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1914-1915 Star WWI: Able Seaman Richard Porter Harmer Royal Australian Navy

Date: 1914-1918
Overall: 116 x 35 mm
Medium: Bronze, fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00050457
Related Place:United Kingdom, Australia,

User Terms

    1914-1915 Star medal awarded to Able Seaman Richard Porter Harmer for service in the Royal Australian Navy. The medal is a four pointed star of bright bronze, ensigned with a crown. The obverse has crossed gladius, overlaid with an oak wreath that is ensigned with the cypher of King George V. A scroll bearing the legend 1914-15 is centrally placed across the crossed blades. Inscribed on verso reads: 'O.N. 1846 / R.P. Harmer / A.B'

    The Ribbon has the red white and blue colours of the Empire, in shaded and watered stripes. The same ribbon is used for the 1914 Star and the 1914–15 Star.

    The 1914–15 Star was authorised in 1918 and was awarded for service in specified theatres of war between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. A recipient of the 1914 Star could not also be awarded the 1914–15 Star.

    This medal is part of a World War I trio to Able Seaman Richard Porter Harmer for service in the Royal Australian Navy. Harmer served in HMAS ENCOUNTER in operations against German New Guinea

    HistoryAustralia took its first step into East Asian conflicts in 1900, when three colonies sent support to the British at the Boxer War. This was a joint action by several nations including Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Russia and the USA to crush a violent uprising against foreigners in China. The term Boxer was a Western corruption of the original Chinese name. South Australia lent its steel twin screw gunboat HMCS PROTECTOR (Her Majesty's Colonial Ship) with a crew of 110 to assist the Royal Navy. Victoria and New South Wales sent naval brigade contingents totalling 462 men. The Aberdeen Line cargo passenger ship SS SALAMIS was requisitioned by the NSW government to transport the contingent to the conflict. Arriving after the main conflict was over; their main duty was guarding and policing Tianjin (Tientsin) and Beijing (Peking). The Australian colonial forces all returned home by May 1901 and all men were issued with a medal known variously as the Boxer Rebellion medal, The Queen's China War medal and the Third China War medal. The Transport Medal was a British campaign medal awarded to masters and officers of merchant ships that were used to move men and equipment to either South Africa during the South African War or China during the Boxer Rebellion. The clasp on this medal indicates the latter conflict.

    The HMAT WARIALDA was a 7713 ton vessel, built by William Beardmore and Company in Glasgow for the Adelaide Steamship Company for the east-west Australian coastal service. Following the start of World War I, she was converted into a troopship and later, in 1916, into a hospital ship. Troopship duties included 5 October 1915: 10th Reinforcements, 9th Battalion embarked from Brisbane for Egypt; 8 October 1915: 10th Reinforcements, 1st Infantry Battalion embarked from Sydney for Egypt; 8 November 1915: 10th Reinforcements, 1st Brigade of the AIF, embarked from Sydney, arrived Fremantle on 15 October 1915, and reached Suez on 5 November; 25 May 1916: Tunnelling Companies, 2 Reinforcements embarked Melbourne; 1 June 1916: Tunnelling Company 6, 3rd Tunnelling Company embarked from Fremantle, disembarked Plymouth, England, 18 July 1916. On 3 August 1918, she was transporting wounded soldiers from Le Havre, France to Southampton when she was torpedoed by UC-49, a German submarine. This was despite being marked clearly with the Red Cross; as with a number of other hospital ships torpedoed during the war, Germany claimed the ships were also carrying arms. The ship sank in about 2 hours, and of the 801 persons on board, a total of 123 lives were lost.

    Following the outbreak of World War I, Australian troops captured German New Guinea and the nearby islands in 1914, after a short resistance led by Captain Carl von Klewitz and Lt Robert von Blumenthal, while Japan occupied most of the remaining German possessions in the Pacific. The only significant battle occurred on 11 September 1914 when the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force attacked the low-power wireless station at Bitapaka (near Rabaul) on the island of New Britain, then Neu Pommern. The Australians suffered six dead and four wounded — the first Australian military casualties of the War. The German forces fared much worse, with one German officer and 30 native police killed and one German officer and ten native police wounded. On 21 September all German forces in the colony surrendered.

    The Royal Australian Navy Bridging Train (RANBT) was an Australian military unit of World War I, composed of Royal Australian Naval Reservists who served in the Gallipoli Campaign. Despite often serving in close proximity with ANZAC Forces, the RANBT seldom operated in conjunction with them, usually supporting the British IX Corps. The Train was the most decorated RAN Unit of World War I, with more than 20 decorations awarded to its sailors for their work in Gallipoli and Palestine. During its five months of existence, the Train made two amphibious landings (Gallipoli and El Arish,) Lt Commander Bracegirdle was Mentioned in Dispatches three times and awarded the Distinguished Service Order; 16 others were also Mentioned in Dispatches; 25 sailors lost their lives.

    WESTRALIA was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Glasgow for the Huddart Parker company as a twin screw motor vessel, being completed in 1929. WESTRALIA was requisitioned for war service by the Australian government in 1939 as an armed merchant cruiser (AMC) and fitted with 6-inch (150 mm) guns, and 3-inch (76 mm) anti-aircraft guns, before commissioning into the RAN in January 1940. WESTRALIA's time as an AMC was spent escorting convoys in the Pacific and Indian oceans, primarily from Australia and New Zealand. In 1943, it was converted into a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI). In this role, WESTRALIA was used primarily to transport units of the United States Army and Marine Corps. The ship took part in landings at Cape Cretin, Leyte Gulf, the Philippines and Borneo.

    Clasp 'Malay Peninsula' was awarded to RAN personnel for 30 days operational service afloat in waters surrounding the Malay Peninsula/Singapore during the period 17 August 1964 to 12 June 1965.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: 1914-1915 Star awarded to Able Seaman Richard Porter Harmer who served in the Royal Australian Navy

    Assigned title: 1914-1915 Star WWI: Able Seaman Richard Porter Harmer Royal Australian Navy

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