1914-15 Star, British War & Victory Medal, 1935 Silver Jubilee Medal, Lieutenant Commander E.W.H. Blake, Royal Navy, a long serving officer who had been in the Navy since he was 15 when he won the King’s Gold Medal for best Cadet, who returned from retirement to volunteer for shore service in 1939, he became possibly the last casualty on Admiral Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory when it was hit by a Luftwaffe bomb killing only him on 20th April 1940.
Sold with a copy of his incredibly detailed service record, where he never appears to have had a less then excellent report of his capabilities.
Edward William Herford Blake was born in the Falkland Islands on 11th September 1889.
He first joined the Navy on 15th January 1905, a few months after his 15th Birthday, on Training Ship Brittania where he passed out on 15th May 1906 remarked as “Capable & Very promising”.
He was additionally awarded the King’s Gold Medal in 1906, only given to the most promising Midshipman Cadet of that year.
His medal he was awarded is now in the Collection of the Royal Maritime Museum, Greenwich, ID MED1870.
Having passed his training he was awarded 4 months home, then as a Midshipman joined HMS Venerable, after 6 months further service he was described as “Excellent & Capable, above average”.
He became Sub Lieutenant on 15th July 1909, followed by Lieutenant on 15th January 1910.
At this time during 1909-10, he began specialising as a Gunner Officer passing his exams in Pilotage, Gunnery & Torpedo.
In 1913 he was commended for his Naval History Essay and awarded a £10 prize.
His report on 9th September 1913 stated he “Shown marked ability, Good Officer in every way.”
During WW1 he served aboard HMS Challenger from 1st December 1914 until 18th April 1916.
On 21st June 1916 he was on HMS Pembroke and was additionally sent to Gunnery School.
He then served on HMS Vernon for “Paravane Dept” from 2nd July 1916 to 15th February 1917.
He then served on HMS Lion for P.V. Duties in B.C.F. from 15th February 1917 to 19th January 1918.
On 15th January 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and joined HMS New Zealand for the remainder of the war from 19th January 1918 until 5th February 1919.
During 1920 he spent some time on HMS Raleigh as the Ship’s Gunnery Officer when it was involved in the famous Shipwreck.
He continued his service after the war becoming Commander on 2nd June 1923, upon his official retirement he was made Captain on 11th September 1935.
Upon the outbreak of WW2 having only had a short retirement he returned for shore service at the age of 50.
He was first Divisional Sea Transport Officer for Liverpool in August 1939, but only 3 weeks before his death was brought to London.
On 20th April 1940, he was onboard HMS Victory when it was bombed and damaged by the Germans, killing him.
Liverpool Echo 25th April 1940 an Obituary and details of his beloved status in Merseyside.
CAPTAIN E.W.H. BLAKE KILLED ON ACTIVE SERVICE
A popular naval officer on Merseyside, Captain Edward William Herford Blake, R.N., has been killed on active service.
An admiralty telegram making the announcement has reached his wife at her home, 44 Rodney Street, Liverpool, but Mrs Blake told the Echo today that she had no details.
Captain Blake, who belonged to Somerset, received his early training on the training ship Brittania and served in the last war, specialising as a Gunnery Officer.
His first close association with Merseyside was made some eight years ago, when, as Commander Blake, he became Admiralty Representative at Liverpool for the purposes of the Royal Naval Reserve and Merchant Marine, a post in which he made himself a popular figure.
In 1935, when he retired with the rank of Captain, he was one of the guests of Honour of the Royal Naval Reserve Officers’ Club ”Sea Urchins”, and he received a silver cigarette case bearing the club’s crest in recognition of his services. On that occasion too, his interest in various charitable causes, especially the Mersey Mission to Seamen, was acknowledged.
From 1935 until last year, Captain and Mrs Blake had lived away from Liverpool but returned at the outbreak of war, when Captain Blake was called up. He was engaged in the city until three weeks ago.”