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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

James Henry LEE - J43296


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Hi all.


I'm trying to find additional info on my 1st cousin (5 times removed) who joined the RN 15 Dec 16 and served first on HMS Powerful (shore based training unit?) Jul 15 (I'm guessing time as a boy sailor didn't count on service?) and then City of London from Mar 16 to Dec 18.


I have the single page service record from Kew, which I've attached for reference, but nothing else. He served till 1928, but it's his WW1 era history I'm looking at for the time being.

Obviously, any other details anyone can glean from the attached records will be gratefully received, as other than the obvious, I'm afraid I'm not very fluent in Matelow service records......


Many thanks





James Henry Lee Royal Naval record.jpg

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Hello and welcome to the Forum


You may already have found this but some of HMS City of London's logbook is online here https://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-08-HMS_City_of_London.htm


She's the former SS City of London and an armed merchant cruiser (i.e a peacetime vessel converted for war) and the records of your ancestor tie in nicely with her fairly brief career.


Beyond that we can see that he is a Portsmouth Division man (Victory is the Portsmouth shore establishment). Beyond that when reading these forms when it says for example Victory XI (Newark) then what that means is that the first word(s) not in brackets are the administrative side of things while the ship he actually served on would be Newark.


Hope that helps (and wouldnt surprise me if some of the people here can find much, much more)



Edited by Polar Bear
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After initial training as a boy seaman in the training cruiser HMS POWERFUL at Devonport, he was drafted to the Armed Merchant Cruiser (AMC) HMS CITY OF LONDON. He served in her as Boy 1st Class, Ordinary Seaman and Able Seaman from March 1916 to June 1918. You can trace his wartime movement by examing her log on this link:-   http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-08-HMS_City_of_London.htm

After a short draft to Portsmouth Barracks (HMS VICTORY), he was then drafted to the Survey Vessel HMS MERLIN, staying with her until late 1920. You can follow MERLIN's log here - http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-18-HMS_Merlin.htm


Consistently Very Good Conduct and an able seaman of Superior abiiity, he completed his 12-year continuous service engagement omn 1928 and joined the Royal Fleet Reseerve (RFR). He was mobilised from the RFR on 28 Sep 1938 for 8 days at the time of the Munich crisis.



Edited by horatio2
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Thanks very much for the replies guys. Very much appreciated. 


I had a look at the City of London log - that was a fair old trip! 


Your help deciphering the particularly Matelow bits are a great help. 


Next to find is the naval version of his Mic, so I can see what replacements to look for (sadly, no medals from any of my ancestors are in the family as far as I know.....) 


Again, your help is very much appreciated..... 



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There are no such things as MICs for naval personnel. Their medal entitlement and issue is recorded in the Admiralty Medal Rolls, They can be downloaded free from Kew. Here is the link to ADM 171/108 - his entry is on page 94  -  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C975078 


This shows that his Victory and British War Medals were issued to him in HMS VERNON. Medals would have normally have been claimed and issued from about 1920/21 but he did not claim his until 1924/25 when he was borne on the books of HMS VERNON while serving in the R-Class destroyer HMS ROB ROY.


Replacement replica medals are readily bought. I can recommend Worcestershire Medal Services  -  https://www.worcmedals.com/  -  but there are others.

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James Lee was also qualified as an Acting SG (SeamanGunner) for the period 18 Oct 1917 to 30 Sept 1918, whilst serving on

AMC City of London & briefly whilst on HMS Merlin. 

Noted in the Sub Ratings column - he would have rec'd a daily raise in pay for this rate whilst he held it.

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