Orders, Decorations and Medals (22 June 1999)

Date of Auction: 22nd June 1999

Sold for £2,000

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

A Great War D.S.O. group of nine awarded to Captain P. W. S. King, Royal Navy, Commanding H.M.S. Liberty at the battle of Jutland and awarded the D.S.O. for ramming and sinking the UC-46

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (Lt.Commr., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals, with oak leaf M.I.D. emblem (Lieut. Commr., R.N.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals; Russia, Order of St Anne, 3rd Class with swords, gold and enamels by Edouard, one sword blade lacking, together with original D.S.O. Warrant, two M.I.D. Certificates, dated 15th September 1916 and 4 October 1940, three photographs and a Lt-Cmdrs epaulette, the Great War medals mounted as originally worn, generally good very fine (9) £1200-1500

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 23 March 1917.

M.I.D. London Gazette 15 September 1916 (Jutland) and 4 October 1940.

Order of St Anne, 3rd Class with swords London Gazette 5 June 1917. Conferred by the Russian Government for distinguished service rendered in the Battle of Jutland.

Philip Wilfred Sidney King was born at Penge on 19 March 1881, and entered the training ship Britannia in May 1899, being appointed Midshipman in October 1900. He was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1906 and to Lieutenant Commander in June 1914, whilst commanding H.M.S. Flying Fish. He took command of H.M.S. Liberty in October 1915, in which ship he fought at the battle of Jutland as part of Admiral Tyrwhitt’s Harwich Force, attached to the Battle Cruiser Fleet (Mentioned in Despatches).

In the early hours of February 8th, 1917, H.M. Destroyer Liberty was patrolling in the Dover defile when, at just after 3 a.m., a large submarine was seen to break surface and lying almost at right angles to Liberty, slightly off the destroyer’s starboard bow but right in the centre of the moon’s rays. Straight for the conning-tower under the full moon the Liberty steered at full speed, firing one shot. Unfortunately this shot fell wide, and the flash from the gun blinded those on the bridge. Lieut.-Commander King therefore determined not to waste time but ram the German. Travelling at a speed of 24 knots, the destroyer hit the enemy a magnificent blow only two feet forward of the conning-tower. Despite the great speed and weight of the destroyer hitting a mere 420 German tons, the latter’s dull weight momentarily stopped the destroyer dead. Not put off by that, Lieut.-Commander King began dropping depth charges, which of course exploded to some purpose, and the fate of UC-46 was rapidly settled. It was discovered that the destroyer was beginning to leak quickly but it was later established beyond all doubt that she must have cut through the submarine to a depth of at least four feet. King was awarded the D.S.O. for his neat performance.

King was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 17 July 1930, with the rank of Captain. During the Second World War, he was appointed Deputy Sea Transport Officer at Falmouth and was mentioned in despatches in October 1940 ‘for good services over a period.’ Sold with copies of his service record, confirmation of the Russian Award from Admiralty records, and the official action reports for the sinking of the UC-46 (Oberlt. Fritz Moecke) which include a photograph of the considerable damage caused to the hull of H.M.S. Liberty.