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№ 1291


17 September 2004

Hammer Price:

The mounted group of eleven miniature dress medals attributed to Vice-Admiral A. F. B. Carpenter V.C., commanding officer of the “Vindictive” at Zeebrugge, Victoria Cross, good quality, of contemporary manufacture; China 1900, no clasp; 1914-15 Star; British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. Oakleaf; Defence Medal 1939-45; Coronation 1937; Jubilee 1935; France, Third Republic, Legion of Honour, Chevalier’s badge, silver, silver-gilt and enamel; France, Croix de Guerre 1914-1918, bronze palm on ribbon; Royal Humane Society Medal, silver, successful, mounted as worn, last medal separated from frayed ribbon, good very fine (11) £1200-1500

Ex Spink 25 November 1998 (Lot 1749) and Dix Noonan Webb 19 September 2003 (Lot 935).

London Gazette 22 July 1918: ‘This officer was in command of Vindictive. He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters and bringing his ship alongside the Mole in darkness. When Vindictive was within a few yards of the Mole, the enemy started and maintained a heavy fire from batteries, machine-guns and rifles on to the bridge. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the Vindictive on to the Mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to the success of the operation. Captain carpenter was selected by officers of the Vindictive, Iris II and Daffodil, and of the naval assaulting force to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal warrant dated 29th January 1856.’

Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter was born in Barnes, Surrey in September 1881 and joined the Royal Navy in 1896. Having seen active service off Crete in 1898 and China in 1900, he was advanced to Sub-Lieutenant in the following year and to Lieutenant in 1903. He subsequently specialised in navigation and after being promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in 1911, he was appointed to the War Staff. He won his Royal Humane Society Medal in 1913, when with the assistance of two others, he rescued a man who had fallen overboard from H.M.S.
Achilles at Spithead.

A member of Admiral Jellicoe’s staff on the outbreak of hostilities, in which capacity he served until November 1915, Carpenter went to sea as a Navigating Commander aboard the battleship
Emperor of India in the latter month, and served in the same ship until November 1917.In addition to his V.C. for the Zeebrugge operations in April 1918, Carpenter was given special promotion to Captain and awarded the French Legion of Honour and the Croix de Guerre.

After the War he lectured at Cambridge University 1919-20 and commanded the cruiser
Carysfort in the Atlantic Fleet, and during 1924-26 he held the post of Captain of Chatham Dockyard. Command of the battleships Benbow and Marlborough followed in 1926-28, and he was placed on the Retired List with the rank of Rear-Admiral in 1929. He became Vice-Admiral (Retired) in 1934. During the Second World War Carpenter served as C.O. of the 17th Gloucestershire (Wye Valley) Battalion, Home Guard, 1940-44, and Director of Shipping 1945. He died on 27 December 1955.

Sold with a copy of the book,
The Blocking of Zeebrugge, by Captain A. F. B. Carpenter, inscribed to his illustrator, ‘To my friend Charles de Lacey, The Artist, (signed by) A. F. B. Carpenter’, ex-libris C. de L. W. Fforde, East Yorkshire Regiment; also with a letter from Carpenter to de Lacey regarding the artwork for the book, and an R.N. Officer’s cap badge.