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The John Chidzey Collection A fine

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Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500
ca. US$1,898 - US$2,372
Price realised:  £3,600
ca. US$5,694
Lot number 1744, Views: 18

The John Chidzey Collection A fine Second World War Malta convoy D.S.M. group of six awarded to Chief Stoker H. Kelly, Royal Navy, who shared in all eight of the Battle Honours won by the cruiser Penelope - a.k.a. “H.M.S. Pepperpot” on account of severe damage - including “Norway 1940”, for which he was awarded a “mention”, and “Malta Convoys 1941-42”, for which he was decorated for his part in Operation “M.G. 1” and the battle of Sirte: tragically he was also among those lost on the occasion of the cruiser’s demise in February 1944 Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (K. 62319 H. Kelly, Ch. Sto.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Italy Star; War medal 1939-45, M.I.D. oak leaf; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 3rd issue (K. 62319 H. Kelly, P.O., H.M.S. Erebus), good very fine and better (6) £1200-1500 Footnote D.S.M. London Gazette 6 October 1942: ‘For bravery, endurance and sustained devotion to duty in H.M. Ships Aurora, Avon Vale, Lance, Legion, Kingston and Penelope, and at Malta, during and after the passage of an important convoy.’ Mention in despatches London Gazette 6 January 1942: ‘For courage, resource, zeal and devotion to duty while serving in Norwegian waters and elsewhere in the Spring and Summer of 1940.’ Harold Kelly was born in Lower Broughton, Lancashire in October 1900 and entered the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class in September 1923. Advanced to Leading Stoker in 1928 and awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in 1935, he was actively employed in the cruiser H.M.S. Penelope from early 1940 up until her loss in February 1944, a period encompassing that cruiser’s impressive record of winning no less then eight Battle Honours, namely “Norway 1940”, “Malta Convoys 1941-42”, “Mediterranean 1941-43”, “Sicily 1943”, “Sirte 1943”, “Aegean 1943”, “Salerno 1943” and “Anzio 1944”. Norway 1940 As part of the 2nd Cruiser Fleet in the Home Fleet, Penelope arrived at Rosyth in early 1940, in readiness for operations off Norway, and it was while patrolling for enemy merchantmen off Fleinver on 11 April that she ran aground and was seriously damaged, causing flooding in the Boiler Room. Here, then, the action for which Kelly was awarded his mention in despatches, for he was undoubtedly among those to carry out urgent repairs as the cruiser was subjected to four near-misses from enemy bombers at Skel Fjord, where she was towed by an escorting destroyer. Four weeks later, she made Greenock under her own steam. Cape Spartivento But it was for his subsequent services in the Mediterranean that Kelly was awarded his D.S.M., when the Penelope, commanded by Captain A. D. Nicholl, D.S.O., R.N., and her consort the cruiser H.M.S. Aurora, commanded by Captain W. “Big Bill” Agnew, C.B., R.N., and their destroyer escorts, formed part of Force ‘K’. It was an intense period of operations, one of the Force’s early successes being the brilliant night action against an enemy convoy fought off Cape Spartivento on 8-9 November 1941. On that occasion, the enemy was sighted at 0050 hours, and Penelope’s guns went into action a few minutes later, quickly putting out of action the Italian destroyer Grecale and sinking another. With such important enemy escorts out of the frame, the Penelope and Aurora proceeded to lay waste the remainder of the enemy convoy over a period of 30 minutes or so, an action related in detail by Ed Gordon in his definitive history, H.M.S. Pepperpot: ‘There were two highlights for the Penelope men, recorded in the ship’s log. One was the tanker which ‘exploded with tremendous violence and filled the air with burning and exploding debris’. Crewmen on deck saw the sea around the tanker catch alight as thousands of gallons of petrol (for Rommel’s tanks and motor transport) spilled out. Mussolini’s Mare Nostrum was burning! The other highlight was a forty-thousand-ton ammunition ship blowing up ‘in a huge ball of sparks sending a curtain of bright colours against the night sky to a height of 1,500 feet’ ... At 0123 a plaintive voice in P

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Dix Noonan Webb
Title: Orders, Decorations and Medals (28 & 29 March 2012)
Date of the auction: 28 Mar 2012 - 29 Mar 2012
Address: Dix Noonan Webb
16 Bolton St, Mayfair
W1J 8BQ London
United Kingdom
[email protected] · +44 (0)20 7016 1700 · +44 (0)20 7016 1799