BLACKSMITH Charles MOIST R.N.
He was born 1 Dec 1856 in Plymouth & was by trade a Blacksmith when he
entered the R.N. in that trade on 17 Jan ’78 at just over 21 years of age. He
entered on HMS Indus & from there was drafted briefly to HMS Simoom prior
to his next draft to HMS Thetis in which he served from May ’79 to July ’83.
Next finds him on HMS Asia then HMS Emerald from Mar ’86 to Apl ’89. Whilst
serving on HMS Emerald he gains his Naval LS medal on 28 Feb ’88 – the only
medal he earned during his 20 years RN service. He then serves on HMS
Indus, Cambridge, & again at sea on HMS Agamemnon from Dec ‘90 to Sep ’
He then gets drafted on 14 Sep ‘92 to HMS Camperdown, a new Battleship of
July ’89 & Flagship of Rear Admiral Hastings Markham, 2nd in Command of the
Mediterranean Fleet. HMS Camperdown was a Turret B/S armed with four 13.5
inch, 67 ton breech loading guns housed in double barbettes – formidable
armament for that day. She also possessed an underwater bow ram, which
was to play a very important part in HMS Camperdown’s “day in history” which
was to occur on 22 June 1893 at approx 1531 in the afternoon.
Charles Moist was on board her that fateful afternoon when she rammed &
sunk HMS Victoria, Flagship of Adm Geo Tyron Commander in Chief of the
He likely would have known his shipmate Antonio Pepe who’s group medal is
shown in this showcase.
Camperdown struck HMS Victoria's bows on her starboard (right) side, her
ram penetrating deeply into Victoria’s interior – the swinging motion of both
locked ships only exacerbated the hole rupturing bulkheads & allowing a vast
quantity of seawater to pour into Victoria. When Camperdown went astern to
withdraw from Victoria, Victoria sunk very quickly. Camperdown sustained
heavy damage to her bows, settling quickly, "........the sea was well over bow
& half way up to her forward barbette... her after gangways were well out of
the water........seven (bow) compartments were still flooded .... she looked a
pitiful sight as she led the Med fleet towards Tripoli....diving parties left for the
flagship(Camperdown)& all night the men worked on the Camperdown's bows
to repair the twisted, broken stem piece & patch the six foot by ten foot
HMS Camperdown in Malta drydock
undergoing repairs after the collision.
Chas Moist left her on 19 July 94 after her refit was complete, & was drafted to Vivid where he finished out his remaining time at HMS
Cambridge & again to Vivid before going to pension on 23 Jan 98. He was a good sailor, always having his conduct assessed at
Exemplary or Very Good.
His LS medal is typical of many Victorian era sailors – it was the only medal they earned for their service. He saw no campaigns or
active service during his career.
I expect the highlight of his 20 yr career was on the afternoon of 22 June 1893 & no doubt he spoke of it many times in the
Artisan Rate Badge Extract from Moist's Service Record
HMS Camperdown Listing
As a Blacksmith he would have very very busy for the rest of the afternoon & all night when Camperdown finally made Tripoli.
Camperdown underwent a refit from July to Sept ’93 & continued to serve in the RN afterwards as a Coast Guard ship at Lough Swilly,
then as a Sub Depot ship ’08 to ’11, & finally sold in July 1911 for break up.