Africa General Service Medal, GV, bar Somaliland 1920, Stoker 1st Class Christopher Fitzsmons, HMS Ark Royal, Royal Navy, only 149 issued to ship, a very rare clasp.
Officially impressed: “K.22834 C. Fitzsimons , Sto. 1CL. H.M.S. Ark Royal.”
Confirmed on the medal roll, only about 149 clasps were issued to the Ark Royal.
The ship that took over the RAF Squadron “Z Unit” for service in the war, along with all their planes.
He was onboard HMS General Wolfe, when she made Royal Navy History during 1918, firing her brand new 18 inch gun in action a distance of 20 miles, 36,000 feet into Belgium, this was the longest in action shot fired by a Royal Navy ship in history.
Christopher Fitzsimons, was born in Dublin, Ireland on 5th October 1895.
The son of James, of Contarf, Dublin Bay, and Mary of Dublin City.
Initially described as having worked as a Golf Caddie before enlistment, an additional note states that he had was noted with the more useful occupation of a Gas Fitter.
He saw the following service:
HMS Pembroke II, 10th July 1914 – 7th Dec 1914
HMS Yarmouth, 8th Dec 1914 – 22nd Dec 1914
HMS Pembroke, 23rd Dec 14 – 8th Feb 1195
HMS Blance – 6th July 1915
HMS Pembroke II, 7th July 1915 – 3rd Nov 1915
HMS Tyne (Bat), 3rd November 1915 – 24th August 1916.
HMS Pembroke II, 25th Aug 1916 – 9th Jan 1917
HMS General Wolfe, 10th January 1917 – 19th November 1918, during this time promoted to Stoker 1st Class on 15th March 1917.
HMS Pembroke II, 20th nov 1918 – 26th Feb 1919
HMS Ark Royal, 27th February 1919 – 12th Nov 1920
HMS Pembroke II, 13th Nov 1920 – 20th April 1921
Invalided out of the service on 20th April 1921, due to his Hypometropic Astigmatism.
After his discharge he returned home to Dublin, and claimed his disability pension at 29 Upper Gloucester Street, Dublin.
WORLD WAR 1 SERVICES
Joining up just before the beginning of the Great War, he saw his first significant sea service on HMS Bat, being supported by HMS Tyne as part of the Grand Fleet from November 1915 until August 1916.
Most of the second half of the war spent on the unusual Monitor ship, HMS General Wolfe, from January 1917 until 19th November 1918.
HMS General Wolfe, known as “Wolfe” or by its nickname the “Elephant and Castle” was a Lord Clive Class Monitor built during the war for Shore Bombardment duties.
He was on board when she made unusual history by firing the longest range firing in the history of the Royal Navy, shooting her pioneering new gun a distance of 36,000 yards (20 Miles) at a target at Sneskerke Belgium.
During Fitzsimmons service period in 1918, the ship was fitted with a new weapon, the ludicrous looking 18 Inch Gun.
This massive gun on such a small ship earned her the nickname “Elephant and Castle” for the disfigured looks courtesy of such a heavy weapon being bolted onto her quarterdeck.
With each shot the recoil was so great that the ship would roll, they would run into trouble even firing the cannon, having to slow down if they wished to stay afloat.