The very fine and extremely well documented Great War Duel with an enemy submarine Atlantic 1st October 1918 casualty Distinguished Service Medal and China Yangtse Flotilla gunboat long service group awarded to Chief Petty Officer J.G. Grace, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his service aboard the armed boarding steamer Perth on 1st October 1918, when employed escorting a convoy between Gibraltar and Milford Haven and engaged with a German submarine - the U-139. During this action, which on and off lasted about six hours, he commanded the fore
The very fine and extremely well documented Great War Duel with an enemy submarine Atlantic 1st October 1918 casualty Distinguished Service Medal and China Yangtse Flotilla gunboat long service group awarded to Chief Petty Officer J.G. Grace, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his service aboard the armed boarding steamer Perth on 1st October 1918, when employed escorting a convoy between Gibraltar and Milford Haven and engaged with a German submarine - the U-139. During this action, which on and off lasted about six hours, he commanded the foremost 4.7 inch gun, and was wounded by shell splinters. Grace later saw serving with the Yangtse Flotilla in China aboard the gunboat Scarab, and saw home service during the Second World War.
Group of 6: Distinguished Service Medal, GVR Adm. bust; (221695. J.G. GRACE, P.O. “PERTH” ATLANTIC ** OCT. 1918); 1914-1915 Star; (221695. J.G. GRACE, P.O., R.N.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (221695 J.G. GRACE. P.O. R.N.); Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, GVR Adm. bust; (22**** *G. GRACE. C.P.O. H.M.S. SCARAB.), mounted swing style as worn on original ribbons, all attached to an old fashioned form of hanging bar, together with the War Medal 1939-1945, this loose.
Condition: first five very heavily polished, some named details on the rims now obscured due to the polishing, hence only About Fine.
Together with the following original archive of documentation and photographs:
Parchment Certificate of Service in the Royal Navy.
Canvas Certificate of Service in the Royal Navy, post 1939 issue.
Parchment Royal Navy Educational Certificate for Petty Officer, dated September 1911.
Parchment Royal Navy Gunnery and Torpedo History Sheet.
Parchment Royal Navy Record of Firing Certificate.
Card Royal Navy Gunnery History Sheet, post 1939 issue.
Royal Navy Interim Trade Certificate, dated 1947.
Parchment Royal Navy Certificate for Wounds and Hurts, issued to: ‘Jack George Grace, P.O.1.’ for H.M.Ship Perth, ‘in action in charge of foremost 4.7 guns, wounded on 1st October 1918 by ‘splinters of shell causing superficial; abrasions on the inner side of right tibia, 2 “ below the knee; over the head of the metatarsal bone of great toe and over the dorsum of right foot’. Dated 25th October 1918.
Sudan Agency at the War Office Cairo Pass issued to Petty Officer Grace, Royal Navy, for a journey from Port Said to Shellal, dated 29th March 1916.
Original and rare to ship Great War period full length cap tally for H.M.S Scarab, which vessel Grace saw service aboard from March 1919 to April 1922 as a Petty Officer and later Chief Petty Officer. Scarab was an Insect Class river gunboat.
Recipient’s tunic medal ribbon bar for his first five awards.
Wartime Overseas Service Stripes sleeve badge, four blue surmounted by one red.
A Royal Navy Gunnery oath, wire embroidered form of Great War vintage.
Wartime photograph of the a Royal Navy shore party manning a field gun, and also equipped with Lewis guns, the reverse annotated: ‘Photo taken by one of the Dear Lady Missionaries (Yankee) at “Leheng” when we were landed and whose place we were guarding, one of the chaps was wounded just afterwards.’
Another fine Great War period photograph showing five naval ratings mounted on camels, these ibn term being held by four members of what appear to be the British Army, taken in front of the pyramids in Egypt.
Jack George Grace was born on 17th December 1886 in Tring, Hertfordshire, where later resided and worked as a baker’s boy, before joining the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class (Chatham No.221695) with Impregnable on 21st July 1902, being advanced to Boy 1st Class on 14th May 1903. Rated as an Ordinary Seaman whilst with Swiftsure on 17th December 1904, and then as an Able Seaman whilst still aboard her on 1st March 1906, he was promoted to Leading Seaman whilst aboard Minotaur on 18th March 1909. Promoted to Petty Officer whilst aboard Fervant on 1st May 1913, with the outbreak of the Great War he was serving aboard the battleship Victorious, and saw service with the 9th Battle Squadron.
Transferring to Pembroke on 5th February 1915, followed by the battleship Jupiter on 12th August 1915, he saw service with her as part of the Suez Canal Patrol, and for a period whilst aboard her was with the trawler Tanjore (?) from March to May 1916, pfresubabnly patrolling the canal or the Red Sea area. Back fully with Jupiter from May 1916, he then joined Pembroke on 23rd December 1916, followed by the submarine depot ship Bonaventure from 30th June 1917 and then Pembroke again from 3rd December 1917.
Grace then joined the armed boarding steamer H.M.S Perth, which vessel had been requisitioned for the Royal Navy from the Dundee and Newcastle Steam Shipping Company, and armed with three 4.7 inch guns, and patrolled mainly on the East Indies Station. It was however during a voyage home from Gibraltar to Milford Haven on 1st October 1918, that Grace was present when she was engaged in convoy protection and whilst zigzagging ahead of the convoy at 11.45 came across a German submarine which was then fired upon at 13.20. The enemy submarine fired back with her deck gun, at a range of 8800 yards which then rapidly decreased to 4800 yards as the Perth closed with the target. During this engagement with what turned out to be the U-139, Sub Lieutenant Stevenson RNR was killed. The submarine then dived at 13.30 and Perth rejoined the convoy at 14.40. The enemy submarine was then once again reported and engaged at extreme range at 16.00. By 16.10 the submarine was out of range and Perth ceased her fire. Then at 17.20, Perth once again engaged the submarine at a range of 8000 yards which decreased to 5800 yards. The enemy submarine fire back and in this incident, Assistant Paymaster C.G. Maile was killed. The submarine dived at 17.30. At 18.30 the Perth proceeded to the aid of two steamers which had issued distress calls, and at 18.50 the SS Bylands was sunk by the German submarine. At 19.10 the Perth picked up her crew, and at the same time lowered a whaler to examine the SS Manin which had been abandoned by her crew. By 19.15 two other destroyers protecting the convoy rejoined and the entire force went on its way.
Despite having been bested by the German submarine on this occasion, the crew of Perth had borne the brunt of the fire in various engagements spanning almost six hours, with two of her officer’s being killed. In this action, Grace, who was a Petty Officer in command of the foremost 4.7 inch gun, was wounded by ‘splinters of shell causing superficial; abrasions on the inner side of right tibia, 2 “ below the knee; over the head of the metatarsal bone of great toe and over the dorsum of right foot’ this being confirmed by the accompanying Parchment Royal Navy Certificate for Wounds and Hurts issued to him on 25th October 1918.
Grace was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in the London Gazette for 17th January 1919, ‘for services in action with enemy submarines’.
Grace was posted back to Pembroke on 11th December 1918, and then joined the river gunboat H.M.S Scarab on 13th March 1919, and sailed with her for China where she joined the Yangtse Flotilla to provide aid for British flagged shipping and British nationals in an unstable environment. It was whilst he was here that he saw action ashore with a gun detachment in defence of a missionary station manned by American female missionaries. A photo from this time mentions the incident and that one of the crew was wounded shortly after the photograph taken. it was whilst he was serving aboard Scarab that Grace was promoted to Chief Petty Officer on 1st September 1920, and awarded the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Posted home to Pembroke on 9th April 1922, he then rejoined Scarab for a further period on the China Station on 10th February 1923, before being posted back to Pembroke on 7th April 1925 and pensioned ashore on 16th December 1926. Enrolling into the Royal Fleet Reserve on 17th December 1926, he attended 7 day drill training in 1927, 1929 and 1931, but was then discharged from the Royal Fleet Reserve on 16th December 1936. However with the outbreak of the Second World War he was once again mobilised as a Chief Petty Officer on 28th August 1939, serving with the shore establishment Wildfire, and then joined Pembroke on 14th March 1940, followed by the Fleet Air Arm base Daedalus on 3rd May 1940, before rejoining Pembroke on 21st July 1941 and being released from service eventually on 4th March 1947. He had seen home service throughout the war.