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William H Jordan, DSM, Q-ship HMS Vala - WWI

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 20 Sep 2013 05:49

I have William's records and he joined the navy on 28/8/1904 when he was about 13. He was first on HMS Impregnable, a sailing ship used for training. Lots about it on the internet. William was shown as a bugler. He trained at HMS Vivid I and was on several ships, HMS Hogue, Essex and Bellerophon and often seemed to be back at HMS Vivid. During the war he was on HMS Active and for a short time on HMS Vengeance. HMS Active was based in Queenstown in 1917, which is where the Q-ships were based. Again he spent time at HMS Vivid I - maybe he trained others by this stage?

He served on the HMS Vala from 1/5/1917 and there were the following incidents:

20.05.1917: VALA was damaged in an gunfight with UC 44 off Fastnet Rock
21.05.1917: VALA was followed by UC 44, but was too far off for an attack
20.07.1917: VALA had an gunfight with UC 41 South of Ireland
20.08.1917: VALA was finally sunk by UB 54 Last reported in lat. 47 N., long. 9.32 W.,

The records showed that he was awarded the DSM as shown in London Gazette 20.7.17, but doesn't say why he was awarded it. Could it have been the gunfight of 20.7.1917 or is that a coincidence? I think it must have been something to do with the HMS Vala.

Maybe there's something out there that gives the reason for the DSM and perhaps I'll come across it.

It is sad to look up the different ships and find them scrapped. When I saw the HMS Bellaraphon I knew that I'd seen it before but it was an early sailing ship of the same name that was used as a Prison Hulk for a distant relative before he was transported to Australia as a convict!

Thanks for all your help in this search.

Best wishes

Liz

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 19 Sep 2013 13:30

It was quite common for boys age 15 and 16 to serve in the Royal Navy

From CWGC

FUNNELL, V A
Rank:Boy 2nd ClassService No:J/93768Date of Death:09/03/1919Age:15Regiment/Service:Royal Navy H.M.S. "Ganges II." Grave Reference CemeteryMOUNTFIELD (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD
Additional Information:

Son of Isaac Henry Funnell, of Church House, Mountfield.


And although the CWGC doent give age for this next one

but his dob is on his service record as 09 October 1900

Births Dec quarter 1900 Dadswell Jesse George Hastings 2b 11

DADSWELL, J G
Rank:Boy 2nd ClassService No:J/53152Date of Death:16/08/1916Regiment/Service:Royal Navy H.M.S. "Ganges." Grave Reference CemeteryFAIRLIGHT (ST. ANDREW) CHURCHYARD
Additional Information:


Reference:
ADM 188/753/53152
Description:
Name Dadswell, Jesse George
Official Number: J53152
Place of Birth: Fairlight Hastings, Sussex
Date of Birth: 09 October 1900

Date: [1915]
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former references: in its original department: Vol No. J53-1
Legal status: Public Record





Roy

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 19 Sep 2013 11:41

Hi Roy

Will look at it tomorrow - he would have been very young in 1905. My grandfather joined the army when he was very young and learned to read and write (he'd considered school a waste of time and didn't go) so I wonder if William was similar.

Will let you know how it goes.

Evening here in Australia and winding down for the night.

Best wishes

Liz

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 19 Sep 2013 09:58

Have you downloaded his service record?

If not it is on the National archives web site and can be downloaded it for £3. 65 but it says date range 01 January 1905 - 31 December 1905 so not sure that it will cover the war years

Name Jordan, William Henry. Official Number: 234463. Place of Birth: Bermondsey, London. Date of Birth: ...

Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services. General series to 1907. Name Jordan, William Henry. Official Number: 234463. Place of Birth: Bermondsey, London. Date of Birth: 22 June 1889.
Collection: Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies
Date range:01 January 1905 - 31 December 1905
Reference:ADM 188/415/234463
Subjects:Armed Forces (General), Middle East, Navy


Reference:
ADM 188/415/234463
Description:
Name Jordan, William Henry
Official Number: 234463
Place of Birth: Bermondsey, London
Date of Birth: 22 June 1889
Date: [1905]
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former references: in its original department: Vol No.234-1
Legal status: Public Record

use this link

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D6737283

Roy

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 19 Sep 2013 06:16

Hi again Roy

I came across this information on HMS Valla - always a little bit more to find.

_______________________

from war diary, the following should be of interest:

steamer was estimated at 1000 tons (which is surprisingly correct!), doing little speed, even sometimes stopping, 6 look-outs seen through periscope, so steamer was torpedoed.

Torpedo hit in foreward hold, steamer first laying over to port, but than again on even keel. 2 boats with 12 to 14 men apiece launched from the steamer, but 8 men still visible on board. Boats being fitted with lines at the stern, the steamer always trying to show her bow to the periscope. As an Q-ship was expected now, an second torpedo was fired which hit the after hold. An additional 16 to 20 men left the steamer which now was sinking rapidly.

After 10 min. UB 54 surfaced, found ammunition casks and charts made for warships, later an gunsight marked Q.8, so Q-ship-status confirmed. The crew was questioned and gave the name of the steamer as VALA

weather on the morning of 21.08. was: wind WNW 3, sea 2, but getting worse to wind SW 7 - 8, sea 6 on the afternoon of 21st, so obviously the crew of VALA fell victim to the sea in their boats!

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=66432

Best wishes

Liz

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 19 Sep 2013 03:57

Hi Roy

Thanks for the references which have been very interesting. I didn’t know that the crew of HMS Vala mainly survived and took to the boats but were never heard of again. Would the weather have been bad at that time of the year off the Scilly Isles? The captain of the U boat survived the war and nothing was shown against his conduct, but wonder if the U boat would have anything to do with the crew’s disappearance?

As she was a Special Services ship of the Royal Navy, do you think that that was why the medal was awarded under “ Honours for Miscellaneous Services”? Most of the other lists seem to have a mention of why the DSM was awarded.

I have learned more from your references than I knew before, but – the more answers found the more questions there are!

Thank you once again.

Best wishes
Liz

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 19 Sep 2013 01:08

Hi Roy

Thanks very much for the information. It looks as though he was awarded the medal about a month before he was killed. His father died about three months after William was killed and as far as I know he was not married - wonder what happened to the medal.

I will look up the links and get back to you later.

Thanks for all the detail you found and the work put into your reply.

Best wishes

Liz

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 19 Sep 2013 00:27

D.S.M. was established on 14th October 1914.

It was an award for bravery whilst on active service at sea and was for other ranks' Royal Navy personnel, members of the other Services and other Commonwealth countries who held rank up to and including Chief Petty Officer.

On the reverse there was an inscription “For Distinguished Service”. Bars were awarded for subsequent actions and the date of the action during the First World War was given on the reverse of the bar. Recipients of the medal are entitled to use the letters D.S.M. after their name.

The Distinguished Service Medal (D.S.M.) is equivalent to the Military Medal (M.M.), the Distinguished Flying Medal (D.F.M.) and the Air Force Medal (A.F.M.).


From http://www.greatwar.co.uk/medals/ww1-gallantry-awards.htm#DSM

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal. 30194 - 20 JULY 1917


2nd Hnd. Walter William Cowell, R.N.R., O.N. 4513 D.A.

Sea. George Wilson, R.N.R., O.N. 7484 A.

C.P.O. Arthur Fagg, O.N. 186034 (Ch.).

Ldg. Teleg. William James Drayton, O.N. 238934 (Ch.).

P.O. Benjamin Percy Youngs, O.N. 194063 (Ch.).

Arm. Harold Mortimer Way, O.N. 342769 (Ch.).

C.P.O. John Henry Woolley, O.N. 156564 (Ch.).

E.R.A., 3rd Cl., Robert Cochran, O.N. M. 2229 (Ch.).

Ch. Motor Mech. Peter William Jacomel, R.N.V.R., O.N. M.B. 529.

Dkhnd. William Wigg, R.N.R., O.N. 2722 SD.

Ldg. Dkhnd. Donald Archibald McLean, R.N.R., O.N. 1645 SD.

Dkhnd. James Daniels, R.N.R., O.N. 3147 SD.

Ldg. Sea. William Billett, O.N. 182716 (Ch.).

Sea. Alma Dougherty, R.N.R., O.N. 2196 D.

A.B. William Henry Jordan, O.N. 234463 (Dev.).

Dkhnd. George Darwood, R.N.R., O.N. 2772 D.A.

Lce.-Corpl. William Brown, R.M.L.I., No. Ch./10933 (R.F.R., B. 1787).


http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritishLGDecorationszzDSM.htm

It should also appear in the London Gazette,

Added, And it is see link

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30194/supplements/7424

About the ship see http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?13517

He is listed as one of the 43 persons lost

Roy

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Report 19 Sep 2013 00:12

I have the following information about William Henry Jordan and wonder if anybody knows anything more about the Q-ships apart from the info I found below.

Also, is there anywhere that I can find how William earned the DSM?

As a point of interest I found the U-boat and captain who sank the HMS Vala on the internet.

Many thanks

Liz Jordan
Australia

________

Naval Casualties 1914-1919 - soldier details
Name: William Henry JORDAN

Rating: A.B.

Birth date/place: 22.6.89. Bermondsey, London.

Section scan: 8/1205

Service branch: R.N.

Ship unit: HMS VALA

Official number: 234463. (DEV)

Cause of death: Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action.

Date of death: 21/08/1917

Location of grave: Not recorded

Cemetery: Body not recovered for burial

Relatives notified: Father. Frederick C. Prince of Wales Plough Road, Rotherhithe, London, S.E.

Decorations: D.S.M.


Grave/Memorial Reference: 21.
Memorial: PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL .
.________________________________________________.

On the web about HMS Vala;HMS Vala was a Q-ship. Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, Decoy Vessels, Special Service Ships or Mystery Ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The basic ethos of every Q-ship was to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The VALA was involved in several "meetings" with German U-boats:

22.11.1916: VALA was missed by one torpedo
26.12.1916: VALA was damaged by gunfire from UC 46 off Milford Haven
03.01.1917: VALA had a gunfight with UB 18 South of Lizard Head
21.04.1917: VALA was damaged in an gunfight with an U-boat South of Ireland
24.04.1917: VALA was damaged in an gunfight with UC 47 off the Scillies
20.05.1917: VALA was damaged in an gunfight with UC 44 off Fastnet Rock
21.05.1917: VALA was followed by UC 44, but was too far off for an attack
20.07.1917: VALA had an gunfight with UC 41 South of Ireland
20.08.1917: VALA was finally sunk by UB 54 Last reported in lat. 47 N., long. 9.32 W.,