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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 130

The Great War D.S.M. group of four awarded to Petty Officer Telegrapher P. Jacobs, Royal Navy who was the Telegraphist aboard H.M.S. Severn during the epic action against the Königsberg during the Battle of Rufiji Delta on 6 July 1915

Distinguished Service Medal, G.V.R. (J.4831. P. Jacobs, Lg. Tel. H.M.S. Severn.); 1914-15 Star (J. 4831, P. Jacobs, D.S.M. L.Tel., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (J.4831 F. Jacobs. P.O. Tel. R.N.), mounted as worn, lightly toned, good very fine (4)

D.S.M. London Gazette 8 December 1915. The recommendation states:

'Was continuously on watch in the wireless room during both actions, he having no assistant except an incompetent boy. All the W/T signals made by aeroplane and flagship on 11 July were correctly taken in and reported.'

Percival Jacobs was born on 8 August 1893 at Yeovil, Somerset. He was a Chemistry Assistant prior to joining the Royal Navy which he does on 6 July 1909 as a Boy 2nd Class. He becomes a Boy Telegrapher on 5 February 1910 and serves aboard Collingwood from 3 September 1910. He becomes Ordinary Telegrapher 8 August 1911 and Telegrapher on 6 February 1912. Jacobs becomes Leading Telegrapher on 18 March 1914 and is serving on Defiance at that time and joins Severn a Monitor on 7 August 1914.

Battle of Rufiji Delta

Thus ensued two spectacular clashes with the Konigsberg, both of them fought in the Rufiji Delta, East Africa, in July 1915, and the second of them ending in the enemy cruiser’s demise. After the first engagement on the 6th, during which the Severn had to continue alone with the enemy’s salvoes straddling her, both monitors retired to assess their situation - but in the sure knowledge that Severn had certainly gained some hits, as well as knocking out an enemy observation party hiding in a tree on the bank. What followed in the second attack on the 11th was far more convincing, the fire of the monitors being well-directed by the spotting instructions of Flight Commander Cull, R.N.A.S. Corbett’s History of the Great War (Naval Operations) takes up the story:

‘One salvo was fired at the Mersey but after that the Konigsberg concentrated on the Severn. For a mile she steamed on under a rain of salvoes, untouched until about 12.30 she was securely anchored and could open fire. By this time Flight Commander Cull was again ready to spot for her. Seven salvoes were fired before he got her on, but the eighth was a hit. After that “Hit” came in almost continuously. In ten minutes the Konigsberg was firing only three guns ... The Severn’s guns were trained further aft to get the target amidships and at 12.52 a large explosion was seen, followed by thick clouds of smoke. Amidst the cheers that greeted the success ... the doomed ship was now clearly blazing from stem to stern. The monitors were recalled by the Admiral at 2.30 and so ended the last of the German cruisers on the high seas.’

Jacobs remained on Severn until 31 December 1917 and then served on Vivid I 1 January 1918 - 6 April 1918, Defiance 7 April 1918 - 16 May 1918, Vivid I 17 May 1918 - 26 May 1918, Gibraltar (Windflower) 27 May 1918 - 12 January 1919. He has further service on Defiance and Vivid I before serving on Hermione between 1 September 1919 until his discharge on 3 January 1920. His service papers make a note of enlistment to the Royal Corps of Signals in 1925.

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