Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

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Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 14 Aug 2016 20:24

Hi! I am trying to find a picture (engraving, photo or anything) of the HMS Falcon during the 1880s when she was commanded by John Eliot Pringle. The Falcon was a 14-gun Condor-class gunvessel launched in 1877. She was put into harbour service in 1890 and sold in 1920.

I'd also be most interested in any info about her actions during the time under his command (24 Feb 1882 - c. 1886).

Thanks in advance for any help! I'm used to looking up the British men in India during this time, but the Navy is a bit out of my line. :)

Regards,
Sarah
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby crimea1854 » 15 Aug 2016 11:12

Sarah

This is Falcon but could be almost any gun vessel http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/110429.html. Since she was a Condor class vessel you might search using 'Condor' because she took part in the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882 and is better documented.

Pringle qualified for a no clasp Egypt 1882 medal and a no clasp Egypt 1884 medal, but because he already had the 1882 medal no further medal would have been issued. On both occasions he was in command of Falcon.

Martin
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 18 Aug 2016 12:34

Hello, again! Thanks so much for the answer. For some reason, I wasn't subscribed to updates on this thread, so I didn't see this reply until just this morning. :?

The picture is great and exactly what I was looking for, and the info about his medals is most interesting. He would become a Rear-Admiral. I'm working on getting information about him together to put up a webpage about him, as there are a few interesting stories that may be of interest to more than me. :)

I'm including a link here to a photo that I have of JE Pringle. My guess is that it was taken in the 1870s or the very early '80s. Not at all sure, though. He does have a number of medals on, so I'm wondering if anyone would be able to identify any of them, or his rank or anything that would give further explanation to the photo?
http://www.sarahbethonline.com/photos/forumpics/JEP.jpg

Thanks so much for the help!
Sarah
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Mark A. Reid » 18 Aug 2016 23:58

Hello Sarah:

Perhaps I can offer a few suggestions on the rank, etc. of the naval gentleman:

- Although part of his epaulette is obscured, the presence of a crown at the top indicates that he was, at least, a Captain.

- The decoration worn at his neck is the Order of the Mejidie, at least of the 3rd Class. Whilst an Ottoman order, and generally awarded by the Sultan, it was also distributed, sometimes quite generously, by his viceroy, the Khedive of Egypt, particularly after British forces helped return him to power in 1882. The Mejidie, 3rd Class was usually awarded to fairly senior ranks like Colonels and naval Captains, etc.

- The medals worn on HIS left breast, starting on the viewer's left, appear to be the 1860 China Medal, the Egypt Medal and the Khedive's Star. The medal on HIS right breast is from a life-saving society and was not intended to be worn with his official campaign medals.The Egypt Medal was first awarded in late 1882 and probably didn't reach most naval recipients until early 1883, so this might help date the photograph.

- A quick check of the relevant Navy List, available on-line, should provide verification and further detail on his service career, as well as precise details on his war service.

- Although the photo card reads Constantinople, the photograph is just as likely to have been taken in Cairo. The Abdullah Brothers operated in both cities and the cachet of Constantinople probably helped improve their marketing image!

Good luck with the research and, can I just add, that is a fine looking beast on your shoulder in your avatar photo!

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 22 Aug 2016 14:05

Hi, Mark!

Thanks for all the great info. That is a real help --- and very interesting.

I have been doing some research on different Navy lists, etc., and here are some of the relevant facts.
Pringle gained the rank of Commander in January 1876. He was listed as Commander of "The Vulture" in 1878 and stayed on that ship through the end of 1880 or even into 1881. While on that ship he is listed as having been at Bahrain, the Persian Gulf, Bombay, Muscat, Bushire, Kurrachee, East Indies, Devonport and Sheerness.

In February 1882, Pringle was appointed Commander of "The Falcon". He would serve with this ship through 1886 or 1887 and was promoted to Captain on 31 Dec 1884. While serving on this ship, Pringle was in Constantinople in October and November 1883. That would seem to fit pretty well with what you think for the photo, but he would only have been a Commander at that time. After his promotion to Captain, though, Pringle did go to Suez and Suakin, so he maybe he went to Cairo or Constantinople on that same tour?

The Life Saving medal is really cool! Wow! I would assume that would be from his life-saving action in 1861 (am including the story below). Does anyone know of a new photo of one of these medals that would show me some of the detail and color, etc?

Thanks again for this help! This is great, and I'm really excited to be working on a webpage for this gentleman. :)

Oh, and my little "fine looking beast" is mighty fine! His name is Samwise and he is a pretty giant cat (weighs in around 22lbs when he's trim!). He's about to turn 10 years old . . . going on two. But he's my buddy!

Regards,
Sarah


Story from "A Cruise in the Gorgon" by William Cope Devereux
"28th January [1861].-- We are wafted along at the rate of five knots by a delicious breeze, and now begin to talk about reaching Rio at noon. We are only 267 miles from Cape Frio, therefore may reasonably expect to be there in a week. We have watched the chameleon-like clouds and the glorious sunset until tired, and have now taken to books; the men are silently scrubbing hammocks, the ship going about six knots before a fresh breeze. I am sitting in my cabin, with the port open, when suddenly there is a shriek, quickly followed by another. I rush to the port, when I hear that fearful cry, "A man overboard!"
Without jacket I hasten to the deck, and find a crowd gathered aft; the boat is being lowered; and whilst straining my eyes to ascertain the position of the poor unfortunate in the water, I drop my boots off at the same time. The gallant P---- leaps overboard from the taffrail. I must own that I was ready to cry at being thus cut out, but I deserved it --- I should not have waited to cast off my gear. Dear old P--- swam fast towards the boy, and for a moment we lost sight of both; in another instant the boat was flying towards them, the crew pulling with their utmost power. Now we are in awful suspense, and not a word is spoken. Another instant and he has got the boy, and holding up his hand, both are dragged into the boat. Hurrah! The boat crosses our stern, poor P--- is lying pale at the bottom of it, and the boy, gasping for breath, appears to be nearly gone. The boat, with its living freight, is hoisted, all the officers rush forward and assist P--- to the deck. I felt I loved him from that time. Captain P--- shared my feeling when I saw him walk forward, take P----'s hand, and say, "Well done; you're a noble little fellow, and an ornament to your profession." Our fellows crowd round the object of our admiration, showing such a warmth of spirit it is quite pleasant to see. After a stiff glass of grog P--- is put to bed, and the boy is soon got round with restoratives administered by our clever little doctor."
*** The boy was John Parkis, the rescuer Midshipman John Eliot Pringle."
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Peter » 23 Aug 2016 07:04

Mark,

Are you referring to the Bronze Medals awarded by the Royal Humane Society?

... in which case,

Sarah,

I can post photos of the Bronze Medal awarded to an ancestor of my wife in 1853.

Regards,
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Mark A. Reid » 23 Aug 2016 14:50

Hello again;

That's very kind of you, Peter. Because the photo is a little unclear I'm not sure if the medal is the Marine Medal of The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society OR the post-1869 medal of the Royal Humane Society, they both have a reverse that depicts a laurel wreath and this is the only outstanding feature that I can see in the photograph. My eyes also tend to discern the general shape of the bird on the reverse of the former medal but I can't be sure, I'm afraid. What do you think?

Sarah, images of both these medals can be found on the InterNet. They both have blue ribbons and would both have been worn on the recipient's Right breast. I would have imagined that there is a more precise identification of the award " somewhere " in the Navy Lists, but an application to the modern incarnation of both Societies may be necessary.

What a great description of the rescue! Obviously the young Midshipman Pringle was a man of action. By the way, my Mother's maiden name is Pringle but no relation, I'm sure. Good luck with the research

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby crimea1854 » 23 Aug 2016 21:22

I'm not convinced that the medal identified as the 1860 China is correct since I've looked at the medal roll and cannot find Pringle. According to a number of write-ups on the internet he is supposed to have served in the Baltic during the Crimean War, but here again I cannot find him on the roll. so currently this remains something of a mystery. I was wondering if you have downloaded his official service record from the National Archives, because with a ship's name I would be possible to check the rolls again, but this time with a targeted search?

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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Mark A. Reid » 24 Aug 2016 03:05

Hello Martin;

You may very well be correct about the first medal, it could be a Baltic Medal. The scroll suspension is similar to the China and both medals have a single-colour ribbon with another colour along each edge. However, as you suggest, a check with his service record should clarify most if not all of these questions.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Peter » 24 Aug 2016 08:38

Sarah,

On the one hand, it may well be a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal. Midshipman Pringle was certainly awarded one in 1861: http://www.lsars.org.uk/bronz1861s.htm.

On the other hand, as Mark has noted, a “wearable medal” was formally issued in 1869. If it is the RHS medal it certainly is not the one he received in 1861.

Two possible explanations: Firstly, Mark’s consideration of the Marine Medal of The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society. However, I would guess the odds of being awarded both and subsequently only wearing one are too long.

Secondly, it may be an instance of the following: “Numerous medals of the small size are of course to be found bearing dates far earlier than 1867. These of course reflect the Society's willingness to issue recipients with replacement wearable medals upon the condition that they returned their larger medallions.” (Barclay, 2003).

“In 1867 the size of the Society’s medal was reduced to correspond with those awarded to the armed forces and, in 1869, Queen Victoria granted official permission for these new medals to be worn on uniform………….. In truth, this merely served to formalise an existing position, for the RHS was already in the practice of fitting its awards with ribbons and there is ample evidence that many members of the armed forces were already in the habit of wearing their medals on uniform”.
(Barclay, 2009, p 110)

I haven’t posted any photos. As I was reminded when I looked at my notes, and as Mark has noted, the “large medal” was superseded by the “wearable medal” / “small medal” in 1869. So Pringle’s medal would be a different size, with different inscription/s, with ribbon, in a rectangular presentation case.

There is a good image here https://www.spink.com/lot-description.a ... 5003000236. A better one if you search “ewbankauctions.co.uk” + “Lot 195 Royal Humane Society bronze medal Mabel Andrews June 1887".

References:

Barclay, C P, An Introduction to the Medals of the Royal Humane Society, 2003. http://www.lsars.org.uk/rhs.htm.
Barclay, C P, Heroes of Peace: The Royal Humane Society and the Award of Medals in Britain, 1774 – 1914, Ph D Thesis, University of York, 2009. http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/1493/1/c ... thesis.pdf

Mark,

If you’re still interested in photos of the 1853 medal, let me know and I’ll post.

Regards,
Peter
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby Mark A. Reid » 24 Aug 2016 15:40

Hello Peter;

An excellent summary, many thanks! I would love to see a picture of your wife's ancestor's 1853 medal and hear of the recipient's tale of derring-do, please share.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 24 Aug 2016 16:29

Hello, everyone!

I'm thrilled with all of the replies here. I go away for a couple of days, and all of this info is just piling up. :)

Peter:
I would be totally interested in seeing the photo of your ancestor's medal. Do you know that story to go with it?

As for the idea that the medal showing in Pringle's photo may be too late a model for his 1861 live-saving escapade . . . I believe that there was one more life-saving (by him) some years later. It does not, I believe have the same coverage, but I am going to look at my notes in a minute and will post what is there. Perhaps the medal dates from that. There are a few other photos surviving of him, but this is, sadly, the only one that shows any medals. Too bad!

crimea1854 wrote:I'm not convinced that the medal identified as the 1860 China is correct since I've looked at the medal roll and cannot find Pringle. According to a number of write-ups on the internet he is supposed to have served in the Baltic during the Crimean War, but here again I cannot find him on the roll. so currently this remains something of a mystery. I was wondering if you have downloaded his official service record from the National Archives, because with a ship's name I would be possible to check the rolls again, but this time with a targeted search?

Martin


I did not know that you could download his official service record online! How do I go about doing that? If the fee is not too much, then I'd really be interested. Most of my research is usually on politicians from the 18th century or on Army gents. I don't have much Navy experience --- and none with a Navy officer from this recent a period. :) I can post all of the dates for places that I know about his time in service, if that would help?

Off to find that other story and will be back in a minute!
Sarah
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 24 Aug 2016 16:40

Hi, again!

Here is a clipping from the "North London News" of 24 Oct 1863. This has another story of Pringle's involvement in a life-saving (see bottom half of the clipping). This doesn't work out to be late enough for the correct medal, though, does it?

Sarah
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Pringle, John Eliot rescues Boy from The Scylla North London News 24 Oct 1863.JPG
Pringle, John Eliot rescues Boy from The Scylla North London News 24 Oct 1863.JPG (107.78 KiB) Viewed 657 times
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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby crimea1854 » 24 Aug 2016 22:55

I believe I have now found him serving as a Naval Cadet on HMS Hastings on the Baltic medal roll, this medal was sent to HMS Centurion in 1857.

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Re: Looking for info & photo of HMS Falcon (1880s)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 25 Aug 2016 13:45

crimea1854 wrote:I believe I have now found him serving as a Naval Cadet on HMS Hastings on the Baltic medal roll, this medal was sent to HMS Centurion in 1857.

Martin


This is most interesting! I don't have any detailed info like that for his early years. He was a "Flag Officer" in 1854, and in January of 1855, Pringle is listed as a Royal Naval Cadet at Royal Naval College. That's all that I have for him until June of 1861, when he was made an acting Sub-Lieutenant.

On your advice about his service record, I have been doing some online looking. Can someone have a look at this link and tell me if this paper would give helpful information. It looks like it may contain a full list of his ranks and ships, but I really don't know much about Navy papers. :) If this would give a full list, etc., then I will be more than happy to pay the fee for it!

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7578689#imageViewerLink

Thanks!
Sarah
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