A Collection of Awards to the Q-Ship H.M.S. Penshurst

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Date of Auction: 4th March 2020

Sold for £800

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

The Great War D.S.M. awarded to Stoker T. Walmsley, Royal Naval Reserve, who was decorated for his bravery in anti-submarine operations aboard the Q-ship Penshurst, one of the most famous and highly decorated Q-ships of the War, in which ship he served from the commencement of her operations in the Spring of 1916 up until the occasion of her loss in the Irish Sea in December 1917

Distinguished Service Medal, G.V.R. (V.801 T. Walmsley, Sto. R.N.R. Anti-Submarine Opns. 1917) very fine £1,000-£1,400

Footnote

D.S.M. London Gazette 22 February 1918:
‘For services in action with enemy submarines’


Thomas Walmsley was born in 1866 in Liverpool and in 1893 he was employed as a Greaser on the ocean liner S.S. Tauric. He enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve in 1899 and from March 1911 until May 1914 he is recorded as being employed as an ‘On Shore Donkeyman’ for Leyland Line. He reported for duty with Royal Naval Reserve at Devonport Dock on 5 August 1914 and served in the battlecruiser H.M.S. Inflexible from August to October 1914 before returning to Vivid II for a year. Then, in December 1915, his next appointment was on ‘special service’, to the submarine repair and depot ship, H.M.S. Cyclops, at Scapa, under the Penshurst’s future Captain, Francis Henry Grenfell.

He joined the decoy ship H.M.S. Penshurst (a.k.a. Q.7) on 1 May 1916, aboard which vessel he served right up until it was lost. By the time she went down with her Ensign flying on Christmas Eve 1917, having been torpedoed, this legendary Q-Ship had accounted for two enemy submarines and seriously damaged three others. In all she was in action with enemy U-boats on eleven occasions over a two year period. Walmsley had been presented with his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal while serving in her on 17 May 1917 and was later awarded his share of the Penhursts’s prize money.

After the loss of the Penshurst, Walmsley was transferred to Impregnable from 23 February 1918 to 5 February 1919 at which time he was discharged to shore on demobilisation.

Sold with copied research.