Naval Long Service and Good Conduct, GV, Chief Petty Officer William Horton, HMS Russell.
A gallant veteran officer, who put his 24 years at sea to good use when he was commended for his bravery during the sinking of HMS Russell.
He was born on 16th September 1875 in Littlebourne, Kent.
He enlisted for service on 19th January 1892, as 165471 Boy 2nd Class.
He served on many ships during his long service prior to WW1, he was assigned to HMS Russell on 12th August 1912, being promoted to Acting Chief Petty Officer on 25th November 1913, then to full C.P.O. after the start of the war on 25th November 1914.
He served aboard HMS Russell throughout the war taking part in the bombardment of Zeebrugge on 23rd November 1914, interestingly gaining a promotion to C.P.O. 2 days later.
HMS Russell was then sent to Dardanelles, Galipoli, taking part in the evacuation of Cape Helles., she was the last battleship of the British Squadron to leave the area.
On 27th April 1916, she was steaming off Malta early on the morning of 27th April 1916 when she truck two naval mines that had been laid by the German Submarine U-73.
A fire broke out in the after part of the ship and the order to abandon ship was passed; after an explosion near the 12 inch turret, she took on a dangerous list. However, she sank slowly, allowing most of her crew to escape. A total of 27 officers and 98 ratings were lost.
Admiral Freemantle, Captain Bowden-Smith and about 625 Officers and men were fortunately saved.
Instrumental in this was C.P.O. W. Horton, “C.W. 49225/16 Commended for exceptional Coolness and in duty on the occasion of the loss of HMS Russell.”
“A.W.O. 867 14/3/1918, Noted for War Services: “Russell” 27th April 1916.”
He continued his was service and was later invalided due to a Hernia during October 1919.