Russian War Baltic 1854 Bombardment of Bomarsund and Black Sea 1855 paddle frigate operations group awarded to Gunner 1st Class William Whitworth, Royal Navy, who saw service continuously from July 1833 through to May 1870. In February 1839 he was aboard the 16 gun sloop Larne at Canton when instead of sailing for India she was requested to not sail by the British merchants in view of problems related to the restrictions on the trading of opium. Her captain subsequently arrived at Macao in May 1839 and informed the British government of the fast deteriorating situation regards the British presence in China. Whitworth left her before the outbreak of the First Opium War with China. Whitworth however found himself in the thick of it during the operations in the Baltic against the Russians in 1854 when operations aboard the 16 gun paddle frigate Valorous. On 15th April 1854 she captured Russian brig Patrioten, and on 8th May 1854 when in company with the Vulture detained the Russian barque Primus. Present in a number of other actions, on 21st June 1854 she shelled the main fort at Bomarsund, but on 23rd July, Valorous ran aground in the Aland Islands, being severely damaged and losing her forefoot and keel and being holed. A sail was placed over the hole and her crew managed to prevent her from sinking. She was repaired in time to be present at the bombardment and capture of Bomarsund on 16th August 1854. Having transferred to the Crimean War theatre and operations in the Black Sea, he was then present aboard Valorous during the operations which led to the capture of Kertch and Yenikale on 25th May 1855.
Group of 3: Baltic Medal 1854-1855, unnamed as issued; Crimea Medal 1854-1856, 1 Clasp: Sebastopol, this slipped onto ribbon, named in neatly engraved naming in upright capitals; (MR. W. WHITWORTH., GUNR. R.N. H.M.S. VALOROUS); Turkish Crimea Medal 1855, Sardinian issue, unnamed as issued.
Condition: second with small correction to second letter of ships name, third with replaced ring suspension, overall light contact wear, Very Fine.
William Whitworth was born in 1813 in Camberwell, Surrey, and originally joined the Royal Navy as an Able Seaman aboard the schooner Fair Rosamond from 7th June to 9th July 1833, which at that time was being commissioned for service on the coast of Africa, however then then transferred to Excellent, the gunnery establishment at Portsmouth from 13th July 1833, and was rated as Gunner’s Crew on 4th February 1837, before being promoted to Gunner’s Mate on joining the 16 gun sloop Larne from 2nd May 1837. She sailed shortly afterwards for the East Indies, rounding the Cape of Good Hope. In February 1839 she was a Canton in China, and due to sail for India, but at the request of the merchants in view of problems related to the restrictions on the trading of opium she did not sail. In May 1839 she left Canton for Macao, where her commander informed the British government of the fast deteriorating situation regards the British presence in China. Whitworth was still on service out in the Far East when he was paid off on 25th September 1839, and made his way home, rejoining Excellent at Portsmouth on 21st May 1840.
Whitworth then transferred as a Gunner’s Mate to the 120 gun warship Howe from 13th October 1840, which was preparing to sail for the Mediterranean. On the 3rd November they were attempting to sail to their destination, when a strong south-westerly set in and they returned to to Spithead, having only got as far as Portland Bill. Howe finally sailed for the Mediterranean on 19th November 1840, and arrived at Malta on 26th March 1841. After a squadron cruise of the Levant, she was back at Malta for the winter of 1841 to 1842, and on 10th January 1842 whilst at Valetta, experienced severe weather conditions, with a thunder storm, along with large hailstones, and winds which heeled the ship over "greatly.” On 12th May 1842 following reports from the consul at Tripoli that the Pacha is becoming a problem again, she was part of a small fleet which set off to Tripoli to restore order. Back at Malta she departed for the Levant in November 1842, and sailed via Greece.
Whitworth transferred back to Excellent from 26th July 1843, and then joined the 10 gun sloop Nautilus as an Acting Gunner 3rd Class on 10th January 1845, seeing service in home waters. Paid off on 6th April 1848, the next day he joined old 112 gun warship San Joseph at Plymouth, and then transferred back to Excellent on 16th April 1848. Whitworth was posted to the armed troopship Apollo from 1st January 1849 as an Acting Gunner 2nd Class, she being based out of Devonport, and was then posted back to Excellent from 13th February 1851.
Whitworth joined the 16 gun frigate Magicienne on 10th August 1852, but then transferred to the 74 gun warship Hogue from 1st September 1852, and to the 16 gun paddle frigate Valorous from 17th December 1852. On 11th March 1854 she departed Spithead with the fleet bound for the Baltic on the outbreak of the Russian War. On 15th April 1854 she captured Russian brig Patrioten, and on 8th May 1854 when in company with the Vulture detained the Russian barque Primus. From May to June 1854 the warships Leopard, Vulture, Odin, and Valorous, destroyed vessels and storehouses, etc., at Brahestad and Uleaborg, and captured several gunboats and 7th June, but were also in disastrous boat actions at Gamla Carleby. On 21st June 1854 the Hecla, Odin, and Valorous were sent in to shell the main fort at Bomarsund, but were unable to do any serious damage. On 23rd July, Valorous ran aground in the Aland Islands. She was severely damaged, losing her forefoot and keel and being holed. A sail was placed over the hole and her crew managed to prevent her from sinking.
On 10th August 1854 the Penelope went ashore under the Russian guns and had to throw her guns overboard and was much mauled by the enemy's red-hot shot before she could be floated off, she being assisted in this by the boats of the Hecla, Gladiator, Valorous, and Pigmy, who also suffered. On 16th August 1854 Valorous was present at the bombardment and capture of Bomarsund. Whitworth was present aboard Valorous throughout her active time in the Baltic during 1854.
Valorous was then transferred to the Black Sea to take part in the Crimean War in 1855, and on 25th May 1855, was present when Kertch and Yenikale were captured, along with thousands of tons and coal and provisions, along with factories etc., by some 60 French and British vessels, and allied troops. The crew of Valorous are not known to have gained the Sebastopol clasp, however this is present with Whitworth’s
Whitworth’s medals for his service in the Baltic was sent to him whilst serving with Exmouth on 12th June 1857, his Crimea Medal without clasp having been sent to him at Portsmouth on 16th January 1856. Both are confirmed on the medal roll. The Sebastopol clasp however would appear to have been added later, though the toning on the medal and clasp are matching and they have clearly been together for considerable time, he is not shown as entitled.
Whitworth had transferred to Excellent again as a Gunner 2nd Class from 14th September 1855, when he was promoted to Gunner 1st Class, and he then joined the 90 gun warship Exmouth from 8th August 1856, before transferring to the 120 gun warship Saint Vincent from 12th September 1857, when she was the Guard Ship of Ordinary at Portsmouth. Having transferred to the frigate Fisgard on 6th February 1858, she was the Guard Ship at Woolwich, and he remained aboard her for the next decade, being, she being the Guardship & Admin ship for the area, and he was pensioned from her on 11th May 1870. As of the 1871 Census, Whitworth is shown as a Royal Navy Pensioner, living at 73 Beaver Street in Woolwich, and he then moved back to the area of London from where he was from, namely Lambeth, and as of the 1881 Census is shown as a Supernumerary Gunner Royal Navy and living on 351 Albany Road in Lambeth. As of 1891 he was still living there, and he died early 1892.