A Great War North Sea Submarine Operations Distinguished Service Medal and Submarine Commissioned Engineer's Order of the British Empire Group to Engineer Lieutenant L.V. Hauser, M.B.E., D.S.M., Royal Navy.
The superb Great War North Sea submarine operations 1917 Distinguished Service Medal and 1938 Birthday Honour's Submarine Commissioned Engineer's Order of the British Empire group awarded to Engineer Lieutenant L.V. Hauser, M.B.E., D.S.M., Royal Navy, who served in the Adriatic with the submarine H2 in 1916, and with G3 in 1917 to 1918, being later appointed the first Warrant Engineer of the coverted aircraft carrier submarine M2 in 1927.
Order of the British Empire, Member, M.B.E., 2nd type, Military Division; Distinguished Service Medal, Geo V, bust; (272440. L.V. HAUSER E.R.A. 3 CL. SUBMARINE SERVICE 1917); 1914-15 Star; (272440. L.V. HAUSER, E.R.A.3., R.N.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (272440 L.V. HAUSER. E.R.A.3 R.N.); 1939-45 Star; War Medal.
Leonard Victor Hauser was born in Bethnal Green, London on 1st May 1892, and was a scholar before he joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Artificer aboard the training establishment H.M.S. Tenedos from 14th August 1907, being then posted to H.M.S. Indus, the Mechanics Training Establishment at Devonport from 16th July 1910, and having passed his training, was then rated as Engine Room Artificer 5th Class (Chatham No.272440) on 1st July 1911, being then posted to Vivid II from 15th July 1911, before being posted aboard the battleship H.M.S. Implacable from 18th August 1911, followed by the battleship H.M.S. Commonwealth from 14th May 1912, being appointed Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class on 1st July 1912.
Hauser was posted to Pembroke II from 18th October 1912, being then posted to the troopship H.M.S. Tyne from 21st November 1912, and promoted to Engine Room Artificer 4th Class on 16th December 1913. Hauser was posted aboard the cruiser H.M.S. Eclipse from 26th February 1914, followed by the light cruiser H.M.S. Yarmouth from 14th April 1914, he was serving aboard her at the outbreak of the Great War, when Yarmouth was on the China Station and later in 1914, she was involved in the hunt for the German commerce raider S.M.S. Emden. In October that year she captured two German colliers. She returned to home waters in December 1914 and was assigned to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet, and in February 1915 to 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron. Hauser was promoted to Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class on 1st July 1915.
Hauser was most likely then drafted into the 'Service within the Service', the Royal Navy's submarine service, being posted to the submarine base H.M.S. Dolphin from 23rd July 1915, he then completed his training and was posted out to the Mediterranean to join the submarine depot ship H.M.S. Adamant at Mudros from 23rd August 1915. Adamant was at the time the depot ship for all Royal Navy submarines which were operating in the Dardanelles and Sea of Marmora in support of the Gallipoli campaign, and Hauser may well have served aboard one of the later submarines to make the passage through the heavily defended straights and into the Sea of Marmora.
Hauser was posted aboard the submarine H2 from 10th November 1916, this vessel was at the time under orders to operate in the Mediterranean and Adriatic as replacements to the ageing 'B' Class submarines, and as such Hauser who was appointed to H2 as an Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class and began operations in Novemeber 1916. H2 was under the direct command of the depot ship Adamant, the flotilla being command by Lieutenant Commander Charles G. Brodie, with H2 commanded by Lieutenant D.W. Fell. Adamant was still based at Mudros, and H2 was directed to Venice where she became the nominal depot ship there, with Fell being additionally appointed Senior British Naval Officer at Venice. By June 1917 with some twenty or thirty patrols completed and a great deal of time wasted in harbour, Rear Admiral Kerr, commanding in the Adriatic, was taken to task by the Admiralty in the following letter: 'Their Lordships' attention has been drawn to the three 'H' Class submarines attached to the Italian Fleet at Venice. It has been noticed from several recent reports from the Senior Officer that for a long period they have carried out no offensive operations and, although this was partly due to the weather, it is not understood how they should have been continually prevented from movements to the extent reported. You are to arrange to pay a visit to Venice and take such steps as may be practical to induce more active employment of the British submarines against the enemy.' However Hauser was not there, having after only a short period, been transferred back to Dolphin from 20th December 1916, and then joined the submarine depot ship H.M.S. Titania from 10th January 1917, and as such served with the Flotilla operating out of Blyth on operations in the North Sea, with Hauser being posted aboard the submarine H.M.Submarine G3 from 1st April 1917, being tasked to patrol the North Sea in search of U-Boats. However on 2nd September 1917 a narrow escape occurred in which Hauser may well have distinguished himself.
'Another case of submarine ramming submarine occurred on September 2, 1917, but this time it was near to tragedy. It was 6.30 on a wild morning, with a very heavy sea running, when G4 - Lieutenant Commander Powell, sighted a German submarine. Both submarines dived immediately. The sea was so heavy as to make diving at periscope depth almost impossible, so G4 went down to 80 feet. Two hours later, when she came to periscope depth for a look around, Powell caught a glimpse of a submarine on the surface about 200 yards away. It was too close to fire a torpedo in that weather. The only hope was to try to ram. G4's helm went over and her motors were put to full speed. During the next few moments , says Powell, I tried frantically to get another sight of the enemy so as to correct my course, and, after an eternity which was probably about 15 seconds, the sea fell away from the periscope glass and there, to my horror, was my old friend G3… I went hard to dive, full astern port and hard a-starboard in an effort to clear her astern…. Another eternity, and then an appalling crash threw us off our feet and heeled the boat right over. There was a cheer from the crew, who thought I had rammed a Fritz, but I felt physically sick… Providentially, the last minute effort to turn G4 saved G3. G4 hit her just abaft the beam torpedo-tube space, where the G Class submarines had only a single hull. Moreover, she missed G3's port propellor - the only propellor G3 had in action, having cracked her starboard main-shaft. As it was, the collision made a jagged hole 9 feet long in G3's outer hull, while 8 feet of G4's bows were bent upwards and round at right angles.'
Hauser was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal in the London Gazette for 2nd November 1917, this gazette being the same one in which the legendary then Commander Max Kennedy Horton won the Second Award Bar to the Distinguished Service Order, with Hauser receiving his award 'in recognition of services in submarines in enemy waters' with his award being in respect of long and arduous service and successful action with enemy armed vessels .
Hauser remained serving aboard G3 and operating out of Blyth through to 18th October 1918 when he was posted back to Dolphin, before joining the submarine depot ship H.M.S. Maidstone from 18th May 1919 and was posted aboard the submarine H.M. submarine H42 from shortly after her commissioning, she had been commissioned on 1st May 1919. Hauser was promoted to Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class on 1st July 1919, being then transferred to H.M. submarine H48 from 1st July 1920, he was then posted to Dolphin from 10th July 1920 and from 20th September 1923 was exchanged to a commission, being appointed an Acting Warrant Engineer on 1st October 1923, he saw service with the submarine depot ship Titania from January 1924 out in the Far East at Hong Kong, he was then confirmed as Warrant Engineer, and posted back to Dolphin from 3rd August 1926, and from 8th March 1927 was posted to aboard the world's first submarine aircraft carrier H.M.submarine M2. After the accidental sinking of M1 in 1925, M2 and her sister M3 were taken out of service and reassigned for experimental use. Her 12-inch gun was removed, replaced by a small aircraft hangar, the work being completed in 1927. This could carry a small Parnall Peto seaplane, specially designed for the M2, which, once its wings had been unfolded, could be lowered onto the sea alongside by a derrick for take off. On landing, the aircraft was hoisted back onto the deck and replaced into the hangar. In October 1928, a hydraulic aircraft catapult was fitted, to enable the seaplane to take off directly from the deck. The submarine was intended to operate ahead of the battle fleet in a reconnaissance role, flying off her unarmed seaplane as a scout. A photograph exists from July 1928 which shows the crew of the M2 with Hauser being identified seventh from the left front row - a copy of which exists with the research.
Having served as the first Engineering Officer of the recently converted experimental submarine M2 with the 5th Submarine Flotilla, Hauser was then posted in a similar role to newly launched Rainbow Class submarine H.M. submarine Regulus from 1st November 1930, joining as her first officer in this role. Incidentally the submarine M2 would be lost will all hands on 26th January 1932, and Regulus would be lost with all hands in December 1940 when in action against the Italian's. Hauser served with Regulus on her first commission as part of the 1st Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean and was promoted to Commissioned Engineer on 1st October 1933, being then posted back to General Service from January 1934, and he was posted to the destroyer H.M.S. Douglas with the 19th Destroyer Flotilla, this vessel being the Flotilla Leader, and as such saw further service in the Mediterranean.
On 1st January 1938 he was promoted to Engineer Lieutenant, and was then awarded the Member of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire in the King's Birthday Honour's List for 3rd June 1938 in respect of his long and distinguished service predominantly with submarines. Hauser was posted to the destroyer and Portsmouth Flotilla Leader H.M.S. Exmouth from 26th April 1939, and was serving as such at the outbreak of the Second World War, however he was not aboard her on 21st January 1940 when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-22 with the loss of all hands. Hauser needless to say saw brief wartime service, though of an active form, hence his wearing of the 1939-1945 Star, and was then placed on the retired list on 1st May 1942, hence just prior to his gaining entitlement to the Defence Medal which he missed out on. Hauser is still shown on the Retired List in 1955, and is noted in 1953 as having purchased land together with his wife A. Hauser, at 256 Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire.