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Abyssinia HMS Octavia 20 years career


Abyssinia Medal, 1867-8, George Phillips, HMS Octavia, who went out to sea aged 15 and spent 20 years in the Royal Navy.

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SKU: J8547 Category:
Origin: United Kingdom
Very Fine


Abyssinia Medal, 1867-8, George Phillips, HMS Octavia, who went out to sea aged 15 and spent 20 years in the Royal Navy. 


Reverse officially embossed: “G. Philips A.B. H.M.S. Octavia”


With copy service papers, recalling his service from aged 15, being signed on by his Father, as he was too young to consent, with copies of his fathers permission form, he served from 1864 to 1887, completing 2 terms of 10 years after turning 18.


Including his time underage, he served about 23 years in the Royal Navy.


Confirmed on the medal roll, scarce issue to the Royal Navy, HMS Octavia and Satellite forming the Naval Squadron. 


Like most of these medals, due to the delicate and unique construction of the suspension it has been sometime repaired.



George Phillips was born in the Seaside Town of Dawlish, in Devon on 28th January 1849.


On the 13th July 1864, a newly 15 year old George signed on the the Royal Navy, his father signing him on “I certify that my son, George Phillips, has my full consent to enter Her Majesty’s Navy for a period of 10 years from the age of 18.”


The declaration was signed in Dawlish by his father Robert Phillips.


HMS Implacable, Boy 2nd Class & 1st Class, 19th July 1864 – 28th Sept 1865


HMS Octavia, Boy 1st Class and A.B. (upon turning 18), 29th September 1865 to 17th February 1869

His papers note during this time “In Prison, Bombay, for 28 days Solitary and Hard Labour.”


HMS Euphrates, 16th Feb 1869 – 21st Nov 1870

HMS Bullfinch (Gunboat), 22nd Nov 1870 – 15th Oct 1872

Royal Adelaide, 16th Oct 1872 – 31st Jan 1873

HMS Indus, 1st February 1873 – 31st March 1874

Royal Adelaide, 1st April 187 – 11th May 1874

HMS Fox, 12th may 1874 – 16th June 1874

Royal Navy Barracks, 17th June 1874 – 21st Sept 1874

HMS Newcastle, 22nd Sept 1874 – 13th March 1877.


On 18th July 1877, he chose to sign on for a further 10 year term of service.


On HMS Newcastle, 1st November 1874, he saw his first promotion to leading Seaman, followed by Petty Officer 2nd Class on 22nd January 1875.


HMS Royal Adelaide, 18th July 1877 – 12th August 1877

HMS Ganges, 13th August 1877 – 31st July 1878

HMS Royal Adelaide, 1st Aug 1878 – 17th March 1879

HMS Druid, 18th march 1879

During this time, Leading Seaman on 1st April 1879 and Petty Officer 1st Class on 1st December 1880.


HMS Royal Adelaide, 2nd September 1882 – 31st October 1882

HMS Duncan, 1st November 1882 – 9th November 1882

HMS Excellent, 10th November 1882 – 3rd March 1884

HMS Duke of Wellington, 4th March 1884 – 3rd April 1884

HMS Temeraire, 4th April 1884 – 25th March 1887.


During this time on Temeraire, reduced all the way back to A.B.

HMS Dreadnought, 26th March 1887 -11th August 1887

HMS Duke of Wellington, 12th August 1887 – 24th Oct 1887.



Although he had been a high as Petty Officer 1st Class, he left the Navy on 24th October 1887 as an Able Seaman.