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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 128

A 'Battle of Jutland 1916' D.S.M. awarded to Chief Petty Officer J. Saddler, Royal Navy, for his service with H.M.S. Duke of Edinburgh during the Battle, the only ship from her Squadron to survive the engagement

Distinguished Service Medal, G.V.R. (211444 J. Saddler, P.O. H.M.S. Duke of Edinburgh. 31 May- 1 June. 1916.); 1914-15 Star (211444, J. Saddler, P.O., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (211444 J. Saddler. P.O. R.N.); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (211444 . Joseph Saddler, P.O. H.M.S. Duke of Edinburgh.), pitting and contact wear overall, very fine (5)

D.S.M. London Gazette 15 September 1916, the original citation states:

'for services rendered in the action in the North Sea 31 May-1 June 1916.

Joseph Saddler was born at Recliffe, Bristol on 8 December 1883, the son of William and Mary Saddler. Enlisting with the Royal Navy on 7 September 1900 as Boy Class II he saw his first service afloat with H.M.S. Hyacinth on 4 January 1902. Saddler was appointed Leading Seaman with the shore establishment Cambridge in April 1906 and Petty Officer with the Battleship Orion in September 1912.

Posted to the armoured cruiser Duke of Edinburgh on 3 March 1914 he was to see out the war with this vessel. She was at Malta on the opening of hostilities in August 1914 and after participating in the pursuit of the Goeben and Breslau received orders to proceed to the Red Sea. Whilst there she captured the merchantman Altair and supported the British capture of Cheikh Saïd, landing a demolition party to destroy the fort there.

Returning to Britain Duke of Edinburgh joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron, the unit she was stationed with when the Grand Fleet steamed out of port for the Battle of Jutland. This force, led by Captain Robert Arbuthnot, took up position with Jellicoe's line of battle only to spot the German 2nd Scouting group ahead of them. In a rash move Arbuthnot order the Squadron to attack and charged ahead with Defence and Warrior. Their sudden move forced Lion to abruptly change course to avoid a collision and this cut Duke of Edinburgh and Black Prince off from the manoeuvre.

The attack was a disaster with Defence being blown to pieces by an unlucky hit and Warrior being so badly damaged that she later sank. Duke of Edinburgh returned to her station with the Fleet, firing a number of rounds at the damaged cruiser Wiesbaden. During the night phase of the battle the other member of her Squadron Black Prince ran directly into the German Fleet and was sunk. This left Duke of Edinburgh as the last survivor of the 1st Cruiser Squadron.

After the action Duke of Edinburgh was attached to 2nd Cruiser Squadron and remained at sea for 2 June, searching for damaged ships and survivors. After this she was posted to the Shetland Islands and later the North America and West Indies Stationed to protect British commerce. Saddler left her in August 1918 and went ashore, finishing the war at Vivid I, he was promoted Chief Petty Officer on 1 April 1920 and was pensioned on 7 December 1923. Joining the Royal Fleet Reserve he appears on the 1939 census living at 47 Old Laira Road, Plymouth. Here he is listed as a General Labourer and 'Marker RN Range', he died at Plymouth on 23 July 1961; sold together with copied census data and service papers.

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