The rare Great War Submariners 1917 North Sea operations Distinguished Service Medal group awarded to Stoker 1st Class F.C. Davis, Royal Navy, later Royal Australian Navy. Davis was a pre-war sailor, who joined the Submarine Service in June 1915, and saw service initially with the Eighth Submarine Flotilla operating out of Dundee in Home and Atlantic Waters from October 1915 to February 1916. He then saw service out Blyth with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla aboard the submarine J3 from June 1916, and was heavily involved in the North Sea blockade. Davis would have been actively employed in keeping his submarine’s engines moving, often in rough seas and appalling conditions. It was for his services aboard the submarine J3 that Davis earned his Distinguished Service Medal, gazetted to him on 2nd November 1917 ‘in recognition of services in submarines in enemy waters’. He was still with this submarine when she was gifted to the Royal Australian Navy in March 1919, and as one of Australia’s first submariners, he then saw service from July 1919 until October 1922 out in Australian Waters and the Pacific.
Distinguished Service Medal, GVR bust; (K.11937. F.C. DAVIS. STO.1CL. SUBMARINE SERVICE 1917.); 1914-1915 Star; (K.11937 F.C. DAVIS. STO. 1., R.N.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (K.11937 F.C. DAVIS. STO.1 R.N.)
Frederick Charles Davis was born on 19th March 1889 in Dorchester, Dorset, and having worked as a domestic gardener, then joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class (Portsmouth No.K.11937) with Victory II from 26th July 1911, being advanced to Stoker 1st Class on 22nd August 1912 whilst aboard Black Prince. With the outbreak of the Great War he was with Vernon and serving aboard the Portsmouth based gunboat Plucky stationed in the harbour there. Posted to Victory II from 18th August 1914, and then to Vernon from 12th November 1914, he then went forward for the Submarine Service, being posted to Dolphin at Portsmouth from 6th June 1915, and then joined the submarine H6 from 20th August 1915, and was operating with this submarine from the depot ship Alecto from 19th October 1915 as part of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla operating out of Dundee in Home and Atlantic Waters. Davis was posted back to Dolphin from 16th February 1916, before transferring to the depot ship Titania for service aboard the submarine J3 from 26th June 1916 as part of the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla operating from Blyth on operations in the North Sea. As such Davis would have seen serviced aboard J3 under the command of Lieutenant Commander later Rear Admiral George Pirie Thompson, C.B., C.B.E. During his period of command, Thompson did not sink any vessels, but was heavily involved in the North Sea blockade, and Davis would have been actively employed in keeping his submarine moving, often in rough seas and appalling conditions. It was for his services aboard the submarine J3 that Davis earned his Distinguished Service Medal, as published in the London Gazette for 2nd November 1917 ‘in recognition of services in submarines in enemy waters’. J3 would become one of six surviving “J” Class boats to be then transferred to the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on 25th May 1919, and Davis would be present for this occasion. After the war, the British Admiralty decided that the best way to protect the Pacific region was with a force of submarines and cruisers. To this end, they offered the six surviving submarines of the J-class to the R.A.N. as gifts. After being seconded, Davis is shown as operating with this submarine from the Australian depot Platypus, and on 9th April 1919, J3 and her sisters sailed for Australia in company with the cruisers Sydney and Brisbane and the submarine tender Platypus. The flotilla reached Thursday Island on 29th June, and Sydney on 10th July. Because of the submarines' condition after the long voyage, they were immediately taken out of service for refits. Davis was appointed to Acting Leading Stoker on 25th November 1920. With Davis’s period of secondment coming to an end, he joined the base Platypus at Sydney from 13th July 1922, before transferring to the base ship Penguin from 21st October 1922, and being posted back home to join the R.A.N. Naval Depot at London from 17th December 1922, being posted back to the Royal Navy with Dolphin from 10th May 1922 and discharged ashore on 15th July 1923, enrolling into the Royal Fleet Reserve the following day.
Light contact wear, Very Fine