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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 118

A Coastal Defence officer's O.B.E. pair awarded to Captain B. J. H. Ward, Royal Navy, who was responsible for defending the Firth of Forth from German Submarines

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Officer's (O.B.E.) 1st Type breast Badge, Military Division, silver-gilt; British War Medal 1914-20 (Capt. B. J. H. Ward. R.N.), nearly extremely fine (2)

O.B.E. London Gazette 27 June 1919, the original recommendation states:

'Extended Defence Officer, Firth of Forth. This officer's duties have confined him to the Island of Inch Keith, always. Always on the alert, he has controlled the numerous hunts for submarines by surface and aircraft and his duties have been carried out in a highly satisfactory manner.'

Note this comprises the recipient's full entitlement.

Bernard John Hamilton Ward was born at North Stoneham, Hampshire, on 13 March 1875, the son of Bernard and Charlotte Ward. He was a relative of the Viscounts of Bangor and married Annie Lilias Dalvell, a daughter of Warwick Castle.

The younger Ward joined the navy as a Cadet on 15 January 1889 at the training ship Brittania. Passing as a Midshipman he was appointed to the role on 15 May 1891 with the Battleship Inflexible.

Going ashore on 19 November 1893 Ward took and passed his Lieutenant's exam, being advanced Sub-Lieutenant on 14 November 1894. Further promoted Lieutenant on 22 July 1897 with H.M.S. Royal Sovereign and Commander on 31 December 1908.

His first command was the destroyer Wolf on 26 January 1909 where he was reported to be 'A good Destroyer officer' by his superior. Serving as Flag Commander at Rosyth on the outbreak of the Great War Ward was posted to the Firth of Forth on 1 February 1915.

Here he served as Extended Defence Officer, Firth of Forth with responsibility for tracking and passing on information about the movements of enemy ships. This would be passed to the Naval Officer in command of the Inner Forth War Signal Station who would pass it to the Fire Commander. He was also responsible for the floating defences such as patrol vessels and anti-submarine precautions which he would co-ordinate.

Ward was rewarded with promotion to Captain and an appointment to the Staff of Admiral Lowry on 21 March 1916. At that point the Admiral held the station of Admiral Commanding on the Coast of Scotland. Ward continued to serve until 8 October 1920 when he was placed on the retired list as medically unfit.

He died in Southampton on 20 September 1938; sold together with copied service papers, medal rolls and award recommendation as well as birth and death registry entries and London Gazette extracts.

For the medals and decorations of his half-brother see Lot 144.

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