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 Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter

Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter

Birth
Barnes, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England
Death 27 Dec 1955 (aged 74)
Lydney, Forest of Dean District, Gloucestershire, England
Burial Gloucester, City of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England
Memorial ID 8024065 · View Source
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British Victoria Cross War Medal Recipient, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British forces, by ballot, elected by his fellow officers and also the Croix de Guerre and Legion d'Honneur from France. He also holds the silver medal of the Royal Humane Society, as did his father before him. He served with the British Royal Navy during the First World War, this award resulting from when he was in command of the Vindictive. "These men went out on the eve of Saint George's Day, 1918, to do those two things - the one utilitarian, the other romantic. They went out to block the Bruges Canal at Zeebrugge, Belgium - to stop that mouth which for so long past has been vomiting forth its submarines and its destroyers against our hospital ships, and our merchant vessels, and the merchant vessels of countries not engaged in this war." He went on to say "Some people have called this affair audacious. That isn't the word I should use for it. Impertinent," would be more apt. "Just imagine this Armada of smoke-boats, motor launches, ferry-boats, obsolete submarines, and ancient cruisers laden with concrete, headed by the old Vindictive, setting out in broad day-light to attack the mighty fortress of Zeebrugge." He was only thirty six at the time. Born at Barnes, SW London, son of Commander Alfred Carpenter and grandson of Commander Charles Carpenter who joined the Royal Navy in 1810. He was married to Henrietta Maude Shadwell and after her death in 1923 to Hilda Margaret Chearnley-Smith. He had attended the progressive school Bedales founded by his Uncle Edward Carpenter's close friend John Haden Badley. His personal bearing and composure gained during these formative years contributed greatly his power of command and the success of the operation as he walked the decks encouraging his men. Before the War he saw naval service in Crete in 1898 and during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900-01. He was promoted Lieutenant Commander in 1911 and served on Sir John Jellicoe's staff during 1914-15. He was promoted commander, the next year and served on a battleship until 1917. His book The blocking of Zeebrugge was published first in New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1922 then London: H. Jenkins, 1924. His Victoria Cross together with his other medal are on display at the Imperial War Museum, London. He died at his home, at the age of 74, following an operation. His house had been named after his training ship; Saint Briavel, Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Bio by: D C McJonathan-Swarm


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 24 Oct 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8024065
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter (17 Sep 1881–27 Dec 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8024065, citing Gloucester Crematorium, Gloucester, City of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .