A Collection of Medals to Offices and Ratings of H.M.S. Penelope

Date of Auction: 4th December 2008


Estimate: £150 - £200

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, dated reverse, 1 clasp, Alexandria 11th July (C. A. Jacobs, Lg. Sean., H.M.S. Penelope) an officially impressed replacement issue, circa 1895, contact marks, very fine £150-200


Charles Augustus Jacobs was born in Stepney, London in June 1858 and entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in July 1873. A Leading Seaman by the time of his service in H.M.S. Penelope (June to November 1882), he was advanced to Petty Officer 1st Class in February 1885, in which rate he joined Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon’s flagship Victoria in April 1893 - thus the reason behind the loss of his original Egypt & Sudan Medal, the latter famously colliding with the Camperdown while on exercises in the Mediterranean on 22 June of that year, and going down with 361 officers and ratings (see John Welch’s article “A Duplicate Medal”, the O.M.R.S. Journal, December 2007, for full details). Lucky indeed to have survived this calamity - quite a few men lost their lives sliding down the flagship’s stern, even though the screws were still turning - Jacobs received a grant of three guineas for his loss clothing and next joined the Repulse. As it transpired, this was his last seagoing appointment and he was pensioned ashore in June 1896. Jacobs died in Greenwich in August 1920.

Sold with an extensive file of research, including many illustrations, the majority in relation to the Victoria’s collision in June 1893. As recently as 2004 her wreck was found off Lebanon: ‘What was particularly dramatic about the discovery was that the Victoria was embedded in the seabed at an angle of 90 degrees, and was described as looking like a skyscraper’, her revolving screws and the weight of her forward turret and armour being the cause (John Welch’s article refers).