The Barrett J. Carr Collection of Boer War Medals

Date of Auction: 7th March 2007

Sold for £720

Estimate: £600 - £800

A rare Great War Gallipoli operations French Medaille Militaire group of seven awarded to Chief Petty Officer W. M. Barry, Royal Navy

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902
, 1 clasp, Cape Colony (P.O. 1 Cl., H.M.S. Naiad); Africa General Service 1902-56, 1 clasp, Somaliland 1902-04 (P.O. 1 Cl., H.M.S. Naiad); 1914-15 Star (157657 C.P.O., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (157657 C.P.O., R.N.); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (157657 P.O. 1 Cl., H.M.S. Excellent); French Medaille Militaire, the last with chipped reverse enamel, light contact marks, occasional edge bruising and a little polished, otherwise generally very fine (7) £600-800

Footnote

Ex Captain K. J. Douglas-Morris collection, 12 February 1997 (Lot 337).

117 two-clasp Queen’s South Africa Medals were awarded to the ship’s company of H.M.S. Naiad, Barry also being entitled to the “South Africa 1901” clasp.

William Barry was born in Margate, Kent in January 1875 and entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in October 1892. Advanced to Petty Officer 2nd Class in November 1896 and to Petty Officer 1st Class in March 1899, he subsequently served in H.M.S. Naiad from March 1901 to August 1904, in which period he qualified for his Queen’s South Africa and Africa General Service Medals. He was awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in 1908.

Barry was advanced to Chief Petty Officer in August 1910 and joined the battleship Queen Elizabeth in December 1914, aboard which ship he won his French M.M. for services in the Dardanelles in 1915, one of just four such awards to the R.N. for this period and theatre of war (London Gazette 15 September 1916 refers).

The Queen Elizabeth flew the flag of Vice-Admiral J. M. de Robeck during the Dardanelles operations of 1915, and of all the capital ships employed in that theatre, she was one of the most actively engaged. Carrying out a successful bombardment with her 15-inch guns of the Turkish Narrows forts from a position off Gabe Tepe in early March 1915, she went on to witness the famous landings in the following month, when Sir Ian Hamilton used her as his ‘mobile H.Q.’ off the beach heads. Off Helles, as evidenced by Hamilton’s own account, one of her shells saved an advancing British unit:

‘At a trot they came on ... their bayonets glittering and their officer yards in front waving his sword, Crash! and the Queen Elizabeth let fly a shrapnel [shell], range 1200 yards, a lovely shot; we followed it through the air with our eyes. Range and fuse - perfect! The huge projectile exploded fifty yards from the Turkish right and vomited its contents of 10,000 bullets clean across the stretch whereon the Turkish company was making its last effort. When the dust and smoke cleared away nothing stirred on the whole of that piece of ground.’

Admiral Sackville Carden, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, was requested, in late May 1915, to nominate six officers or men to receive decorations for gallantry, who had take part in operations in the Dardanelles between 19 February and 27 May 1915, and accordingly submitted six names, including Barry’s, in an official bulletin dated 4 December 1915 - two for ‘Crosses of the Legion d’Honneur’ and four for Medailles Militaire, the whole being approved and delivered to the Admiralty for subsequent presentation; a superb painting depicting the Queen Elizabeth bombarding the Turkish Narrows forts in March 1915, by Norman Wilkinson, forms part of the Imperial War Museum’s collection.

Barry came ashore to an appointment at the gunnery establishment Excellent in October 1917 and remained employed in that capacity until being ‘discharged dead’ from the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar on 25 February 1918, the cause of death being given as nephritis. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.