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A Second War Inshore Squadron ‘Tobruk Run’ D.S.M. group of seven awarded to Able Seaman C. Beavington, Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Reserve, who had previously earned a Mention in Despatches for his care of wounded following the loss of H.M.S. Fiona
Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R.  officially named to: SS.11573 C. H. Beavington. A.B.

1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star; Pacific Star; War Medal 1939-45, with M.I.D. oak leaf.

Royal Fleet Reserve L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue officially named to: SS.11573 (Ch. B. 19754 C. H. Beavington. A.B. R.F.R.

Number partially officially corrected on last, otherwise nearly extremely fine. 

D.S.M. London Gazette 7 April 1942:
‘For bravery, skill and seamanship on passage to Tobruk while serving in H.M. Ships Wolborough and Klo.

The original recommendation states: ‘During Wolborough’s extended periods of service at Tobruk and Sollum, when subjected to some twenty attacks by aircraft, both low and high level attack, his exemplary courage and cheerfulness and ability greatly assisted to maintain the morale and efficiency of the ship’s company under very trying conditions.
His resourcefulness and sense of duty were again shown in his efforts to assist the wounded survivors of H.M.S. Fiona. By his first-aid treatment the arm of one of the survivors was saved from amputation.
The conspicuous success of the A.A. fire of the ship is in no small measure due to Beavington’s care of the armament and instruction of the guns’ crews.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 25 November 1941.
The original Recommendation states: ‘Able Seaman Charles H. Beavington, Royal Fleet Reserve, of H.M.S. Wolborough rendered first aid to the survivors of H.M.S. Fiona on 18 April 1941. There were approximately eleven cot cases, five of which were badly wounded, and fifteen with superficial injuries. One of the more seriously wounded, Able Seaman Utteridge, had a very badly lacerated arm above the elbow. First aid was immediately applied by Beavington, who stopped the bleeding and dressed the arm. Had it not been done efficiently, Utteridge would probably have lost his arm if not his life. This is only an instance of Beavington’s valuable assistance; he attended to all the wounded and did much to alleviate their pain and suffering until the arrival of Surgeon Lieutenant Bray of H.M.S.Greyhound some four hours later. This rating showed considerable skill and devotion to duty in attending to the wounded.’

Charles Henry Beavington was born at Holborn, London in 1900. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the Army, serving with 6th Battalion, London Regiment, and 51st Battalion, Rifle Brigade. He did not see service overseas before the end of hostilities, but in January 1919 was drafted to Germany, where he served with the Army of Occupation at Cologne until his return home for demobilisation in February 1920. In September 1921 he joined the Royal Navy on a five-year short service engagement, on completion of which he enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve, and took up civilian occupation with London Transport. His Long Service and Good Conduct Medal was authorised on 12 November 1936 but, in common with many other Reservists, it was not issued to him until some time later, and in due course he received a George VI issue, rather than a George V issue. Recalled to the Royal Navy in November 1939, he was drafted to the anti-submarine trawler H.M.S. Wolborough at the end of the year.

In the summer of 1940 Wolborough transferred from home waters to the Mediterranean, where she became lead ship of the 28th A/S Trawler Group. Her new Commanding Officer was Lieutenant-Commander Alan Ramsay, D.S.C., R.N., a re-called officer with one eye who had won his D.S.C. in Coastal Motor Boats in the first war, and had the habit of startling his brother officers by taking out his glass eye and rolling it along the bar counter like a marble. Many of Wolborough’s 28-man complement were Scottish and Shetland reservists drawn from the fishing fleet; under Ramsay’s influence – and doubtless that of a mature and experienced regular naval rating such as Charles Beavington – it is recorded by another of her officers that proper service routine and discipline were instituted, ‘and the ship's company finally got the fish scales off their hands and became real naval ratings’.

The rapid advances achieved by British forces in the Western Desert during 1940 led the Royal Navy to form an Inshore Squadron in their support. This motley collection of ships included an elderly monitor, three river gunboats from the China Station and a couple of armed boarding vessels, together with destroyers, trawlers and various small supply vessels. Their duties would include bombarding shore targets, as well as replacing merchantmen in the business of carrying fuel, water and supplies, and evacuating wounded and prisoners of war. Wolborough played a full part in these operations throughout. She sailed under constant threat of attack by enemy air and surface forces, as well as the persistent menace of mines, with only a 4-inch gun for defence, supplemented by as many captured Italian Breda machine-guns as her crew were able to scrounge.

The perils of the Inshore Squadron’s work were illustrated by the loss of the armed boarding vessel H.M.S. Fiona on 18 April, 1941. Set upon by Stuka dive-bombers 50 miles off Sidi Barrani, a hit to her boiler room ensured her rapid sinking, with heavy loss of life.Wolborough was first on the scene to pick up survivors, and for his services Beavington was Mentioned in Despatches. This incident marked the start of Wolborough’s most intense period of service, after Rommel’s Afrika Corps had quickly wiped-out British gains in Libya and left the vital port of Tobruk to be stubbornly defended deep behind enemy lines. In an epic siege that would last for 241 days, the Australian and British defenders were enabled to hold out by the efforts of the Inshore Squadron to maintain a steady flow of stores and reinforcements, while evacuating the wounded. Wolborough made seven hazardous voyages to Tobruk on what the sailors called the ‘Spud Run’, on two of which her freedom to manoeuvre was restricted through towing defective ships. During these voyages and while at Tobruk for 36 days she had over 100 bombs near her and on a further five occasions was attacked with machine guns. Many other bombing attacks resulted in the bombs being dropped wide owing to the ship’s intensive and accurate shooting. This frantic period of action resulted in the awards of a Distinguished Service Order for Ramsay, a Distinguished Service Cross, two Distinguished Service Medals (to Beavington and the trawler’s engineman George Jacobs), and two more ‘mentions’ – a highly respectable tally for such a small ship. Incidentally, all of the medallic awards announced under this gazette heading were to the Wolborough, with the officers and men of the Klo gaining nothing higher than a Mention in Despatches.

Beavington transferred to H.M.S. Pembroke on 16 April 1942, and then to H.M.S. Cyclopson 6 August 1942, remaining with her for the rest of the War. He was released Class ‘A’ on 8 October 1945, and was discharged from the Royal Fleet Reserve on 12 September 1946.

Sold together with a good selection of original documentation, including the recipient’s Royal Navy service certificate, transmission letter for Mention in Despatches emblem (with pin-back type emblem attached), D.S.M. gratuity certificate, gunnery history sheet, passing certificate for Small Vessels Gunlayer’s course, various testimonials, Army attestation, employment, character, protection and discharge certificates and cuttings from London Transport magazine.

Product Code: EM3004

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