Lot Archive


№ 85


1 December 2004

Hammer Price:

Six: Shipwright 1st Class J. Pile, Royal Navy

East and West Africa 1887-1900
, for M’wele 1895, 2 clasps, Brass River 1895, Benin 1897 (Car. Crew, H.M.S. Barrosa); China 1900, no clasp (Lg. Shipwt., H.M.S. Rosario); 1914-15 Star (174397 Shpt. 1, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (174397 Shpt. 1, R.N.); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (174397 Carp. Mate, H.M.S. Vivid), the earlier awards with contact marks and one or two edge bruises, otherwise generally very fine or better, the first scarce (6) £500-600

Just over 100 M’wele 1895 East and West Africa Medals were awarded to R.N. and R.M. personnel, the above described award being all the scarcer with its additional clasps for “Brass River 1895” and “Benin 1897”.

John Pile was born at Oreston, Devon in January 1872 and entered the Royal Navy as Carpenters Crew in July 1893. During his subsequent three year commission aboard H.M.S. Barrosa, he was landed for duty with Naval Brigades on a number of occasions. In February 1895, he participated in the Brass River Expedition to punish King Koko, and in August of the same year he was present in various skirmishes against the rebel Chief Mburuk, actions that led to the capture of M'wele; and, as a result of his services in the Benin 1897 operations, he was specially advanced to Shipwright (service record refers). Pile also participated in operations off China in the Rosario in 1900, and was awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in July 1908.

A Shipwright 1st Class aboard the armoured cruiser Defence by the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, he was transferred to Attentive II in October 1915 for services in destroyers of the Dover patrol, in which capacity he was mentioned in despatches for the period 1 July to 31 December 1916 (London Gazette 24 May 1917 refers). It is interesting to note, however, that his service record also bears an official endorsement ‘For Service in Land Operations’. Pile was discharged in February 1919.