Monday, 30 May 2016

In Southern Cemetery with a little bit of the Battle of Jutland ........ and a story still to be revealed

These are the medals of Leading Seaman ER Thistlewood and from today they will be on display at the Remembrance Lodge in Southern Cemetery.

The medals
They form part of the ongoing exhibition of memorabilia from the two world wars and some at least of the letters pictures and medals are connected with men and women who are buried in the cemetery or are commemorated there.

As yet I know nothing more of Leading Seaman Thistlewood.  I have seen the official page showing the details of his medals but that is it.

If I had a first name it might be possible to take the search further.

But I know that he was awarded the long service medal along with the 1914-15 Star which means that he was on active service from the very beginning of the war.

HMS Royal Oak, 1937
And I know that he was at the Battle of Jutland when the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet met in what proved to be an inconclusive confrontation and one still riven with controversy.

Both sides claimed victory with the Germans arguing that they had sunk more British ships and the Royal Navy pointing out that the High Seas Fleet never sought a return match, stayed in harbour leaving the British to maintain the naval blockade of Germany.

On that day Leading Seaman Thistlewood was on board HMS Royal Oak which had been launched in the November of 1914 and commissioned on May 1 1916.

Sweet Heart badge
All of which meant that as it sailed out of Scapa Flow exactly a century ago it was brand new.

The following day she took part in the battle and engaged two German ships causing some damage.

Now I assume Leading Seaman Thistlewood was on board because along with the medals there is his sweetheart badge from the Royal Oak which he would have given his girlfriend.

Of course it may just be that he served on the ship at a later date but given that 1914-15 Star I think it is most likely he was there.

An earlier exhibition at the Remembrance Lodge
So for now that is it.

As I write David Harrop who maintains the collection at the Lodge will be there preparing for his new exhibition commemorating the Battle of the Somme which began in July of 1916.

Entitled For the Fallen it will include medals, letters as well as pictures from the Somme along with links to men who fought at the battle and are remembered in the Cemetery.

Location Southern Cemetery.

Pictures; medals of Leading Seamam E R Thistlewood, 1914-22, from the collection of David Harrop, and HMS Royal Oak, 1937 from HMS Royal Oak,

* Coming Soon ......... an exhibition in Southern Cemetery ........... remembering the Battle of the Somme,

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