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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 69

Four: Petty Officer F. A. Slade, Royal Navy, present at the Battle of Pacocha off the coast of Peru and who served aboard Alexandra when Israel Harding won his Victoria Cross for saving his shipmates from a live shell

South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1879 (F. A. Slade. A.B. H.M.S. "Shah".); Egypt & Sudan 1882-89, 1 clasp, Alexandria 11th July (F. A. Slade. A.B. H.M.S. "Alexandra".); Royal Naval L.S. & G.C., V.R. (F. A. Slade, P.O.2nd CL., H.M.S. Tartar.); Khedive's Star, dated 1882 light contact marks from the star, otherwise very fine (4)

Frank Alexander Slade was born at Bristol, Somerset on 3 August 1856. He was an Errand Boy before enlisting into the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 1 July 1873 aboard Impregnable. He served on Shah as an Ordinary Seaman from 14 August 1874 until 31 October 1879.

He was aboard Shah on 29 May 1877, in company with the corvette Amethyst, she fought an action near Ilo, Peru, known as the Battle of Pacocha. This was against the Peruvian armoured single-turret ship Huáscar, which had been taken over by anti-government rebels, and had boarded some British merchant ships. The armoured Huáscar proved virtually impenetrable to the British guns, but the two unarmoured British ships had to keep clear of the Huáscar’s turret guns. Although Shah was the fastest battleship then afloat, the smaller Huáscar was more manoeuverable in the shallow waters. In the course of the action, Shah fired the first torpedo to be used in anger, although it missed – being outrun by Huáscar.

On completion of his time on Shah he returned to the U.K. to serve on Excellent. He then serves on Alexandra between 9 March 1882 to 31 January 1883.

On 11 July 1882 at Alexandria Alexandra with other ships, was bombarding the forts of the city and suffered damage and casualties from the enemy's guns. During the engagement a 10-inch shell passed through the ship's side and lodged on the main deck. Gunner Harding, hearing a shout that there was a live shell just above the hatchway (which led to the magazine) rushed up from below, picked it up and flung it into a tub of water. Had the shell burst it would probably have caused many deaths. Harding won the Victoria Cross for his action.

Slade again returns to the U.K. and serves on Excellent again until 20 April 1883 before serving on Lord Warden from 21 April 1883 to 29 August 1884 before a final stint on Excellent from 20 August 1885 - 31 December 1885 when he reached expired time under his current service. However he extends his time and remained in the Royal Navy until 27 August 1895, seeing service on Tourmaline, Duke of Wellington and Tartar and reached the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class.

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