Naval Good Shooting Medal, EDVII, Ephraim Carter, Petty Officer 1st Class, declared a Dangerous Lunatic following 26 years in the Navy and surviving the sinking of A.M.C. Otway in 1917.
Officially impressed: “164445 E. Carter. P.O. CL., H.M.S. Blake. 1908 3 PR. Q.F.”
A rarely issued Naval Gunnery medal only awarded to the specific Gunner on a ship’s gun who achieved 1st Place in the Gunnery Competition of the Annual Fleet Competition.
During 1908, Petty Officer Carter was in command of HMS Blake’s 3 Pounder 47mm Quick-Firing Hotchkiss Cannon.
Ephraim Carter was born on 30th August 1876 in Deal, Kent. He was a Grocer before joining the Navy aged 15.
By the time of 1917, when Ephraim Carter was discharged as dead, he was already into his 26th year of Naval service, he had first joined the Royal Navy shortly after his 15th Birthday, becoming a Boy 2nd Class on HMS Impregnable.
He had seen quick promotion on board HMS Pegasus, rising from Able Seaman to Leading Seaman on 1st July 1903, by 1st April 1904, he was Petty Officer 2nd Class, by 10th November 1904 he was Petty Officer 1st Class on HMS Pembroke, which rating he served as for the next 13 years.
During his 2 years on HMS Blake from 6th August 1908 until 26th January 1910, he was part of the new crew of the freshly refitted Destroyer that had just been re-commissioned on 6th August 1908.
The newly re-commissioned HMS Blake must have performed well at the yearly competition, as Petty Officer Carter was awarded this medal for his expert shooting with the 3 Pounder on board.
On 10th April 1913 his long career officially ended, he received his discharged at shore from HMS Antrim, due to “Insanity”.
However this man who had been declared as “Insane” would promptly be brought back into the navy with the outbreak of the war, returning to his rank of Petty Officer 1st Class and being assigned to the Civilian Steam Ocean Liner S.S. Otway, which had just been requisitioned and outfitted with guns to become Armoured Merchant Cruiser Otway.
He would spend almost 3 years on board the ship until one day when they were on patrol and came across SM UC-49, the formidable U-Boat of the German Imperial Navy which had 24 ships sunk to it’s name by the time it was finally sunk by British Destroyer Opossum in August 1918.
AMC Otway was sunk by the German Submarine just off the Hebrides on 23rd July 1917, 10 men were killed and the rest including PO Carter survived.
Following this traumatic experience he arrived back to HMS Pembroke I on 5th August 1917, a few days later on 13th September 1917, he was admitted to Yarmouth Hospital and declared as a “Dangerous Lunatic”.
He spent the rest of the war in the Hospital and died there after the war on 19th March 1920, being finally discharged as dead from the Royal Navy.