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Medals to HMS Pelorus 1 month 2 weeks ago #78341

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Picture courtesy of the London Medal Company

914-1915 Star; (268371. R.C. MARLTON. E.R.A.1. R.N.);
British War Medal and Victory Medal; (268371 H.C. WARLTON. E.R.A.1 R.N.);

Henry Charles Marlton was born on 9th March 1868 in Lee, Kent, and having worked as a coppersmith, then joined the Royal Navy as an Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (Devonport No.268371) with Vivid II from 2nd January 1895, and was confirmed in the rank of Engine Room Artificer 4th Class on 11th January 1897 whilst aboard Undaunted. Advanced to Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class on 1st October 1898 whilst aboard the cruiser Pelorus, with which ship he then participated in the operations on and off the coast of South Africa during the Boer War. Pelorus was present on operations between 8th December 1899 and 26th June 1900. In all 229 men from Pelorus were entitled to the medal, of which 215 gained it without clasp, Marlton being one of those.

He was then advanced to Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class on 1st July 1903 whilst aboard Psyche, and to Engine Room Artificer 1st Class on 11th July 1907 whilst aboard Espiegl. Marlton was awarded the Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 31st January 1910 whilst aboard the armoured cruiser Cumberland, and with the outbreak of the Great War was aboard the battleship Ajax, which saw service with the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet.

As such Marlton was aboard her when she participated in the Royal Navy’s response to the German bombardment of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby in December 1914, and went on to see service with her in the North Sea and at the Battle of Jutland on 31t May 1916. In an attempt to lure out and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, the High Seas Fleet, composed of sixteen dreadnoughts, six pre-dreadnoughts and supporting ships, departed the Jade Bight early on the morning of 31 May. The fleet sailed in concert with Hipper's five battlecruisers. Room 40 had intercepted and decrypted German radio traffic containing plans of the operation. In response the Admiralty ordered the Grand Fleet, totalling some 28 dreadnoughts and 9 battlecruisers, to sortie the night before to cut off and destroy the High Seas Fleet. On 31 May, Ajax, under the command of Captain George Baird, was the second ship from the head of the battle line after deployment. She fired one salvo of six common pointed, capped shells at the battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group shortly after 19:00, but had to cease fire immediately afterwards when her view was obstructed by the ships of the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron. That was the only time that the ship fired her weapons during the battle.

Posted back to Vivid II from 5th May 1917, Marlton was invalided from service owing to a condition with both of his eyes on 6th June 1917.

Dr David Biggins

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