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Paul Rosenzweig

HMS Terrible 1900 - 'Double Relief'

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Are there any experts on HMS Terrible 1900 – and her two ‘relief’ missions?

I’m researching a William John Burk who served in the Australian Imperial Force during WW1. His medal group includes the Queen’s South Africa Medal with one clasp ‘RELIEF OF LADYSMITH’ and the China War Medal with one clasp ‘RELIEF OF PEKIN’. On his Australian Imperial Force attestation papers Burk stated he had 3 years’ service with the RN. The two 1900 medals both appear to have been officially renamed in indented capital letters: “54 GUNNER W. J. BURK. H.M.S. TERRIBLE”. To me, this suggests he was a member of the Royal Marines Artillery detachment. There is no-one by that name listed in either medal roll for HMS Terrible. I have seen a list of men from HMS Terrible who were present for both actions but there is no W J Burk listed among them. Are the Royal Marines Artillery detachment listed separately somewhere?

I’m thinking that perhaps he adopted the name of William John Burk when he migrated to Australia.

I’d appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks

Paul (Australia)

paul.rosenzweig@hotmail.com

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There are 2 medal listed as returned to the mint. 1 for the QSA and 1 for China both to a J.Bourke, could W.J. Burk and J Bourke be one of the same. Just a thought.

Paul

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The J. Bourke was an Ordinary Seaman with the number 181.943......

Mike

There are 2 medal listed as returned to the mint. 1 for the QSA and 1 for China both to a J.Bourke, could W.J. Burk and J Bourke be one of the same. Just a thought.

Paul

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That I realise but is 54 the number on his pair, if so as the first two medals are re-named it could be he has named them as on his BWM and Victory (I can't recall such low naval numbers from that period).

Paul

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Thanks for the comments. It's unusual because on his enlistment for the AIF in 1916 he claims previous service with the Royal Navy. But all the RN numbers were six digits. '54' - which appears on both the QSA and China Medals - is possible to be a Royal Marines number. I would have thought though, that he would have stated his service as "Royal Marines". He appears on his WW1 record as "William James" but when he died he was buried as "James William" so it's possible he was "J Bourke".

Here are images of the naming.

His AIF number was 11448.

Appreciate your assistance.

Paul

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I've had a look through the original China and QSA rolls. All RN numbers of this period were 6 numbers. All RM numbers seem to be 4 numbers with a prefix (PO- etc). There are records of RMA members with low digit numbers such as '54'. The rank "Gnr" appears rarely and when it does there's often no number given.

I find it hard to believe that someone would take an original named QSA with RofL bar, and an original named China Medal with RofP bar, or particularly a pair named to the same person, and deliberately erase the name and add a new name. Especially to link it to a WW1 pair to a baker. That wouldn't increase the value - but surely if you were going to do that you would use a number/name combination that's realistic...

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Paul

It wouldn't make sense for a dealer to do it, but its not that are to find medal groups which have been 'improved' or even made up by the putative owner. Not just a modern phenomenon! There was a group circulating in Toronto years ago with an Egypt Medal, QSA [and maybe KSA] and WWI trio. Maybe even an IGS too. Anway, it was around for a good long time before anyone actually did the math and figured out that the man would have been 12years old at Suakin and Khartoum!

Likewise, someone passed himself off as an Italian pilot at the Military Institute, a private club in Toronto, for some time identified one of his before a knowledgeable member identified one of his 'red and green' ribbons as the Second Afghan War Medal!

Wearing the Relief of Ladysmith and Relief of Pekin would likely have been good for a few free pints, especially in Oz, where the chances of getting caught out by another vet would be rather lower! A possible explanation?

Peter

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