served between November 1899 and August 1900. She was commanded by Captain A L Winsloe.
Picture courtesy of DNW
QSA (1) CC (Bosn. S. C. Legg, R.N. H.M.S. Niobe);
1914-15 Star (Ch. Bosn. S. C. Legg. R.N.);
BWM and VM (Ch. Bosn. S. C. Legg. R.N.);
France, Medaille Militaire
Together with ‘H.M.S. New Zealand’ Visit Medal 1913, silver, in its original W. R. Bock, Wellington, brown leather purse; Naval Victories Medal, by Spink, commemorating the battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland, bronze, in fitted case of issue, the lid embossed ‘H.M.S. New Zealand Xmas 1916.’; and Battle of Jutland Medal, by Spink, white metal, these last two privately named ‘S. C. Legg. Chief Boatswain. H.M.S. New Zealand.’
Medaille Militaire London Gazette 15 September 1916 (Jutland).
Sydney Charles Legg was born at Dartmouth, Devon, on 19 April 1867, and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class aboard H.M.S. Lion on 14 July 1882. He progressed through the rates to become Petty Officer 1st Class in July 1897 and, while serving in Niobe in South African waters during the Boer War, was appointed Acting Boatswain on 1 February 1900, and confirmed in that rank later in the same year. He continued at sea in various ships until 27 February 1912 when he was appointed to ‘stand by’ H.M.S. New Zealand, then building at Govan at the charge of the New Zealand Government.
He served on the battlecruiser New Zealand until August 1917, having been advanced to Chief Boatswain in February 1915. As such he was aboard the ship when she went on tour to the Dominions in 1913, including a visit to her namesake during 12 April-25 June 1913. Whilst there the ship was estimated to have been visited by almost half the population of New Zealand - most pertinent of whom was a Maori chieftain who presented the captain with a Maori piupiu (a warrior’s skirt) and a greenstone tiki (pendant) which were intended to ward off evil, with the injunction that they were always to be worn by the captain when the ship was in action. Their efficacy was to be proved as the ship saw action at the battles of Heligoland Bight 1914, Dogger Bank 1915 and Jutland 1916.
At Dogger Bank, command of the British squadrons fell to Rear-Admiral Moore of the New Zealand when Beatty’s Lion was badly damaged by three 12-inch shells from the Derfflinger, and as a consequence she was directly engaged in the three hour duel that resulted in the loss of the Blucher.
At Jutland, the crew of the New Zealand had the misfortune to witness the loss of the Indefatigable and the Queen Mary, passing the latter battle cruiser on the port beam at just 100 yards distance when she blew up. An Officer stationed in New Zealand’s gun-control position later wrote:
‘At about 4.35 the stern of a ship projecting about 70 feet out of the water, with the propellers revolving slowly, drifted into the field of my glasses; clouds of white paper were blowing out of the after-hatch, and on her stern I read “Queen Mary”. She passed us about 100 yards on our port beam, and a moment later there was a blinding flash, a dull heavy roar, which ceased as suddenly as it began, followed by a few seconds silence, and then the patter of falling debris. All that was left of the “Queen Mary” was a great mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke about 600 to 800 feet high, which temporarily obscured our view of the enemy, but a few seconds later we drew clear.’
In spite of such harrowing scenes, the New Zealand’s crew continued to engage the enemy with numerous well-aimed salvoes, the whole under the direction of Admiral Pakenham and Captain John Green. The crew were doubtless relieved to know that the latter was wearing the piupiu and tikii as instructed. As mascots went, they did the trick, with just one enemy shell hitting the New Zealand on her after turret causing no casualties.
Legg was appointed to Rosyth Dockyard on 2 August 1917, and, on 19 April 1922, was promoted to Lieutenant and retired. He was still in the Retired List in 1948, aged 81.
E&W Africa (1) Benin 1897 (M. T. Johns, Lg. Sto. 1 Cl. H.M.S. Phœbe.);
QSA (0) (M. T. Johns, Ch. Sto., H.M.S. Niobe);
RN LS&GC VR (M. T. Johns, Ldg: Stoker, H.M.S. Speedwell.)
Martin Thomas Johns was born in Calstock, Cornwall, in March 1857, and joined the Royal Navy as Stoker 2nd Class on 24 February 1880. Posted to H.M.S. Royal Adelaide, he was advanced Stoker on 1 September 1880, and Leading Stoker on 25 March 1890. Posted to H.M.S. Speedwell on 1 July 1890, he was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 30 July 1890, and was promoted Leading Stoker 1st Class on 1 April 1893. He transferred to H.M.S. Phoebe on 13 November 1895, and was appointed Acting Chief Stoker on 6 May 1897. Promoted to his ultimate rate of Chief Stoker on 6 May 1898, he transferred to H.M.S. Niobe on 6 December 1898, and was shore pensioned on 21 May 1900.
QSA (1) Cape Colony (C. Stone, A.B. H.M.S. Niobe.);
AGS 1902 (1) Somaliland 1908-10 (168171 C. W. Stone, A.B, H.M.S. Philomel.);
1914-15 Star (168171, C. W. Stone, A.B., R.N.);
BWM and VM (168171, C. W. Stone, A.B., R.N.);
Royal Navy LS&GC EdVII. (168171 C. W. Stone, A.B., H.M.S. Excellent.)
Charles William Stone was born in Mile End, East London in May 1877. He enlisted into the Royal Navy in May 1895 and was assigned to the school ship HMS Impregnable as a Boy Second Class. In December 1898 he was posted to the cruiser HMS Niobe and was aboard during her involvement in the Second Boer War. Stone also saw land service during the campaign, earning him a clasp to his Queen’s South Africa Medal. Between February 1908 and July 1909 he served aboard HMS Philomel and was present during her operations off the coast of Somaliland. He was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in August 1910 while assigned to the gunnery school, HMS Excellent.
On the outbreak of the Great War Stone was serving aboard the destroyer HMS Ariel and was part of the ship’s crew during the Battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland. The ship was also involved in the sinking of the German submarine, U-12. Between August 1916 and the end of the war, he also served on the destroyers HMS Oracle and Ursula, having transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve in March 1917.
QSA (0) (T. J. Mitchell, Ord., HMS Niobe.) small impressed naming;
1914-15 Star (190256, T. J. Mitchell, A.B., R.N.);
BWM and VM (190256 T. J. Mitchell. A.B. R.N.);
Coronation 1902, Hong Kong issue, bronze, unnamed as issued, with later ring suspension;
Royal Navy LS&GC GV, 1st issue (190256. T. J. Mitchell. A.B. HMS Valiant.)
QSA (0), (R. Quick. Sto, HMS Niobe);
Naval General Service 1915-62, (1) Persian Gulf 1909-1914 (287343, R. Quick, Sto. P.O., HMS Fox)
[ 1914-15 Trio ]
Richard Quick, a fisherman from Mousehole, Cornwall, was born on 29 December 1878. Enlisting in the Royal Navy on 15 February 1898, he saw service during the Boer War in HMS Niobe, and later in the Persian Gulf in HMS Fox, and was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 28 February 1913. Appointed Chief Stoker on 10 April 1914, his Great War service was in HMS Warrior in the Mediterranean Fleet, where she participated in the Allied sweep which led to the sinking of the Austro-Hungarian light cruiser SMS Zenta during the Battle of Antivari in August 1914.
Warrior joined the Grand Fleet in December 1914 and was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Keith Arbuthnot. At the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, the 1st Cruiser Squadron was in front of the Grand Fleet, on the right side. At 5:47 p.m., the squadron flagship, HMS Defence, and Warrior spotted the German II Scouting Group and opened fire. Their shells felt short and the two ships turned to port in pursuit, cutting in front of the battlecruiser HMS Lion, which was forced to turn away to avoid a collision. Shortly afterwards they spotted the disabled German light cruiser SMS Wiesbaden and closed to engage. When the two ships reached a range of 5,500 yards from Wiesbaden they were spotted in turn at 6:05 p.m. by the German battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger and four battleships who were less than 8,000 yards away. The fire from the German ships was heavy and Warrior was hit by at least fifteen 28-centimetre (11 in) and six 15-centimetre (5.9 in) shells, but was saved when the German ships switched their fire to the battleship HMS Warspite.
Warrior was heavily damaged by the German shells, which caused large fires and heavy flooding, although the engine room crew, where Quick was serving, and of whom only three survived, kept the engines running for long enough to allow her to withdraw. She was taken in tow by the seaplane tender HMS Engadine who took off her surviving crew of 743. She was abandoned in a rising sea at 8:25 a.m. on 1 June when her upper deck was only 4 feet above the water line and subsequently foundered.
Quick’s service record noted that he was wounded on 31 May 1916. He died of wounds, aged 36, on 11 June , whilst borne on the books of HMS Vivid. He is buried in Penzance (St. Paul’s) Cemetery, Cornwall.
Randolph Divett was born on 17 May 1883 at Southport, the son of the secretary of the Royal London Yacht Club. Appointed Midshipman in 1897, Divett was promoted Lieutenant on 15 August 1904. In 1906, he was sent to Haslar and diagnosed with 'derangement'. An appointment in command of Opossum was cancelled in June 1908. While appointed in command of Havock, Divett was reported absent from 21 November 1908, being court martialled in January 1909. He admitted the charge, and explained that he was suffering from influenza and was worried over private affairs. He was dismissed the ship and penalized a year's seniority.
On 10 August 1910 he was appointed First Officer in the Maori, until he committed some grave impropriety in July 1911. On 31 July 1911, Divett was tried by Court Martial on charges of fraudulent conversion of money and forgery. He was dismissed the service in disgrace.