Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The QSA named to a cruise ship: HMS Ophir

In June 1901 HMS Ophir took the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (the future King George V and Queen Mary) on a tour of the Empire. Their route included South Africa - the war was still raging.

From EF Knight, With The Royal Tour

The ship named 'HMS Ophir' was a civilian ship of the Orient Steam Navigation Company. It only received the prefix 'His Majesty's Ship' for the duration of the Royal tour. One of the functions carried out by the Royals was the presentation of QSA medals to Australian and New Zealand recipients. These, known as "Ophir presentation medals", were issued unnamed and engraved locally, thus they have a different and distinctive naming style to other QSAs.

From EF Knight, With the Royal Tour

Example of naming on a QSA presented on HMS Ophir and named locally in Australia. Ryan Darby
To supplement the civilian crew 53 Royal Navy officers and men were seconded to the ship. Most of the sailors had served during the war, so they were correctly entitled to a Queen's South Africa medal.

The curiosity is that a number of these men received QSAs named to 'HMS Ophir', a ship that never served in a war-like capacity during the war.



From the table below it will be seen that only seven of the 53 of the HMS Ophir QSAs are known, and only three are named to HMS Ophir.

Name Number Rank Unit served ABW Medal Named To
Amos JE 4.197 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch
Banbury W Carpenter HMS Niobe
Bath E 5509 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery
Blackler ER 138.978 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Brooks AJ 355.853 Domestic HMS Niobe
Bryer SMG Engineer HMS Niobe
Coak G 114.036 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Collins AD 341.209 Shipwright HMS Partridge
Crichton-Maitland CM Lieutenant HMS Niobe
Dilton WJ 165.933 Stoker HMS Powerful
Dingle A 182.842 Able Seaman HMS Fearless
Elmes H 5719 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Farnley AH 147.391 Acting Chief Yeoman of Signals HMS Diadem HMS Diadem
Fraser R 5.265 Gunner HMS Monarch
Fuggle WJ 139.794 Petty Officer 2nd Class HMS Powerful
Game J Ply6.451 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Gosling JS 158.692 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Gregson J 278.345 Stoker HMS Powerful
Guyatt F Po7.816 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Harvey E 5.641 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Powerful
Herring CR 4.540 Gunner HMS Monarch
Hogan AJ 180.318 Able Seaman HMS Niobe HMS Niobe
Holdway W 151.709 Leading Stoker HMS Fearless HMS Ophir
Hutchings F Ply5.808 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Killan T 284177 Stoker HMS Powerful HMS Ophir
Knight DJ 130.376 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Land CE 167.357 Able Seaman HMS Powerful
Lee WR 183.137 Able Seaman HMS Fearless
Livingstone J 3396 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Martin JF 142.963 Stoker HMS Fearless
McCormack C 109.665 Master At Arms HMS Niobe
Millington J Ply6.742 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Musk W 161.890 2/Yeoman of Signals HMS Niobe
Norris J 4367 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery
Raikes GL Lieutenant Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch HMS Monarch
Read WG 182.574 Able Seaman HMS Monarch
Ridgway F 4.260 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch
Saurin GL Midshipman HMS Diadem HMS Diadem
Smith AE 282.946 Stoker HMS Powerful
Spencer E 158.713 Stoker HMS Powerful
Stockley HHF Lieutenant Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Stone RJ 124.598 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Stumbles GE 163.303 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Taylor E 153866 Leading Stoker HMS Fearless HMS Ophir
Tildesley JH Po7.134 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Tillman W 8266 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Toms E 133.659 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Tye AC Ch4.569 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Monarch
Walker FS 186.955 Able Seaman HMS Tartar
Wemyss RE Commander HMS Niobe
Winsloe AL Captain HMS Niobe
Wreford FA 112.186 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Wright H 179.875 Able Seaman HMS Tartar

The tour received much press coverage. At least two accounts were published:


HMS Ophir was escorted by two Royal Navy Ships HMS Juno (7 QSA medals) and HMS St George (12 QSA medals). None of these medals are known to be extant.

HMS St George
Name Number Rank Ship served ABW
Bunker S 174.718 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Carpenter AA 187.102 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Chichester EG Midshipman HMS Powerful
Clarke F 166.379 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Claxton AA 145.559 Leading Carpenter's Crew HMS Powerful
Coate JJ 183.468 Stoker HMS Powerful
Jacobs W 180.568 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Johncox EA 190.774 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Read WCC 162.263 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Stannard WP 173.522 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Terry FG Midshipman HMS Niobe
Walker BC Midshipman HMS Niobe

HMS Juno
Name Number Rank Ship served ABW
Barwell W Po9.471 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Monarch
Bowes J 153.881 Stoker HMS Powerful
Chant FG 193.151 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Dowden F 175.472 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Gooch JA 159.697 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Le Quelenac JA 172057 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Spicer JG 125137 Yeoman of Signals HMS Monarch, HMS Philomel

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