The very fine Sudan operations 1884 to 1885 and Third Burma War 1885 to 1887 Naval Brigade long service group awarded to Petty Officer 1st Class Harry Read, Royal Navy, who saw service with the corvette Turquoise supporting the operations at Suakin in the period from May 1884 to May 1885, and then saw service as part of the Naval Brigade from Turquoise manning eight armed launches ferrying guns up the Irrawaddy to the Burmese frontier during the Third Burma War in October 1885. Read was awarded the long service medal in March 1890 whilst aboard the cruiser Severn.
Group of 4: Egypt and Sudan Medal 1882-1889, undated reverse, no clasp; (H. READ, A.B. H.M.S. TURQUOISE.); India General Service Medal 1854-1895, 1 Clasp: Burma 1885-7; (H. READ, A.B. H.M.S. TURQUOISE.); Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, Victoria narrow suspender; (HY. READ, P.O. 2ND. CL: H.M.S. SEVERN.); Khedive’s Star dated 1884-6.
Condition: light contact pitting from Khedive’s Star, about Good Very Fine.
Harry Read was born on 12th October 1861 in Northwood, Cowes, Isle of Wight, and having worked as a sailmaker, then joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class (Portsmouth No.100781) with St Vincent from 24th August 1877, being rated as Boy 1st Class on 21st August 1878, and then as an Ordinary Seaman whilst aboard Dido on 1st October 1879, and as an Able Seaman whilst still aboard Dido on 1st January 1882.
Read then joined the corvette Turquoise from 21st May 1884, and was then present with her in the Indian Ocean, where she was involved in escorting the convoys to the operations in the Sudan. As such he gained entitlement to the undated Egypt and Sudan Medal for his ships involvement in the operations in the period from 20th May 1884 to 8th May 1885. 190 medals were awarded to the men of Turquoise.
With the imminent outbreak of the Third Burma War, on 23rd September 1885 Turquoise was ordered to the Bay of Bengal to take up the temporary duties of the senior officer’s ship in the area, and therefore returned to Trincomalee on the east coast of Ceylon. Preparations for war continued. The Government steamer Irrawaddy, carrying 20-pounder breech-loaders, Nordenfelts and Gardners, and two steam launches carrying nine-pounders and Gardners, were ordered to ascent the Irrawaddy to the Burmese frontier on the 26th October 1885. These vessels were manned by sailors and marines from the gunboat Woodlark. The river was now too shallow for the Woodlark to ascend is safely, and as the Bacchante and Turquoise were due to arrive shortly, about the 27th October, it was decided that crews from these vessels would form a Naval Brigade and man a further eight armed launches. As of 30th January 1886 the Bacchante was once again the senior officer’s ship in the Bay of Bengal, carrying the flag of Rear Admiral Sir F.W. Richards, Commander-in-Chief of the East India Station. She and Turquoise were then stationed at Rangoon. 139 men from Turquoise qualified for the medal with the clasp Burma 1995-7, these being the men who formed part of the Naval Brigade in the eight armed launches that ascended the Irrawaddy to the Burmese frontier in October 1885.
Read was rated as Leading Seaman whilst aboard Turquoise on 1st September 1887, and left the ship in November 1887. Promoted to Petty Officer 2nd Class whilst aboard the cruiser Severn on 19th February 1889, and having been awarded the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 10th March 1890, was then promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class whilst still aboard her on 15th April 1891. Read saw further service afloat aboard Howe from November 1893 to November 1894, aboard Malabar from February 1895 to May 1896, aboard Inflexible from July to August 1896, and aboard Ramilles from November 1896 to November 1899. Read was pensioned ashore on 30th November 1899. He was briefly recalled during the Great War as a Petty Officer 1st Class with Victory I from 2nd August to 7th September 1914, before being discharged ashore medically unfit, and did not gain any medal entitlement.