DATE: October 30, 2003
FROM: Stephen Stratford
Email: Click Here
The following is a copy of the citation for the posthumous award of the Albert Medal to The Reverend Tanner:
The Reverend Christopher Champain Tanner, Temporary Chaplain, R.N.V.R., H.M.S. Fiji, who, when H.M.S. Fiji was sunk in the Battle of Crete, stayed to save the wounded men from the sick bay, and was one of the last to leave the ship. While in the water he spent himself in helping men to rafts and floats, and, when the rescuing ship came up, in bringing over to her disabled men and such as could not swim. At length only one man remained to be brought across.
Despite his exhaustion Mr. Tanner made a last effort to save him. He brought him across and saw him safely on board. But when hauled up himself he died within a few minutes.
The citation was published in the London Gazette edition dated 28 April 1942 (page 1849).
For a complete list of AM, EM and EGM recipients see the following book:
"Heroic Endeavour" by D.V. Henderson, GM
Published by J.B. Hayward & Son
Web Site: Click Here to visit Stephen's Study Room:
British Military & Criminal History in the period 1900 to 1999
The following email was received today. 20.1.01 |
From: "Mari and Brian Walker" email@example.com
Date: Sat, Jan 20 2001 8:23:42 PM +1030
Hello Gerry & Tom,
I discovered the following on the Commonwealth War Graves Website.
Padre C.C.Tanner - Albert Medal Winner
In Memory of The Reverend Christopher Champain TANNER AM H.M.S.Fiji, R.N.V.R.
who died aged 32 on Thursday, 22 May 1941. Chaplain Tanner B.A.(Cantab).
The Revd. Tanner was the only England Rugby Player to win the Albert Medal during the Second World War.
Remembered with honour.
Potsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, U.K.
One of Dad's memories on return to Alexandria was talk among the survivors of the Ship's Padre being a hero. He dived into the sea to assist and rescue crew. Finally exhausted he drowned. A brave man.
Brian Walker, Adelaide.
Born: 24 June, 1908
England Rugby Career:
v. Scotland 1930-32
v. Ireland 1932
v. Wales 1932
v. South Africa 1932 (5 Caps)
Cheltenham College; Pembroke College,
Cambridge University (1930);
Richmond; Barbarians; Gloucestershire.
Church of England:
Ordained 1935; curate at Farnham Royal, 1935-37;
at St. Mary de Lode, Gloucester, 1937-39,
rector of Haslemere, Aug. 1939.
Served World War II as R.N.V.R. Chaplain from Jan. 1940.
This information kindly provided by Ross Hamilton of the Rugby Football Union.
Read an article about Padre Tanner on the Rugby Historical Society Website
Click HERE to visit an excellent page which explores
Padre Tanner's Rugby career and his heroic Royal Navy Service.
heroism by John Cookson, Royal Marine, who witnessed
the events of that fateful day in May of 1941
Compliments of: B.B.C. World War II - People's War
The following received today:
August 3, 2001, from Brian Walker,
in Adelaide, Australia
I have written poetry since I was a teenager.
Not very much has survived the years.
H.M.S. Fiji: Lost 22 May, 1941
At the end of the day
When the roll is called
And their names are read aloud
We shall hear the hymn
'Abide with me'
Above the waves of a restless sea.
For they went to war
And gave their lives
For the likes of you and me
So all stand and remember
Of His Majesty's Ship Fiji
And when the tumpets call
And the mighty seas
Give up their sacred dead
Bring together the crew
Of that fighting ship
His Majesty's Ship Fiji
Note from Webminder: Incidentally, Albert Medal winners exchanged their decorations for the George Cross in 1971. More information may be obtained from the Victoria and George Cross Association in London. Address & Telephone number available on the George Cross page
It has been suggested to me that you would be interested in the gallantry awards made to some members of the crew of the Fiji. The details are as follows :-
WAS AWARDED TO H.M.S. FIJI
HMS FIJI's SHIP'S COMPANY
Captain P.B.R.W. William-Powlett D.S.O.
Lieutenant P.J. Norton D.S.C.
Sub Lieutenant S.S. Brooks D.S.C.
Commander (E) J.E. Saunders Posthumous Mention in Despatches
Lt.Commander D.A.H. Hornell Posthumous Mention in Despatches
Reverend C.C. Tanner Albert Medal (Posthumous)
Mr. T.A. Boustead. WOO. Mention in Despatches
C.P.O. Tel. W.J. Hoskins D.S.M.
C.E.R.A. P.R. Churcher D.S.M.
E.A.3 D.S. Cross D.S.M.
P.O. E.H. Wadsworth D.S.M.
P.O. H.P. Booth D.S.M.
L/SEA. C.E. Conduit D.S.M.
CH.STKR. R.W. Paton Posthumous Mention in Despatches
CH.MECH. W.M. Powell Posthumous Mention in Despatches
O.A.1 J. Smart Posthumous Mention in Despatches
L/SEA. F. Dyde Posthumous Mention in Despatches
O.A.4 D.W.H. Freer Mention in Despatches
L/SEA. L.C. Garnett Mention in Despatches
L/COOK J.E. Shawyer Mention in Despatches
AB R.G. Kitto Mention in Despatches
BOY SMN. H.R. Butterfield Mention in Despatches
WHO ARE BURIED ASHORE
ALEXANDRIA (HADRA) WAR MEMORIAL CEMETARY
BULL, Petty Officer Stoker, ALFRED JAMES, P/KX 79104, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy 23.5.41 (2.C.5)
CREED, Ordinary Seaman, GRAHAM, P/JX 215660, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 25, Son of Charles Horace and Kate Eveline Creed, of Wollaston, Stourbridge, Worcs. (2.A.3)
FARRANCE, Cook, JAMES THOMAS, P/MX 69014, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41. (2.A.4)
EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETARY
LAKE, Lieutenant, RICHARD HENRY, HMS Fiji, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, 23.5.41, Age 32, Son of Henry W. and Helene J. Lake ; husband of Una Lake (nee Simpson) of Esher, Surrey. (XX1X.F.3)
MACHIN, Midshipman, MICHAEL NOEL, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 17, Son of Lieutenant Commander, Noel Percy Machin, RN, and Joan Evelyn Machin, of Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey. (XV111.D.17)
McLEARIE, Able Seaman, ALLEN, P/SSX 23424, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 21, Son of Allan McLearie and of Ruth McLearie (nee White), of Ayr. (XV111.A.7)
PARROTT, Commissioned Gunner, CYRIL WILLIAM HENRY, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 40, Son of Henry and Mary Jane Parrott, husband of Nellie Parrott, of Copnor, Portsmouth, Hants. (XXX11.B.1)
TUPPER, Leading Stoker, FREDERICK, P/KX 88340, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 24, Son of Frederick and Alice Tupper, of North Waltham, Hampshire. (XXX11.G.15)
HALFAYA SOLLUM WAR CEMETARY
HIGGINS, Ordinary Telegraphist, CHARLES ERIC, P/SSX 33315, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 19, Son of Charles Ernest and Dorothy Winniefred Higgins, of Tooting, Surrey. (6.C.7)
PHALERON WAR CEMETARY
WARD, Leading Supply Assistant, RONALD, P/MX 61236, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 20, Son of Frank and Bertha Ward, of Spalding, Lincolnshire. (22.A.8)
SUDA BAY WAR CEMETARY
KENYON, Mechanician 1st Class, SIDNEY, P/KX 78300, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 34, Husband of Ivy Margery Kenyon, of Caldmore, Walsall, Staffs. (Joint grave 14.C.10-11)
SMITH, Leading Seaman, AUGUSTUS GREENWELL, P/J 2609, HMS Fiji, Royal Navy, 23.5.41, Age 48, Husband of L.M.E. Smith of North End, Portsmouth. (Joint grave 14.C.10-11)
All of the other members of HMS FIJI who were lost are remembered on the War Memorials at Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth.
THIS INFORMATION WAS SUPPLIED FROM THE DATABASE OF THE COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION.
The George Cross
Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
The Official Website of the British Monarchy