Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, 1st Type ‘Anchor’ Obverse, James Clarke, Captain of the Forecastle, HMS Britannia, 23 Years.
Very rare, issued in November 1841, showing only the first traces of the infamous ‘die cracks’ which began in 1841 and got worse up until 1847.
James Clarke of Aberdeen, was born in 1794, joining the navy aboard HMS Heron at the age of 21 on 8th November 1815, serving onboard until 16th July 1819.
He then served aboard HMS Spartan, from 1st March 1819 until 31st January 1821.
Then HMS Valorus, from 16th February 1821 until 23rd July 1824.
HMS Zebra from 13th May 1825, being promoted to Gunner from 1st July 1825, then promoted again to 2nd Gunners Mate on 1st January 1827.
When he transferred to HMS Ferret on 7th February 1829, he was now Gunners Mate.
He served aboard HMS Ferret, in 3 different roles up until 10th March 1832.
His next posting was HMS Racehorse on 2nd February 1834, unusually as an AB, only 5 months later on 1st July 1834 he was promoted and reached his final rank of Captain of the Forecastle on 1st April 1837 until 12th July 1837.
Served aboard HMS Donegal from 21st July 1837 until 30th September 1840.
His final posting was HMS Britannia, serving as Captain of the Forecastle from 1st October 1840 until 10th November 1841, when he was finally discharged after 23 years service and given the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal with Gratuity on 12th November 1841.
On his first ship, HMS Spartan, only 7 days into his Naval Career was on the ship when it collided the the James, on the way from Newcastle to Charlestown on 15th November 1815.
His time on HMS Zebra May 1825-January 1829;
The ship spent 3 years in the Mediterranean Station.
During 1827 the Diplomatic and Political situations were leading to the Battle of Navarino, on 2nd October 1827, HMS Dartmouth reported that a strong division of the Turkish Fleet had weighed from Navarin and were standing towards Patros. The Asia, Talbot & Zebra weighed and joined the Dartmouth, sailing in pursuit of the Turkish Squadron.
On 31st January 1828, with a squadron at Grabusa under Commodore Sir T. Staines, HMS Zebra destroyed a number of vessels which had been used for piracy.
Of particular interest he joined HMS Racehorse just as it had arrived back in Plymouth, it set sail on 2nd April 1834 for the South American Station,
They arrived in Jamaica in March 1835, and left Barbados to go to Para, Brazil to relieve the despatch, when they arrived they helped during the local insurrection.
In May 1836 they arrived at St Kitts and the next day were furnished with instructions under the Treaty of Spain for the suppression of the Slave Trade by the Flag Officer of the North America & West Indies Station.
Around 25th January 1837, they were involved in the blockade off Cartagena, which was raised in the next few days, and was stationed at Port Royal in Jamaica during March 1837.
Military History of the Royal Navy 1816-1856 page 275, Actions with Slavers;
“In the summer of 1835, during a local insurrection at Para, Brazil, the Racehorse, 18, Commander Sir James Everard Home Bart., Co-operated with a Brazilian Flotilla in the siege of the town, and was on several days in action with it’s batteries.
On one occasion, Mates Baldwin Arden Wake and Byron Drury, landed at night and assisted in bringing off 220 fugitives from the midst of the insurgents, thus saving them from massacre.”
With copy service papers & copy of HMS Spartan pay sheet.