Battle of Jutland awarded Distinguished Service Medal with much prior service, Chief Stoker Arthur Harbour, HMS Superb at Jutland.
Chief Stoker Arthur Harbour was going into his 20th year of continuous Naval Service when the Great War broke out, he had been Chief Stoker to HMS Superb since 1912 and served on her throughout the war until March 1918. When he was demobilised after the war in July 1919 he was close to 24 years of Naval Service.
Earned one of 4 Jutland DSM’s to HMS Superb, a 21 year veteran of the engine room at the time, he had already earned 2 Campaign Medals as Stoker Petty Officer of HMS Proserpine.
From 1908-10 he was Chief Petty Officer of HMS Proserpine serving on the Somali Coast in the Persian Gulf, during this time the ship was engaged in anti piracy operations and the prevention of Gun Running in the Persian Gulf.
One of about 202 awards of the Distinguished Service Medal specifically for the Battle of Jutland.
HMS Superb earned 4 awards to her senior ratings, this one to Harbour, Chief Stoker. 1 to Chief Petty Officer Peckham, 1 to Yeoman of Signals Foster & 1 to Colour Sergeant Roberts, Royal Marines Light Infantry.
DSM officially impressed: “280561 A. Harbour, Ch. Sto. H.M.S. Superb. 31. May, – 1. June. 1916.”
AGS Somaliland officially impressed: “280561 A. Harbour, Sto. P.O. H.M.S. Proserpine.”
NGS Persian Gulf officially impressed: “280561 A. Harbour. Sto. P.O. H.M.S. Proserpine.”
1914-15 Star gilded and unofficially engraved: “280561 A. Harbour. Ch. Sto. R.N.”
British War Medal officially impressed “280561 A. Harbour Ch. Sto. R.N.”
WW1 Victory Medal unofficially re-impressed: “280561 A. Harbour. Ch. Sto. R.N.”
RNLSGC officially impressed: “280561 A. Harbour. Ch. Sto. H.M.S. Superb.”
All the 5 silver medals are officially impressed as issued, it is assumed that the silver medals were all kept together and the 2 Bronze/Copper medals from WW1 were sometime split away.
“Awarded the D.S.M. for service rendered in the Action in the North Sea 31 May – 1 June 16 vide also London Gazette of 15/9/16”
Notably the Superb fought at the battle of Jutland where:
In an attempt to lure out and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, the High Seas Fleet, composed of 16 dreadnoughts, 6 pre-dreadnoughts, and supporting ships, departed the Jade Bight early on the morning of 31 May. The fleet sailed in concert with Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper's 5 battlecruisers. The Royal Navy's Room 40 had intercepted and decrypted German radio traffic containing plans of the operation. In response the Admiralty ordered the Grand Fleet, totalling some 28 dreadnoughts and 9 battlecruisers, to sortie the night before to cut off and destroy the High Seas Fleet.
You can read the full battle report made by Captain E. Hyde Parker, in command of Superb during the Battle below.
Chief Stoker Arthur Harbour was born on 5th December 1874, although when he enlisted he said his Birth date was 7th December 1875.
He had first attested back in 27th September 1895 as a Stoker 2nd Class at HMS Victory II.
A few months later on 2nd July 1896 he was promoted to Stoker.
He served on a few stationed before joining Royal Arthur from 11th Feb 97 until 31st March 1897.
He then served for a few years on HMS Wallaroo from 1st April 1897 until 13th June 1900.
Promoted to Leading Stoker 2nd Class on 30th April 1903.
Served about a year on the Exmouth from 1st June 1903 – 17th May 1904.
Promoted Leading Stoker 1st Class at Victory II on 14th October 1905.
Served on HMS Indus from 4th January 1906 until 8th August 1908. During this time he was again being advanced up the ratings, becoming Stoker Petty Officer on the Indus on 1st July 1906.
Served then on the Sappho from 26th August 1908 – 21st September 1908.
He then joined HMS Proserpine as Stoker Petty Officer on 22nd September 1908, serving on board until 13th July 1910.
He saw much service during this period, earning his 2 Campaign Medals in less than 2 years for Somaliland 1908-10 operations and also in the Persian Gulf “1909-1914”.
The ship were placed alongside HMS Fox in the Somali Coast of the Persian Gulf and got into a lot of action combatting the piracy in the region, with many gun runners active along the coast in their “Dhow” boats, The Imperial War Museum has a great photo of a burning Dhow which was destroyed during the period by the Proserpine.
His next big posting was as Acting Chief Stoker (since 1st June 1912) on board HMS Superb from 6th September 1912), he was a newly promoted Acting Chief Stoker.
It took less than a year for him to be made full Chief Stoker on 1st June 1913.
He saw very long sea service on HMS Superb continuously from 6th September 1912 until 31st March 1918, when she served with the 1st Battle Squadron.
He ended his war with some service on the gunboat HMS Magpie from 20th May 1918 until 29th January 1919.
After the war he was finally discharged on 2nd July 1919.
His service would total 8678 days, 23 years, 9 months and 5 days.