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Naval service records
People - 6 individual histories
Private/Army: Thomas Aageson
Officer/Army: JRR Tolkien
Officer/RAF: Indra Lal Roy
Rating/Navy: James Dellbridge
Member/WAAC: Annie Ellwood
Officer/Army (executed): Eric Poole

Navy rating's service record:
James Henry Dellbridge

The service record of James Henry Dellbridge in ADM 188/285 shows that he was born in Portsmouth - one of Britain's largest coastal towns - on 17 November 1871. Dellbridge first joined the Royal Navy as a boilermaker at the age of 21 in May 1893.

His record notes his personal appearance at this time (just under 5 feet 10 tall, with brown hair and a fair complexion) and the first ship on which he served: the Royal Sovereign (May 1893-May 1895). Dellbridge served as a naval rating for the next 26 years. The movements of the ships on which he served during this period are recorded in the ships' logs located in ADM 53.

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In Antarctica with Scott

Of particular interest in Dellbridge's career record is the three-year period between 1901 and 1904, when - as noted in the 'remarks' section of his service record - he was 'lent for service with the National Antarctic Expedition'. This was the expedition to the Antarctic on the Glossary - opens new windowDiscovery that left British shores under the leadership of Glossary - opens new windowRobert Falcon Scott in July 1901 and returned in February 1904. The crew list of the Discovery in BT 100/145 shows that Dellbridge signed up with the expedition in London as an 'assistant engineer' on 31 July 1901.

Dellbridge's conduct during the expedition and his evident ability clearly impressed his superiors, including Scott himself. He was specifically recommended for 'advancement' to the senior ratings position of 'chief engineer room artificer' - abbreviated as 'Ch. ERA' on the service record - in May 1903 (see ADM 1/7645). In 1905, Dellbridge was rewarded for his service with Scott's expedition with the prestigious Antarctic medal (silver medal and clasp), as recorded in ADM 1/7848.

James Dellbridge service record - opens new window
Service record (144k)

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Shore establishments

When war broke out in August 1914, Dellbridge was 42 years old. Probably because of his age, he spent most of his wartime service at shore establishments. These 'stone frigates' - often ships retired from active service - were used by the Royal Navy as training and accommodation centres, as well as to provide support to ships that were still operational.

Dellbridge appears to have spent time on four different shore establishments: the depot ship Victory II, based at Crystal Palace in SE London (2-8 August 1914 and 11 April-24 May 1917); Attentive II in Dover (9 August-30 September 1914 and 11 September 1915-10 April 1917); the depot ship Arrogant, also based in Dover (1 October 1914-8 September 1915); and the depot ship Europa I, based at the Greek island of Glossary - opens new windowMudros (25 May 1917-11 February 1919).

Dellbridge was awarded three campaign medals - the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal - for his wartime service. This information can found in part of the Royal Navy campaign medal roll for the First World War in ADM 171/100. His service record states that he was demobilised in April 1919. Dellbridge's request that his service with the Antarctic expedition should 'count as double time' towards his naval pension had been refused in 1915. He retired in May 1919.

James Dellbridge medals - opens new window
Royal Navy
campaign medal roll

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