Freelance writer from Cornwall
The first member of the RN to be awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI was Commander Henry Peel Ritchie. He was an officer of the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Goliath, which in November 1914 was blockading the port of Dar-es-Salaam in the German colony of East Africa (now Tanzania). When the German light cruiser SMS Konigsberg sank HMS Pegasus she was operating from Dar-es-Salaam and several German merchant ships that could have supplied raiders were trapped in the harbour.
On 28 November Ritchie was put in charge of a raiding party that was ordered to disable the German merchantmen in the harbour. It came under heavy fire and Ritchie was wounded eight times, but he steered Goliath’s steam pinnace to safety. The citation for his VC stated that:
‘For most conspicuous bravery on the 28th November 1914 when in command of the searching and demolition operations at Dar-es-Salaam East Africa Though severely…
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