Medals from the Collection of David Lloyd
Date of Auction: 17th February 2021
Sold for £2,600
Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800
Distinguished Service Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse hallmarked London 1943, officially dated ‘1944’ and privately engraved ‘E. C. Goffe’, with its Garrard, London, case of issue; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Arctic Star; Africa Star; Burma Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue (J. 102771 E. C. Goffe, P.O., H.M.S. Vernon.) mounted for display, good very fine (10) £1,400-£1,800
FootnoteD.S.C. London Gazette 13 June 1944: ‘For courage and skill in H.M. Ships Anthony and Exmoor in actions with U-boats.’
The original recommendation states: ‘For zeal, devotion to duty and presence of mind when, after being dazed by the near explosion of an H.E. shell, he rallied the depth charge personnel who were all affected by the explosion, and successful reloaded the depth charges, meanwhile directing Able Seaman Balch and Leading Seaman Brown to render safe the depth charges which had been damaged by shell splinters.’
Eric Clarence Goffe was born at Little Kingsmill, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, on 23 August 1904 and entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in June 1921. He gained steady advancement, being appointed Petty Officer and awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in July 1937.
The outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 found him serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the destroyer H.M.S. Douglas, in which capacity he was employed on anti-U-boat operations; in the very same month Douglas recovered survivors from the S.S. Tafna, a victim of the U-37. In January 1940, Douglas was back in action in the defence of Gibraltar-bound convoy OG. 15F, when she attacked and damaged the U-44. Having then made a valuable contribution to diversionary work undertaken by Force H, she returned to duties in the Home Fleet.
In April 1941, having been transferred to the 2nd Escort Group in Western Approaches command, Douglas was heavily engaged in support of convoy HX. 121, and she depth-charged and sank the U-65, south-east of Iceland, on the 28th. Then, in June 1942, she was nominated for support in the passage of convoys PQ. 17 and QP. 13, the outcome of the former requiring little explanation here; on 4 July the convoy was scattered on Admiralty orders, with terrible consequences.
In October 1943, whilst employed at torpedo establishment Vernon, Goffe was appointed a Temporary Acting Gunner (T.), R.N., and it was in the same rank that he went on to win his D.S.C. for gallant services in the destroyer H.M.S. Anthony on the occasion of the destruction of the U-761 off Gibraltar on 24 February 1944, a confirmed 'kill' enacted with the assistance of her consort, H.M.S. Wishart. The U-Boat, which had been located by use of Coastal Command aircraft fitted with Magnetic Anomaly Detector (M.A.D.) equipment, was scuttled in the Strait of Gibraltar, north of Tangier, with a loss of nine dead.
Goffe suffered perforated ear drums on this same occasion but kept his depth-charge team rallied and in action and was awarded the D.S.C. His injuries, however, prevented him from seeing further active service and he was invalided and placed on the Retired List as a Gunner (T.), R.N., in July 1948. He died in Sutton, Surrey in August 1999.
Sold with a quantity of original documentation and photographs, including: Admiralty letter of notification for the award of the recipient's D.S.C., together with a congratulatory Naval Message; copies of The Hampshire Telegraph & Post, 16 June 1944, announcing the recipient's award of the D.S.C., and The Naval Chronicle, 25 May 1945, with a front-page photograph of him, and family, outside Buckingham Palace on his investiture day; Admiralty campaign medal forwarding slip and Under-Secretary of State for Defence forwarding slip for the Arctic Star; Certificate for Wounds and Hurts, dated 14 March 1944; various wartime photographs including one of H.M.S. Anthony; contemporary copy of statements of reference made by senior officers at H.M.S. Vigilant in the period 1945-48; typed carbon copy of the recipient's medical history, circa 1949; and Admiralty letter of appreciation on the recipient's retirement in July 1948, together with a Ministry of Pensions letter forwarding him the 'King's Badge' for those disabled as a result of war service, this dated 3 July 1948.