Companion of the Order of the Bath, C.B. Civil, India General Service Medal 1854, bar Pegu, George P. Martin, Secretary of HMS Hastings, at Pegu.
A scarce and unusual pair to Paymaster in Chief George Peter Martin, Royal Navy.
India General Service medal officially impressed: Geoe. P. Martin, Secy. “Hastings”
The C.B. is hallmarked silver dated 1902, at the time they were issued as breast badges, but were later changed to be worn around the neck around 1916, as such this has been adapted by removing the breast badge suspension and adding a ring for neck wear. With a long modern neck ribbon with clips, about 25+ inches long.
An interesting man with a very long and varied career, he first gained renown as a young officer when he was commended and promoted to Paymaster aged only 25, for his special service in the settlement of the “San Juan de Nicaragua Dispute”, he would then be present as Secretary to the Commander in Chief of the East Indies and Pacific earning his medal with bar “Pegu” for the bombardment of Petropolovski during 1852 and the Capture of Prome.
He would later become Fleet Paymaster on the Royal Yacht H.M. Victoria and Albert from 1867-1875, when he also became a Barrister at Law by 1872, soon after occupying himself as the Deputy Judge Advocate of Her Majesty’s Fleet from 1875-1902.
He also lived healthily long into his 80s, the envy of those around him as an early pioneer of bicycling, who adopted the form of travel ever since the Bicycle was first introduced in England and was well remembered to be cycling into his twilight years.
He served the Royal Navy in some capacity for about 60 years not retiring until he was almost 80 years old.
An excellent summary of his career in the Hampshire Telegraph, 7th December 1901 upon his retirement:
“MR G. P. MARTIN RETIRING
DEPUTY JUDGE ADVOCATE
HIS LONG AND HONOURABLE CAREER
Mr George peter martin, R.N., Barrister at Law, who has held the office of deputy advocate of the fleet for a period of 27 years, will shortly retire to enjoy a well-earned leisure at his villa at Emsworth.
Mr Martin, although still full of life and as active as a man much young in years, being an enthusiastic cyclist, is retiring on account of age and the Admiralty, in a graceful letter, have accepted the resignation, at the same time expressing their appreciation on his long and faithful services.
SERVICE IN NICARAGUA
Mr martin entered the Navy in 1840 and served in HMS Alarm during the Nicaraguan dispute in 1848 as Acting Paymaster.
It was for special service in the settlement of this dispute that he was promoted to Paymaster in the following year.
Commodore G. R. Lambert being invalided. Capt Grenville Loch of the Alarm, became 1st officer of Jamaica and Mr Martin accompanied him in his galley up the River San Juan de Nicaragua with a force of 250 men to the fort of Serapaqui, which was eventually stormed and captured. After the capture of the guns of the fort, and the surrender of the stronghold of San Carlos, Mr Martin was selected to convey dispatches to the Supreme Director of the Nicaraguan Government to demand the restitution of 2 officials, British Subjects, who had been carried off from Greytown and imprisoned at Leon.
Armed with the dispatches he had himself drawn up he was conveyed by boat to Granada and then he rode to the city of Leon, a distance of 90 miles.
Acting under the urgent advice of General Munos, Commandant of Granada, the journey was accomplished chiefly by night, as a measure of safety.
After considerable privations and difficulty the wearisome journey was eventually accomplished, and aided by his knowledge of Spanish in the interview with the Director, his mission succeeded and Mr Martin once more had to ride the long journey from San Carlos, where the British Forces awaited his return.
THE CHINA, CRIMEA and C
This was not the only active service in which Mr Martin was engaged, for he was present at the bombardment of Petropolovski in the Russian War, China and Burmah 1852 (for which he has the medal and clasp).
He was Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief in China and afterwards served for 5 years in the Pacific.
Following this he was secretary to Admiral Sir Charles Talbot at Queenstown, which appointment he left to become Secretary to Sir William Martin.
In this position 3 years was spent in the Mediterranean, after which he went as Secretary to Admiral Sir George Lambert, at Sheerness, which he only held for 1 year, leaving to take up a similar appointment to the Commander-in-Chief at Devonport, which he held until his appointment as Paymaster in the Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert.
BECAME A BARRISTER
In 1872, Mr Martin became a Barrister of the Middle Temple. While serving on the Royal Yacht he was appointed Prosecutor at 8 Court-Martial, and was directed during the last year of his appointment to officiate as Deputy Judge Advocate at all courts-martial held at Portsmouth.
During the period he was in the Royal yacht he served on many Admiralty Committees, being Secretary to the Atalanta Committee from June to December, 1880, and was also a member of the Ships Books Committee under Sir Walter Tarleton, which brought about the quarterly settlements in the Navy, which system has continued to the present day.
In June, 1875, he received by warrant his appointment of Deputy Judge Advocate of his Majesty’s Fleet, and since that date he has attended every Court-martial held at Portsmouth, except when he has been engaged in his official capacity at other ports. In all he has put in 61 years service, and is the only Naval Officer who has ever held the office of Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet.”
Obituary, West Sussex Gazette, 27th October 1910:
“EMSWORTH, DEATH OF A DISTINGUISHED TOWNSMAN
Quite a gloom was cast over the town by the death of Mr George Peter Martin, C.B., of Highlands, Havant Road, who was in his 88th year.
The deceased gentleman had a remarkable career. He entered the Navy as long ago as 1840, retiring only in 1901 from the position of Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet.
In the 40s he commenced 11 years of war service, and during that period did some daring things, gaining promotion on his return.
In later years, 1872, he became Barrister-at-Law in the Middle Temple, and afterwards being promoted to Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet, and on his retirement he was honoured with the title of C.B. by the late King.
For many years he sat as a Justice of the Peace on the Havant Bench of Magistrates, retiring only through age a few years ago.”