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Mervyn Mitton

Unusual Naval Group - With Russian Medals

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This is a most unusual group that I have just purchased. The amount of material that came with it

means that no extra research will be necessary. He was a Reservist with the South African Navy

- which numbered about 7500 men at the start of the 2nd. WW. Approx. 2500 were sent to serve in

Britain with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves and he was amongst those.

I think you will find his history over the period of the War to be an interesting one - and he was

awarded a Naval MID - only 100 of which were given to South Africans. Naval personnel never

seem to get high numbers of awards - I suppose one reason could be that it is hard to distinguish

just one man , when there is a whole crew to consider ?

His two Russian medals were awarde on the 50th Anniversary of the end of WW2 and were to

commemorate the bravery of the British Navy in supplying Russia with supplies in the Artic Convoys.

There are a number of items - I will work through them and hope they are of interest - please ask

questions or, post comments.

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This first item is a standard British Naval ratings collar - the top of the picture shows the part

that would be folded down the top of the back. The two outer sections come around the front

to be secured. Very unusual to see one at least 57 years old. However, the main interest

is what he wrote inside.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-86802400-1337612832.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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The reverse of the collar - showing the details of his service.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-63226900-1337613159.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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The left side shows all of the countries he served-in during WW2

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-61958500-1337613395.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Continuation of list

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-23225600-1337613569.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Details of his service and the ships he served on. A unique way of keeping this information.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-80507700-1337613754.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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This picture shows his Mentioned in Despatches award. A cap band or, Tally for HMS Shropshire -

she was a County Class Cruiser of some 11000 tons. Also, his picture at the time.

The medal group are his miniatures - the full set will be following.

From left. 39/45 star ; Atlantic Star (Murmansk Convoys) ; Africa Star ; Burma Star ; Defence Medal ; War Medal ;

Africa Service Medal. (All British awards apart from the Sth. African War Service medal.)

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-15155100-1337614064.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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His Bosun's Whistle - meaning he was the Chief Petty Officer in charge of Deck Crew. Note that it

is numbered and has the Ordnance Board Broad Arrow on the ball section. This means he was issued

with it. Many permanent force bought their own silver ones.

I think the Naval crown is to be worn on the sleeve for identification of rank ?

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-67305800-1337614842.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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His two Russian awards. Following this picture are details of the medals.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-92778600-1337615226.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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This was part of the paperwork and may be names of other ships involved ?

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-93739100-1337615723.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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HMS SHROPSHIRE - a County Class Cruiser. There were 143 South African sailors

serving on board. Including our man.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-87176100-1337615900.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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From his service record shown on the reverse of his collar, you will see he served on armed

motor launches in the Burma campaign.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-71856100-1337616332.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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From a 2nd WW publicity booklet - our man - bottom right.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-32201100-1337616813.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Some of his pins. RNVR ; Burma Star Association. Sth. African Navy in centre.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-57425300-1337616989.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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Discharge certificate

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-05058600-1337617930.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

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His Bosun's Whistle - meaning he was the Chief Petty Officer in charge of Deck Crew. Note that it

is numbered and has the Ordnance Board Broad Arrow on the ball section. This means he was issued

with it. Many permanent force bought their own silver ones.

I think the Naval crown is to be worn on the sleeve for identification of rank ?

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-67305800-1337614842.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

Hi Mervyn,

I don't intend to kill your entousiasm, but I have some remarks:

This is a blazer badge, not to be worn on the Naval uniform.

it may have been worn by a Merchant Navy man or by a DEMS gunner or by some one not being a member of a larger craft for which a larger number of badgers were embroidered; these had to be bought at their own expenses.

The Bosun's Call may have been obtained by all means, for any reason, only Bosun's Mates and Acting Bosun's Mates would carry such a call (it was also a token of authority). As pay was so poor, the vast majority never thought of buying a silver one....

Edited by Odulf

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The left side shows all of the countries he served-in during WW2

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-61958500-1337613395.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

HMML 352 was a Motor Launch, a minor craft for inshore and off the coast duties and all sorts of odd jobs.

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This picture shows his Mentioned in Despatches award. A cap band or, Tally for HMS Shropshire -

she was a County Class Cruiser of some 11000 tons. Also, his picture at the time.

The medal group are his miniatures - the full set will be following.

From left. 39/45 star ; Atlantic Star (Murmansk Convoys) ; Africa Star ; Burma Star ; Defence Medal ; War Medal ;

Africa Service Medal. (All British awards apart from the Sth. African War Service medal.)

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2012/post-6209-0-15155100-1337614064.jpgCLICK TO ENLARGE

He is obviously of Dutch decent, literally his name is translated as Lee Shore, the least fortunable place for a sailor to be.

Despite of his name, he gained an admirable group of medals.

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Odulf - your interest is appreciated - however, I don't agree with all you say.

I will comment as follows -

Google shows that a Bosun's Whistle was called by this name - also, it was known as a call. Hugh tells

me that in the US Navy it is known as a pipe. I have always known it as a whistle and there are many silver

versions. Earlier generations bought many items for their own distinction.

The Crown with RN may well be cut from a blazer badge - I wil take your recognition - however, my intro.

cleary showed that he was seconded from the Sth. African Navy and received his MID as an anti-aircraft gunner.

The earier detail aso identified the different flotillas he served with during the Burma Campaign - they, and the Motor

Torpedo Boats were important for in-shore work. I liked your translation of his name - I did say at the beginning

that he was from SA - so, probably an Afrikaaner of Dutch descent.

You certainly haven't ''killed my enthusiasm'' - I woudn't take the time to post 17 pages if I didn't think it an

interesting subject. However, I am surprised that you overlooked all of his pieces - incl. the Russian Awards ?

Thanks for replying. Mervyn

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Odulf - your interest is appreciated - however, I don't agree with all you say.

I will comment as follows -

Google shows that a Bosun's Whistle was called by this name - also, it was known as a call. Hugh tells

me that in the US Navy it is known as a pipe. I have always known it as a whistle and there are many silver

versions. Earlier generations bought many items for their own distinction.

The Crown with RN may well be cut from a blazer badge - I wil take your recognition - however, my intro.

cleary showed that he was seconded from the Sth. African Navy and received his MID as an anti-aircraft gunner.

The earier detail aso identified the different flotillas he served with during the Burma Campaign - they, and the Motor

Torpedo Boats were important for in-shore work. I liked your translation of his name - I did say at the beginning

that he was from SA - so, probably an Afrikaaner of Dutch descent.

You certainly haven't ''killed my enthusiasm'' - I woudn't take the time to post 17 pages if I didn't think it an

interesting subject. However, I am surprised that you overlooked all of his pieces - incl. the Russian Awards ?

Thanks for replying. Mervyn

Nice group, especially with all the documentation and nice to have a named medal. A good find and should keep you busy researching for a fair while. Please post any more info that you dredge (as its Naval) up.

All the best,

Paul

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Odulf - your interest is appreciated - however, I don't agree with all you say.

I will comment as follows -

Google shows that a Bosun's Whistle was called by this name - also, it was known as a call. Hugh tells

me that in the US Navy it is known as a pipe. I have always known it as a whistle and there are many silver

versions. Earlier generations bought many items for their own distinction.

The Crown with RN may well be cut from a blazer badge - I wil take your recognition - however, my intro.

cleary showed that he was seconded from the Sth. African Navy and received his MID as an anti-aircraft gunner.

The earier detail aso identified the different flotillas he served with during the Burma Campaign - they, and the Motor

Torpedo Boats were important for in-shore work. I liked your translation of his name - I did say at the beginning

that he was from SA - so, probably an Afrikaaner of Dutch descent.

You certainly haven't ''killed my enthusiasm'' - I woudn't take the time to post 17 pages if I didn't think it an

interesting subject. However, I am surprised that you overlooked all of his pieces - incl. the Russian Awards ?

Thanks for replying. Mervyn

Hi Mervyn,

It is a very nice bunch all together, indeed and no question about that.

I am however critical about some conclusions.

He was never a Chief Petty Officer, as you can see on his framed conformation of the MID, but rated as a Leading Seaman (thus wearing square rig, and not the fore and aft rig with buttons and a peaked cap such as worn by CPOs). A Leading Seaman is not a Chief Petty Officer, equally a Corporal is not a Sergeant-Major. It is just a matter of definitions.

Nice to see in the monk shot, framed with the tally HMS Shropshire, that he wears the cap tallt HMML instead of the official tally HMS.

The listing of "places visited" on the reverse of the blue jean collar is a charming custom, sometimes these lists can be found also written on the canvas kit bag.

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Odulf - I agree with you that there is nothing to show he was a P.O.. Perhaps he served on board one of

his postings where a bosun's whistle was required ? Mervyn

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This is a great group, Mervyn! A man who got around and, obviously, 'saw the elephant' with a vengeance if he served on the Murmansk run. I hope when demobbed he took up something safer, like lion hunting or skydiving! ;)

Peter

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