A fine Great War Battle of Jutland Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class group awarded to Stoker 1st Class A. Ennis, Royal Navy, who saw service aboard the scout cruiser Skirmisher on the outbreak of the Great War, and was then present

Price: £995.00

Add to Watchlist
Product ID: A1282
Condition: Mounted swing style as worn. Slight contact wear, Good very fine
Availability: IN STOCK

Description:

A fine Great War Battle of Jutland Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class group awarded to Stoker 1st Class A. Ennis, Royal Navy, who saw service aboard the scout cruiser Skirmisher on the outbreak of the Great War, and was then present from April 1915 and for the remainder of the war aboard the battleship Warspite, and heavily involved in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Warspite was holed 150 times during the battle, and had 14 killed and 16 wounded, she having scored her first hit on the battlecruiser Von der Tann, but was then damaged by a shell hitting the port-wing engine room which caused Warspite's steering to jam as she attempted to avoid her sister-ships Valiant and Malaya. Her captain decided to maintain course, in effect circling, rather than come to a halt and reverse. This decision exposed Warspite and made her a tempting target, for she was hit 13 times, but inadvertently diverted attention from the armoured cruiser Warrior in doing so, and the action gained her the admiration of Warrior's surviving crew. The crew regained control of Warspite after two full circles, but then found her on a course which took her towards the German fleet. The rangefinders and the transmission station were non-functional and only "A" turret could fire, albeit under local control with 12 salvos falling short of their target. She was stopped and briefly repaired and then manage to slip away. Ennis was one of a number of men to be belatedly awarded the Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class, as confirmed in Admiralty Weekly Order No.1774 of 30th May 1918 and ‘conferred by the Russian Government on the following men of the Grand Fleet for services rendered in the Battle of Jutland.’ His award was never gazetted due to the fact that the Tsar had by then been deposed and executed, and the sensitive political situation.

1914-1915 Star; (302405. A. ENNIS. STO.1., R.N.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (302405 A. ENNIS. STO.1. R.N.); Imperial Russia: Saint George Medal for Bravery, 4th Class in Silver, this being the type issued from 1915 onwards, reverse bearing the impressed award number: ’No1272757’.

Andrew Ennis was born on 25th December 1883 in Ardrossan, Scotland, and having worked as a labourer in a shipyard, then joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class (Devonport No.302405) with Vivid II from 14th January 1903. Rated as a Stoker whilst aboard Medea on 28th November 1903, he was then rated as a Stoker 1st Class whilst aboard Essex on 1st July 1906, and on the outbreak of the Great War was serving aboard the scout cruiser Skirmisher which ship he had joined back on 7th October 1913. With the outbreak of the Great War, Skirmisher was the leader of the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at Devonport. Following the outbreak of war, the 7th Flotilla moved to the Humber on the East Coast of Britain. Posted to Vivid II from 3rd November 1914, he then joined the battleship Warspite from 5th April 1915, and would spent the remainder of the war aboard her. Following the German raid on Lowestoft in April 1916, Warspite and the 5th Battle Squadron were temporarily assigned to Vice-Admiral David Beatty’s Battlecruiser Force. On 31st May Warspite deployed with the squadron to fight in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval encounter between Britain and Germany during the war. Following a signalling error, the battleships were left trailing Beatty's fast ships during the battlecruiser action, and the 5th Battle Squadron was exposed to heavy fire from the German High Seas Fleet as the force turned away to the north, although Warspite was able to score her first hit on the battlecruiser Von der Tann. Having escaped the trap the 5th Battle Squadron headed north, exchanging fire with both Hipper's battlecruiser force and the leading elements of Scheer's battleships, damaging Markgraf. When the squadron turned to join the Grand Fleet the damage from a shell hitting the port-wing engine room caused Warspite's steering to jam as she attempted to avoid her sister-ships Valiant and Malaya. Captain Phillpotts decided to maintain course, in effect circling, rather than come to a halt and reverse. This decision exposed Warspite and made her a tempting target; she was hit 13 times, but inadvertently diverted attention from the armoured cruiser Warrior, which had been critically damaged whilst attacking the leading elements of the German fleet. This action gained her the admiration of Warrior's surviving crew, who believed that Warspite's movement had been intentional. The crew regained control of Warspite after two full circles. Their efforts to end the circular motion placed her on a course which took her towards the German fleet. The rangefinders and the transmission station were non-functional and only "A" turret could fire, albeit under local control with 12 salvos falling short of their target. Sub Lieutenant Herbert Annesley Packer was subsequently promoted for his command of "A" turret. Rather than continue, Warspite was stopped for ten minutes so the crew could make repairs. They succeeded in correcting the problem, but the ship would be plagued with steering irregularities for the rest of her naval career. As the light faded the Grand Fleet crossed ahead of the German battle line and opened fire, forcing the High Seas Fleet to retreat and allowing Warspite to slip away. Warspite was holed 150 times during the battle, and had 14 killed and 16 wounded; among the latter warrant officer Walter Yeo, who became one of the first men to receive facial reconstruction via plastic surgery. Although she had been extensively damaged, Warspite could still raise steam and was ordered back to Rosyth during the evening of 31st May by Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas, commander of the 5th Battle Squadron. Whilst travelling across the North Sea the ship came under attack from a German U-boat. The U-boat fired three torpedoes, all of which missed their target. Warspite later attempted to ram a surfaced U-boat. She signalled ahead for escorts and a squadron of torpedo boats came out to meet her. They were too slow to screen her effectively, but there were no more encounters with German vessels and she reached Rosyth safely on the morning of 1 June, where it took two months to repair the damage. Ennis’s award of the Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class is confirmed in Admiralty Weekly Order No.1774 of 30th May 1918 as ‘conferred by the Russian Government on the following men of the Grand Fleet for services rendered in the Battle of Jutland.’ However due to the fact that the Tsar had by then been deposed and executed, and the sensitive political situation, the award could not be published in the London Gazette, though Ennis would have received the King’s permission to accept and wear the ribbon of this decoration. Upon the completion of her repairs, Warspite rejoined the 5th Battle Squadron. Further misfortune struck soon afterwards, when she collided with Valiant after a night-shooting exercise, necessitating more repair work at Rosyth. Captain Philpott’s avoided reprimand on this occasion, but was moved to a shore-based job as Naval Assistant to the new First Sea Lord, Admiral Jellicoe. He was replaced by Captain de Bartolome in December 1916. In June 1917, Warspite collided with a destroyer, but did not require major repairs. In the following month, Warspite was rocked at her moorings in Scapa Flow when the battleship Vanguard, exploded with the loss of hundreds of her crew when an ammunition magazine detonated. Early in April 1918 she joined the Grand Fleet in a fruitless pursuit of the German High Seas Fleet which had been hunting for a convoy near Norway. In 1918, Warspite had to spend four months being repaired after a boiler room caught fire. Captain Hubert Lynes relieved Captain de Bartolome and on 21st November he took Warspite out to escort the German High Seas Fleet into internment at Scapa Flow following the signing of the Armistice. In 1919, Warspite joined the 2nd Battle Squadron, part of the newly formed Atlantic Fleet. Ennis was posted off Warspite to Vivid II from 28th September 1920, and was invalided ashore on 5th January 1921 as a result of his suffering from arthritis in the right knee. Despite his over 18 years service, Ennis is not entitled to the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal as his character assessment had not always been good enough. Mounted swing style as worn. Slight contact wear, Good very fine