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№ 627


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A good Second World War D.S.M. group of six awarded to Chief Engine Room Artificer C. E. Madden, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his courage in the destroyer H.M.S. Verstatile during the evacuation of the Hook of Holland in May 1940 - and who added a “mention” to his accolades for hazardous minesweeping operations in the Eastbourne over the winter of 1941

Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (M. 11517 C. E. Madden, C.E.R.A. 2, H.M.S. Versatile); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, M.I.D. oak leaf; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 3rd issue (M. 11517 C. E. Madden, E.R.A. 1, H.M.S. Shropshire), this last a little polished, otherwise good very fine or better (6) £1200-1500

D.S.M. London Gazette 25 June 1940:

‘For courage and devotion to duty on the Dutch coast.’

Charles Ernest Madden was decorated for gallant deeds off the Dutch coast in the destroyer H.M.S. Versatile during “Operation Ordnance”, the evacuation of the Hook of Holland in May 1940.

Skippered at the time by Commander T. A. Hussey, R.N.,
Versatile was attacked by enemy aircraft when she arrived off the Hook on the evening of 13 May, the same day that Queen Wilhelmina and members of the royal family had been evacuated in the Hereward. One bomb hit her on the upper deck above the engine room on the starboard side, leaving a gaping hole four feet in diameter, and two more exploding nearby on the jetty - the enemy aircraft also raked her with machine-gun fire, causing many casualties on the lower bridge and upper deck. No longer able to raise steam or steer, the Versatile was a sitting duck, but Hussey, who remained ‘extremely cool’, managed to attach tow lines to the Janus, which ship brought his much damaged ship back to England.

Having then removed to the minesweeper
Eastbourne, he added a “mention” (London Gazette 31 March 1942 refers) to his accolades for his deeds during Operation “QO”, a hazardous mine clearance initiative mounted by Nore Command in the period December 1941 to January 1942. The recommendation stated:

‘During the whole of his service in this ship he has by his personal example, skill and devotion to duty contributed in no small measure in the general efficiency of the ship. During Operation “QO” his services in keeping the ship running were invaluable and he is most strongly recommended.’

Madden received his D.S.M. at a Buckingham Palace investiture held on 23 February 1943.