Lieutenant Archibald Dayrell-Reed RN

Lieutenant Archibald Dayrell-Reed RN DSO and Bar,
             Croix de Guerre with Palm Leaves

Died 18th August 1919 age 31.

Royal Navy
 Officer

D.S.O Croix de Guerre
with Palms

British War &
Victory Medal

 
Archibald was born 1887 in Bromley, Kent, to George & Margaret Dayrell-Reed. In 1909 Trelawney Dayrell-Reed bought Wood Town Farm, West Parley from Charles Reeks, and brought his brother Archibald and their widowed mother Margaret to live there.
In 1914 Archibald joined the Royal Navy Reserves, and at the end of his probationary period on the 1st September 1914was appointed Sub-lieutenant. In May 1917 Lieutenant Archibald Dayrell-Reed was awarded the DSO, as Gazetted on 12th May 1917. About the same time he was awarded the Croix de Guerre for services in France.
On the night 22nd/23rd April 1918 he was in command of a CMB (Coastal Motor Boat) during the Zeebrugge & Ostend raids. " He showed great coolness under heavy fire, commencing & maintaining a smoke screen across the harbour entrance throughout the whole operation, thereby contributing to the success of the operation" The above is the citation when he received the Bar to his DSO as Gazetted on 28th August 1918.

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918 the Armistice came into force, but the war was not over for everyone. Not all German forces had been brought to heel and there was a bloody revolution taking place in Russia, threatening the stability of the nations that had so recently been at war with each other. The countries bordering the Baltic Sea were particularly chaotic and the Bolshevik revolution was a threat.

Kronstadt is an island 19 miles west of St Petersburg where the Russian Baltic Fleet was based. On August 17th 1919 Archibald was in command of CMB88 at Kronstadt, where they were the recipients of casual fire on their way towards the harbour, but once the recently formed RAF arrived to clear the harbour entrance for them, the Russians seriously opened fire on them. The 3rd boat to enter the harbour was CMB88 and was under very heavy attack from all sides. Lieutenant Gordon Steele, the second in command, realised that Archibald had been hit in the head and was slumped over the wheel, so he took over the command and the raid was successful. Archibald was taken on board HMS Delhi where he died the next day on August 18th, and was buried in Koivisto General Cemetery, then part of Finland, now Russia. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. Gordon Steele was awarded the VC for this encounter.

As well as the West Parley Memorial, he is commemorated on the Archangel Memorial, on the Memorial inside Portsmouth Cathedral and in the Masonic archives.

Excerpts taken from Lesley Wilson’s book

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old. 
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We Will Remember Them

 


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