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China QSA HMS Terrible Blacksmith Mate


3rd China War Medal 1900, Queen’s South Africa Medal, Blacksmiths Mate Jeremiah Shanahan, HMS Terrible. Jutland Veteran as Blacksmith of HMS Barham.

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SKU: J8819 Category:
Origin: United Kingdom
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China Medal 1900, Third China War, Queen’s South Africa, no bar, Blacksmith’s Mate Jeremiah Shanahan, HMS Terrible. 


Scarce pair both named to HMS Terrible as Blacksmith’s Mate, confirmed on the medal rolls, noting they were both issued to him on board HMS Terrible on 22nd September 1902.


QSA officially impressed: “340535 J. Shanahan, Blk: Mte: H.M.S. Terrible” 


China officially impressed: “J. Shanahan, Blksth’s Mte., H.M.S. Terrible.”


Some contact marking through being worn on uniform. 


An interesting article about his family, his father was an old soldier, veteran of the Crimean War and Fenian Raid with the East Lancs, he would have 5 sons and they would all served in the Royal Navy, when the queen heard of him and his proud family, she sent his father a personal gift of £5. 


Portsmouth Evening News, 1st August 1900:




A Portsea resident, Mr Jeremiah Shanahan, who lives at 35, Unicorn Street, Portsea, can boast of having no fewer than 5 sons serving in the Royal Navy at the present time.


John, the eldest, is a Signalman on the Porpoise, now in Australian Waters; William, a Seaman Gunner and Torpedo Instructor is on the Andromeda in the Mediterranean, Philip, a second Yeoman of Signals, is borne on the books of the victory.


Jeremiah, a Blacksmith’s Mate, is attached to the Terrible, now on active service in China, and Frank, the youngest is also in Chinese Waters, and served in the Endymion during the recent bombardment of the Taku Forts.


The father of the five is an old Army Man. He belonged to the 30th Regiment, now the 1st Bn East Lancashire Regiment, and served in the Crimea and also in Canada at the time of the Fenian Raid.”


An update once the Queen heard of his family, Hampshire Telegraph, 8th September 1900:




Mr Jeremiah Shanahan, of 35 Unicorn Street, Portsea, who as stated in this paper, some weeks ago, has 5 sons serving their country in the Royal Navy, has received the following letter from the Queen :-


Lieut Colonel Sir Fleetwood J Edwards is commanded by the Queen to express Her Majesty’s interest on learning that Mr Jeremiah Shanahan has 5 sons serving in the Navy.

Sir F. Edwards is further commanded to send Mr Shanahan the enclosed Post Office order for £3 as a small present from the Queen, in the hope that it may prove of some temporary assistance under the circumstances.”




Jeremiah Shanahan, was born on 18th January 1873 in Dublin, Ireland, but grew up in Portsmouth so naturally steered towards the Navy.


As he was working as a Blacksmith before he joined the Navy he was immediately rated as Blacksmith’s Mate at HMS Victory II on 8th January 1895.


He was noted as having classic sailors tattoos of the time: “Tattooed on both arms, Sailor, Rose, Heart in Hand, White Dove on left arm.”


He saw service on HMS Terrible from 24th March 1898 until 24th Oct 1902.


Whilst on HMS Firequeen he was advanced to Blacksmith from 4th February 1904.


Wartime Ship Postings during world war 1:


HMS Latona, 30th Nov 1913 – 5th Jan 1915 (At the time active with the Minelayer Squadron of the Second Fleet)

HMS Victory II, 6th Jan 1915 – 7th March 1915

HMS Fisgard, 5th March 1915 – 2nd Aug 1915

HMS Victory II, 3rd Aug 1915 – 18th Aug 1915

HMS Barham, 19th August 1915 – 15th July 1919


Having seen a number of ships postings he was still serving as Blacksmith when the First World War began.


After some depot postings and the early part of the war on HMS Latona, he joined the crew of HMS Barham as their Blacksmith on 19th August 1915 until the end of the war 15th July 1919.

During this time he was advanced to Black Smith 1st Class (N.S.)


HMS Barham was a newly launched Queen Elizabeth Battleship, often used as a Flagship, at the time he joined they were finishing up the trials ready to launch for war service.


The ship would see extensive service during the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. During the action the ship landed hits on the Moltke and would be hit a number of times by the Derfflinger, requiring repairs immediately afterwards.


An extensive report of the battle and involvement of the Barham can be read on the ship’s Wikipedia Page by clicking here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Barham_(04)



With his retirement from the Navy following about 21 years he returned home to Portsmouth, where he lived with his wife Annie and Children, noted as a “Blacksmith Pensioner” during 1921.