Victory Medal : Petty Officer H R Hearn, Royal Navy

Place Middle East: Persian Gulf
Accession Number REL/21008.005
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Victory Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Harold Richard Hearn was born in England in 1890 at Denham, Uxbridge, Essex. He joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in 1906, initially signing up for 12 years, and was assigned the service number 236078. After a year's training Hearn was promoted to Boy 1st Class and posted successively to three cruisers in 1907, HM ships Euryalus, Gladiator and Juno, where he undertook specialist training as a gunner. Between the end of 1907 and August 1909 Hearn remained in HMS Juno, being promoted to Ordinary Seaman in June 1908 and then to Able Seaman the following year. After further training and work ashore Hearn joined the armed sloop HMS Espiegle in December 1912. He remained with the ship until March 1916 during which time he was promoted to Leading Seaman, on 14 August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. By September 1914 it was clear to the British that Turkey would eventually enter the war on the German side. Three British sloops, Espiegle, Clio and Odin, together with the troopship HMS Dalhousie entered the Shatt-el-Arab waterway off the Persian Gulf to protect British interests in the oil refineries on Abadan Island in October 1914. On 7 October the Turks delivered a formal letter to the captain of Espiegle demanding a British withdrawal. This was ignored. Once it was learned that the British had declared war on Turkey, at the beginning of November, Espiegle bombarded and silenced, after a fierce fight on 5 November, a considerable body of Turkish soldiers who had built a series of trenches opposite Abadan Island. On 21 November Espiegle and Odin navigated as far as Basra where a naval landing party from the ships put an end to looting there. Harold Hearn was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his skill as a gunner in the 5 November attack. In March 1916 Hearn was posted to the cruiser HMS Proserpine for a year before working ashore until the end of the war. In February 1919 he was promoted to Petty Officer and in March was posted to the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney. Hearn later transferred formally from the Royal Navy to the Royal Australian Navy and during the 1920s served in HMA ships Anzac, Melbourne and Sydney. He was awarded the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in October 1923, and promoted to Chief Petty Officer in December 1927. Hearn's engagement with the RAN expired on 19 June 1930. At the beginning of the Second World War Hearn was recalled to the RAN as an expert gunnery instructor and served as a Chief Gunner's Mate at Flinders Naval Depot (HMAS Cerberus) until he was demobilised in June 1947. He was recommended for a Commander-in-Chief's commendation. During this time he was assessed as being 'loyal, capable, hard working, [with] plenty of personality and a remarkable organising brain'.