three Masonic awards, two in silver-gilt and enamels, including the St John Lodge, and one in silver, 1914-18, this named (Bro. Rear-Admiral, No. 2612).

Admiral Arthur Hayes-Sadler was born on 9 October 1865, in Spa, Belgium, son of Sir James Hayes-Sadler, K.C.M.G. He entered the Royal Navy via H.M.S.
Britannia, 15 January 1877, and served in various ships until appointed Midshipman on 21 June 1879. In H.M.S. Sultan, he witnessed the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882 and served ashore with the Naval Brigade shortly afterwards. He was thereafter promoted Sub-Lieutenant, 21 June 1883; Lieutenant, 30 June 1886; Commander, 1 January 1890; Captain, 30 June 1904; Rear-Admiral, 19 July 1915; Vice-Admiral, 3 November 1919, and Admiral (Retired), 1st August 1924.

In October 1914, Hayes-Sadler was ordered to the Persian Gulf in the battleship Ocean, to conduct operations against the Turks. The key to the Gulf then, as now, was Basra, the great emporium of Mesopotamian trade, situated seventy mils up the Shatt-al-Arab. On 19 October, Ocean made a rendezvous with Dufferin and elements of the Gulf Expeditionary Force, under Brigadier-General W. S. Delamain, and reached Bahrain four days later. On the 31st, the Admiralty sent authority to begin hostilities against Turkey. By 3rd November, the convoy was off the outer bar of the Shatt-al-Arab, which Ocean could not cross. Next day, Hayes-Sadler armed various tugs and launches, and prepared to force a passage past the Turkish fort at Fao which guarded the entrance to the river. The following morning he set forth in the sloop Odin with an armed tug, and having silenced Fao’s guns, landed a party of Ocean’s Marines and some 600 troops who threw the enemy’s ordnance into the river. By 10th November, the whole of General Delamain’s force was ashore at Saniyeh awaiting reinforcements under Lieutenant-General A. A. Barrett. All in all a smart piece of work.

Under German influence, a Jihad had been declared and therefore prompt action was everything. On the 17th, the land forces advanced, supported by Hayes-Sadler’s sloops, Odin and Espiegle, and two armed launches, providing fire from the river. Having put the enemy to flight, an entrenched camp was established at Sahil, and the wounded evacuated, preparatory to a strike on Basra. It was then learned that the Turks had attempted to block the Shatt-al-Arab with the sunken Hamburg-Amerika liner and two smaller vessels. Accordingly, next day Hayes-Sadler went upstream to see what could be made of the obstacle. As he approached he was fired on by a 500-ton gunboat, the Marmariss, by an armed launch and by a battery of 15-pounder Krupp guns. Espeigle replied with such effect that the launch was sunk, the battery silenced and the Marmariss put to flight, without the sloop suffering a single hit. Having ascertained that the obstruction could be cleared to afford a passage, Hayes-Sadler returned to the scene the following day. However, the clearance work had hardly begun when a launch appeared with a deputation from Basra, confirming the rumour that the garrison, evidently in awe of the Espeigle’s performance, had fled and pleading the British to come up and save the city from looting Arabs.

To secure Basra, and capitalize on this success, it was proposed to proceed a further 45 miles to Kurnah on the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. During the early days of December, Hayes-Sadler spent much of his time in advance of the main force, conveying troops of the Kurnah detachment, finding suitable landing places, negotiating the uncharted shallows of the river and giving supporting fire. Finally on 8 December, two battalions of the 110th Light Infantry

and 104th Rifles, and a Mountain battery, under Colonel Frazer, crossed the Tigris and made a concerted attack on Kurnah. However, it was felt that it was too late in the day to engage in street fighting and the attack was halted. The river flotilla continued firing until sunset and held their positions in readiness for the attack next day. Kurnah, though, had had enough, and early in the middle watch a steamer flying a flag of truce approached. Hayes-Sadler, being unable to communicate with the Generals, then took the surrender of the Turks. Thus, within a matter of weeks from the declaration of war on Turkey, Britain had a firm hold on the water-gate of Mesopotamia. On 13 December he sailed in
Ocean for Suez, where he was to become Senior Naval Officer until further orders.

In early 1915, Hayes-Sadler took part in the unsuccessful attempt to neutralize the forts that dominated the straits of the Dardanelles. On 4th March, Ocean was shelling Sedd-el-Bahr in support of survey and beach parties. At noon, Major Palmer, R.M.L.I., responded to a signal from the battleship to report on progress ashore, and communicated that he could not advance without a further 200 men, which Hayes-Sadler at once made ready. However, this request was denied by General Totman viewing operations from Irresistable, with the end result that the troops were forced to retire to the destroyers from which they had started.

On the 18th, a second attempt was made under a revised plan which gave Hayes-Sadler command of the Second Division, comprising the 3rd, 4th, and 5th sub-Divisions. At 1.45, Admiral de Roebeck ordered the Second Division to relieve the French line which until then had been engaged in hazardous close work. As Hayes-Sadler’s ships took up their positions, the French ship Bouvet was hit with the loss of some 600 men. Closing to a range of 10,600 yards from the shore positions, the ships of the Second Division engaged their respective forts and used their secondary armament against the guns firing on the boats which were rescuing survivors of the Bouvet. By 5.10, the Irresistable was sinking and Hayes-Saddler was standing by to tow her out of action, but the former’s list, combined with the considerable cross-fire made it quite impossible. And so under a heavy fire from Dardanos and Saundere, the Ocean began to withdraw. At about five past six, a sudden heavy explosion announced that she had struck a mine, and almost simultaneously a shell found its mark, causing Ocean to take a list of 15°. Fortunately, Hayes-Sadler was able to signal three passing destroyers, the Colne, Jed and Chelmer, and evacuate the crew, albeit still under fire. However, after dark it was found that four men had accidently been left aboard and Hayes-Sadler returned in Jed to take them off, leaving the abandoned Ocean to her fate.

From August 1916, Rear-Admiral Hayes-Sadler commanded the British detachment in the Aegean, with his flag in Exmouth and then in Implaccable. He went onto the retired list in 1924 and died on 9 February 1952.