Other Interesting Medals
William John Haynes was born at Torpoint,
Cornwall on Apl 20, 1858. He was an errand boy
prior to joining the RN on 30 Apl ‘73 as a Boy of  
15 yrs of age. He commenced his initial training on
the old ship of the line HMS Impregnable, then a
Boys training ship at Devonport. On board her he
would have received the basic boys training in
seamanship, ropework, boatwork, drill & “the
ways of the navy”.

His next ship in Nov ’74 was HMS Agincourt where
he was advanced to Boy 1st class. Agincourt, at
that time, was the ship that boys were drafted to
to gain experience in handling sail. The Victorian
navy still had many ships under sail at that time.  
He was next drafted to ironclad HMS Minotaur on
6 Aug ’75 where he was advanced to Ordinary
Seaman on his 18th birthday, 20 Apl ’76, & to
Able Seaman on 1 Apl ’77.  He then went to HMS
Cambridge, gunnery training ship at Plymouth &
qualified as a Seaman Gunner  1st class(SG1) on
26 Apl ’80. He was to return to Cambridge many
times during his career in order to requalify  &
qualify for higher gunnery rates.

HMS Conquest:

A Comus class steel Corvette of 1878(class name changed
1888 to 3rd class Cruiser). The Comus class of cruisers were
well built & capable of long voyages away from coaling stations,
& performed exceptionally well under sail alone.

At the time they were the latest word in Corvette construction.
To protect Britain’s trade and police its empire, the RN
constructed many small and medium-sized cruisers, well
armed with guns up to six inches in calibre. They were
designed to serve long periods at sea, and were equipped
with a full press of sails. Barque rigged, she also had steam
powered compound engines.

They were well armed with 2-7” MLRs, 4 – 6” deck guns,
8 –64 pounder MLRs, plus additional Nordenfelt guns &
equipped with 2 Torpedos. in 1888 in 1888   Complement
approx 350-400. Conquest was scrapped in 1899.
Most of her service was on the West coast of Africa
& in the East Indies.
His first overseas ship was HMS Falcon to which he was drafted on 20 Sep ’81. HMS Falcon was one of the many smaller wood/iron
composite screw coal (with sails) powered gun vessels of 1877 that were in service in the later Victorian navy & saw service all over the
globe, many of them seeing active service in various Victorian era campaigns.
Falcon served on foreign stations as well, serving in the Mediterranean fleet & thus saw active service during the 1882 Egypt
campaign.  Unfortunately Falcon did not see service on 11 July at the bombardment of the main fortifications at Alexandria; she arrived
in the theatre on the 12th. However on the 19th just after sunset, she was sent to anchor off the north coast of Egypt between Port
Said & Fort Gemail in order to distract the Egyptian’s attention from the upcoming attack on Port Said the following day.

HMS Falcon turned out to be a super draft for Haynes as he was promoted to Leading Seaman on 1 Feb ’83 & Petty Officer 2nd class
(PO2) on 1 Feb ’84.  Then on 20 Mar ’84 he was advanced to Gun Captain (CG) so he must have been quite proficient in gunnery to
receive that appointment prior to be being qualified at HMS Cambridge. All of these advancements gained him higher rates of pay.
He left Falcon on 9 Feb ’85, returning to Cambridge to re qualify on 12 Oct ’85.
On the same day as he passed his requalification he was promoted to Petty Officer 1st class (PO1), & Captain of the Main Top (CMT).  
Haynes now qualified for the award of the Naval long Service medal which he received on 16 Jun ’86 in the rate of Captain of the Main
Top. His conduct up to that time had been consistently assessed as Exemplary or very Good.

He was advanced to Gunner’s Mate(GM) & Gunnery Instructor(GI) on 5 Oct, the same day being drafted as GI to HMS Royal Adelaide,
depot ship at Devonport.

Haynes then went to HMS Defiance to qualify in Torpedos which he completed & rated Seaman Gunner Torpedo 1st cl (SGT1) on 1 Jun
’88. These advancements also gave him a raise in daily pay.  He  then  returned to Cambridge where he was employed as a GI from 4
Jun ‘88 until being drafted to HMS Conquest on 16 Feb ’89. Conquest was a larger screw Corvette (later to be re classed as 3rd cl
cruisers) of 1878 & served on the East Indies station. Now he was to see some real active service.

During Oct of 1890 members of the crew of Conquest took part in the punitive expedition against the Swahilis in the area of Witu in
Africa.  The expedition was initiated in order to punish the murderers of eleven German citizens who were working on a timber
concession in the forest around the fort of Witu.
HM Ships Boadicea, Cossack & Conquest took part in the expedition.  Initially  the ships were sent to Mkonumbui and Baltia villages
where the Germans were murdered & burned the two villages.  The expeditionary force of approx. 750 officers & men then landed at
Kipini & on 25 Oct commenced the march to Witu. Several times enroute to Witu the convoy was ambushed & suffered several ratings
wounded in skirmishes along the way. Upon arrival the stockaded fort of Witu was bombarded & the gates were blown in. The Sultan
Fumo Bakari fled & was chased for three miles  & many of his followers were killed. The fort gave up  after a brief resistance & both fort
& town were subsequently burnt. Casualties were light , eleven ratings were wounded during the campaign. The expedition returned to
Kipini on 28th. The men who went on the Witu expedition were subsequently awarded the new East & West Africa campaign medal
with clasp Witu 1890. If they were not part of the land expedition they did not receive the medal or clasp.  190 officers & ratings of
HMS Conquest were awarded medal & clasp.
Haynes returned ashore to HMS Cambridge in
May ’92 where again he was employed as GI
from 31 Oct.  He then gets drafted to the
Ironclad HMS Superb, again as GI, on 31 Oct ’
92. He only remains on Superb for a short while
being drafted back to Cambridge on 17 Apl ’93 ,
where he again serves as GI from 16 Jun ’93 & is
promoted to Acting Chief Petty Officer GI (CPO
GI) on 19 Mar ’94.  
Haynes had now reached the top of the Gunnery
branch ladder. He was confirmed in his rank of
CPO on 19 Mar ’95.

He remained at Cambridge until being drafted to
the ironclad battleship(’82) HMS Colossus on 16
Mar ’96, & to ironclad battleship HMS Alexandra
on 8 Nov ’97.
On both of these ships he was rated as CPO GI
& Chief Captain of the Main Top.

Haynes time was up when drafted to Alexandra
as he had achieved 20 yrs service, however, he
obviously liked the navy as he signed on for
another 5 yrs.
He was pensioned from Alexandra on 14 Mar ’01
& joined the Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR) on 11 Apl’

Haynes did not remain ashore for very long tho,
as he signed on HMS Vivid (base at Devonport)  
as an AB Pensioner on 11 Apl ’01.  Pensioners
were permitted to sign on base/depot ships as
part of the staff of those ships. Generally they
were employed in their former rates in order to
free younger men up for sea drafts.

He was drafted to HMS Triumph (base ship at
Plymouth) on 1 Jan ’02 & subsequently to HMS
Temeraire (base ship for the Reserve Fleet at
Devonport)  on 16 July ’02, where he remained
until 31 Dec’03. On 1 Jan ’04 Temeraire was
replaced by HMS Indus as base ship for the
Reserve Fleet & Haynes was moved over to her
upon commissioning. He remained on Indus until
16 Jun ’05 when he went to pension again, this
time permanently. He was discharged from RFR
on 20 Apl ’08 upon reaching the age limit of 50.
During his career Haynes’ conduct was
consistently either Exemplary or very Good with
no offences or cell time.
He was too old for call up for mobilization or  
hostilities in 1914.

William Haynes had a remarkable career – his
time started in the sailing navy & he progressed
to the coal/steam powered ironclad navy & was
still serving for the advent of submarines in
1901 & had just returned to pension when HMS
Dreadnought was commissioned in 1906. He
would have seen & participated in many changes
in the development of gunnery, as well as a lot
of change from the navy he joined as a boy in
1873.  He likely trained many of the Seaman
Gunners as they went thru gunnery training on
the many ships he served on during his career.

William Haynes family -  
William married Elizabeth in 1885.
Their daughter Minnie, was born the following
year & was still living with them, aged 15 in
1901. They also had William’s sister in law, Alice
Collins, living with them in 1901.
At the time their residence was 8 Clarence Rd in
Torpoint, Cornwall.

In the 1911 census both are now living at 5
North Hill Terrance, Torpoint. William is age 52 &
Elizabeth is 48.  Minnie has now left home.  
William is shown as naval pensioner & employed
as a Verger(assistant to the minister),
presumably at one of the churches in Torpoint.

William Haynes died in Feb 1912 in his 54th yr of
age. He was still living in Torpoint at the time.  It
is unknown when Elizabeth died.
LEFT: In this photo is shown a closeup of the upper gundeck of Comus class cruisers (HMS Conquest)

RIGHT: The red rate badge is a SGT1 – Seaman Gunner Torpedo 1st class & Gunnery Instructor, circa 1890 – 1900 period.
This is the badge that Haynes would have worn, but his badge would have had the star below the crown, as in the photo.
HMS Falcon:

A Condor class Gun Vessel of 1878. Barque rigged on three mast she
also had steam power.
Armament consisted of 1 –7” MLR’s & 2 – 64 pounder MLR’s.
Complement approx 250 officers & ratings.
She was converted to a harbour hulk in 1890 & sold for breakup in
Gunnery/Torpedo Instructors of HMS Cambridge 1895-96.
CPO Haynes on the left with medals.(N & A Illustrated)