Lot Archive


№ 319


20 October 1993

Hammer Price:

A Great War group of four to Captain C.H.B. Gowan, Royal Navy, decorated by the Russian Government for the Battle of Jutland

1914-15 STAR (Lt. Commr., R.N.); BRITISH WAR AND VICTORY MEDALS (Commr.,R.N.); Russia ORDER OF ST. ANNE, 3rd class breast badge with swords, gold and enamels, all enamel lackingfrom obverse centre, otherwise very fine

Cecil Hunter Boyd Gowan entered the Royal Navy as a Cadet on 15 September 1900. Whilst a Midshipman aboard H.M.S. Terrible he is noted as having drawn the plans for the raising of the dredger Canton River at Hong Kong, a feat which was achieved on 18 January 1901. Gowan was present at the battle of Jutland as Lieutenant Commander (Gunnery) of H.M.S. Yarmouth, forming part of the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron. For his services at Jutland he was awarded the Order of St. Anne, 3rd class with swords London Gazette, 5 June ,1917.

Gowan was an early supporter of naval aviation as shown by the following extract from 'Wings of Neptune' by Donald Maclntyre, R.N.: 'Lt.Cdr. C.H.B. Gowan, an enthusiast in his conception of the importance of the air weapon, and who had been associated with the experiments in the Yarmouth, suggested a platform on the roof of a gun turret in capital ships, running out along the top of the 15 guns themselves. This would preserve the full gun armament and permitted the turrets to be turned to give the best wind effect on the launching. This was tried out by Flt.Cdr. Rutland in a Pup on October 17th from H.M.S. Repulse.'

In 1918 Gowan became Flag Commander of H.M.S. Furious the first of the Royal Navy's Aircraft Carriers. It was on Furious that the first true deck landing was made by Squadron Commander E.H. Dunning. Gowan, himself, gained his Royal Aero Club pilots licence (No. 5900) on 4 May 1918, and retired with the rank of Captain on 6 November 1929.