Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (5 April 2006)

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Date of Auction: 5th April 2006

Sold for £140

Estimate: £80 - £100

Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue (MX. 46498 P. H. R. Balls, C.E.R.A., H.M.S. Bermuda) minor official correction to ship name, extremely fine £80-100


Philip Henry Reed Balls was mentioned in despatches for his services in the Far East aboard H.M.S. Speaker (London Gazette 11 June 1946). An escort carrier, the Speaker won a Battle Honour for “Okinawa 1945”, which operations from the naval perspective are best remembered for regular attack from Japanese “Kamikaze” aircraft. One of the Speaker’s final wartime-related duties was to bring back 500 ex-P.O.Ws from Tokyo Bay to Sydney in September 1945, a memorable event indeed, for the ship’s companies of every Allied ship in the Bay gave them a rousing send-off that ‘no one who saw it would ever forget.’

He had earlier been awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal while serving in the cruiser Bermuda in February 1943, a date that suggests he was aboard her for the period relevant to all of her Battle Honours, namely “North Africa 1942”, “Arctic 1943” and “Atlantic 1943”. In the North Africa landings, as part of the assault force off Algiers, she was repeatedly attacked by enemy torpedo-bombers at dusk on 8 November 1942, but somehow escaped damage. Her susbequent part in Arctic convoy escort work was temporarily curtailed in late 1943, when she was damaged by heavy seas when returning from Murmansk, but not before she had acted as flagship in a strike against enemy shipping off Norway a few weeks earlier.