|RN Paymaster's Medals
HENRY SPENCER BASKERVILLE, R.N.
His first seagoing ship was HMS Favourite (Central battery ironclad corvette of `64, based at Sheerness). Whilst on
Favourite he was promoted to Clerk on 13 Dec `66. He was to remain on Favourite until being posted on 26 Aug `69 to HMS
Duke of Wellington (Flag & Depot ship, Portsmouth) for leave & to await his next appointment.
He joined HMS Pallas (Central battery ironclad corvette of `65) at the time she was assigned to Coast Guard Service at
Kingstown. Whilst on her Baskerville was promoted to Assistant Paymaster on 9 Mar `70 on his 21st birthday. He was now a
commissioned officer in the Paymaster branch of the RN. It would be likened to a Midshipman receiving promotion to a Sub
He left Pallas on 8 Mar `70 to join his next ship HMS Audacious (Central battery ironclad of `69), she was still in the
completion of the building process when he joined her, but eventually joined the Coast Guard service at Hull in Nov `71.
He left Audacious on 13 Jun `71 & joined HMS Topaz (Armoured Frigate of `58) On 19 Nov 1871 she joined the Flying
Squadron, consisting of the Narcissus, Topaze, Immortalité, Inconstant, Cadmus and Volage to sail from Portland to India
via the Cape of Good Hope. She arrived back in Plymouth in Sep `72.
He was to remain on Topaze until appointed to HMS Penelope (Central battery ironclad corvette of 67) on 4 Aug 74 which
was on the Pacific station. He arrived on board her on 9 Oct & was to remain onboard until transferred to HMS Diamond
(Corvette of 74) on 13 July 75.
Baskerville was to remain in the Pacific until returning to UK on 8 Jan 79 when he joined up with HMS Duke of Wellington
briefly before joining HMS Lord Warden (Broadside Ironclad of 69) on 21 Feb 79. Lord Warden was in the Coast Guard
Service at Queensferry, then joined the Channel Sqdn in June.
On 26 Jun 79 he joined HMS Pembroke (Base ship Chatham) for leave & for passage to his next appointment. He joined HMS
Temeraire (Battleship of 76) on 15 Dec 80. At that time she was part of the Mediterranean Fleet.
Whilst on Temeraire he was advanced to Acting Paymaster & was to witness the bombardment of Alexandria by the fleet on
1 July 82, thus commencing the Egypt campaign. For the campaign Baskerville was awarded the Egypt medal with Alexandria
11 July clasp as: “Paymaster, HMS Temeraire”
He was then appointed to HMS Invincible from 19 July to 5 Sep, then back to Temeraire until 18 Feb ’84.
His next appointment was as Paymaster of the Naval Brigade & Marine Batt’n in Egypt between 19 Feb – 22 Apl ’84. It
appears as if he never served ashore at the Suakin base as he does not appear on the Suakin 1884 clasp roll or being
credited with that clasp in Leans Navy List. He may have administered the pay records from HMS Invincible.
He then departed for UK, arriving & being posted to HMS St Vincent on 14 May, remaining as Paymaster of St Vincent
until 28 Jun ’86.
Baskerville was formally promoted to Paymaster on 11 Jun ’86.
Henry Spencer Baskerville was Born 9
Mar 1849, at Kessingland, Suffolk.
Aged 16 ½ yrs of age he entered the
RN on board HMS Victory as an
Assistant Clerk, 13 Dec ’65. A Clerk
was similar to a Midshipman, whilst
Baskerville was a Clerk he would be
learning the ways & means of the
Paymaster branch. He would be
spending a lot of his time with books -
regulations & writing – everything in
the day was hand written.
After another short period of half pay he was
appointed Paymaster of HMS Terrible(1st cl
Cruiser of ’96) on commissioning, 24 Mar ’98.
She was a new & very modern Cruiser.
Originally commanded by Capt Robertson,
effective 18 Sep ’99 she was to be
commanded by Captain Percy M. Scott, the
prominent gunnery expert of the time.*
HMS Terrible was to depart for the China
station on 19 Sep ’99, she carried in addition
to a full crew complement of approx. 900
officers ratings & marines, additional ratings &
marines that were destined for addition to
ships already on station, so she departed with
almost 1200 souls on board.
En route she was to be diverted to the Cape
of Good Hope & the Boer war which commenced
in October whilst terrible was at sea. After
landing a naval brigade to
participate in the Relief of Ladysmith & other
actions, she was to depart for Hong Kong
in Apl ’00. Baskerville was not part of the
landed brigade, so he was to see no action
during the campaign.
From 5 Jul 1900 she was to serve in Chinese
waters during the Boxer Rebellion, landing
another naval brigade to participate in the
Relief of Tientsin. Again, Baskerville was not
part of the landed naval brigade.**
For these two campaigns he was to earn the
Queen’s South Africa & China 1900 campaign
medals, both named to him as: “Fleet
Paymaster, HMS Terrible.”
In Oct ’02 HMS Terrible made the return
journey home arriving in Oct & Baskerville paid
off the ship’s crew on the 24th. He then went
on leave until 17 Dec & then to half pay, until
being appointed to HMS Pembroke on 11
It is possible he spent some time in the Naval
Hospital at Chatham as he died of Pneumonia
on 31 Mar 1904. He had just turned 55 yrs of
age & was due for retirement.
H.S. Baskerville’s family:
He married Mary Jane Sproule in 1885, & had
Henry Davenport – born 1886 – he was to be
employed by the Civil Service in India, he died
Mary Evelyn - born 1892 - she died 1983 in
Gilbert Thomas – born 1893 – he entered the
RN as a Clerk & was KIA when HMS Cressy
was torpedoed & sunk on 22 Sep 1914. He
had earned the NGS medal with Persian Gulf
clasp, serving on HMS Highflyer (which was
sent to his mother in 1915), & the 1914-15
WW1 Trio & Memorial Plaque (sent to his
mother in Oct 1923).
Eva – born 1898 – in 1911 she was a student
at the Royal Naval School, Teddington.
Unknown when she died.
*Baskerville was the oldest officer on board
HMS Terrible at 50 years of age.
Next was Fleet Engineer Chase at 49, then
Capt Scott at 46.
Percy Scott was a very difficult and very
controversial Captain to get along with. He
was a superb professional that expected
100% & more from every officer & rating who
worked under him. He was solely responsible
for improving the gunnery efficiency of the
fleet in the later part of the 1890’s, & for
introducing the Naval Good Shooting medal
in 1903. He was not an easy man to work for
but presumably Baskerville got along with him,
& it is possible they may have served together
in the past, altho I have been unable to
establish a definite link between them.
Percy Scott wrote his autobiography in 1919 –
“Fifty Years in the Royal Navy”.
He passed away in 1924.
** Baskerville likely was not part of Terrible’s
naval brigade due to his advanced age. He
was 51 when Terrible set out on her voyage
& for a man of his age tramping around the
veldt in heat of South Africa was probably not
An Ironclad Battleship of 1876, she was of the
same class as HMS Alexandra both being built at
the same time. She carried 4– 11 inch MLR guns
in the central battery plus 4- 10 inch MLR guns
in barbettes. Steam powered, she carried a full
press 25,000 square feet brig rigged sails
carried on two masts. Complement 580.
One of the longest lasting ironclads, she was
finally broken up in 1921
LEFT: One of the 11 inch Muzzle loading guns
of HMS Temeraire. These guns could be
lowered into the casemate for easier loading.
These guns weighed 25 tons.
After a short period on half pay his next
appointment was Paymaster of HMS Icarus
(Sloop of ’85) which was destined for service
on the Pacific station.
Returning to UK he paid off Icarus on 30 May
’90 & for the next year he is either on half pay
or serving at HMS Vivid(Devonport base). He
was then appointed on 28 May ’91 to HMS
Pembroke, Chatham base (for Royal Naval
Barracks, as Paymaster) until 17 July ’94.
Whilst serving at Pembroke Baskerville was
promoted to Staff Paymaster on 11 Jun ’92.
He was promoted to Fleet Paymaster on 11
Jun ’94 & his next sea appointment was to
HMS Scylla(2nd cl Cruiser of ’91) for summer
manoeuvres, 15 Jul – 15 Sep ’94.
After a short period of half pay he was
appointed Paymaster of HMS Ruby
(3rd cl Cruiser of ’77) from 12 Oct ’94 to 9
Oct ’95. Ruby was part of the Training Sqdn.
On 10 Oct ’95 he returned to the Pacific fleet,
being appointed to HMS Champion(3rd cl
Cruiser of ’78) for two years, from 10 Oct
to 18 Oct ’97.
HMS Invincible, an Audacious class Ironclad Battleship of 1869, she carried 10 nine
inch RML guns mounted in a central battery,plus 4 – 64 pounder deck guns.
She was steam powered but had a full press of sail typical of this period. Complement
of 450. She was still in service in 1914 & sank whilst being towed to Scapa Flow.
1st class Armoured Cruiser of 1898, sister ship to HMS Powerful. Steam powered,
she was at the time the largest of her type in the RN, displacing 14,440 tons. She
also had the most modern engines & had a capacity to hold 3,000 tons of coal.
Armed with two 9.2 inch guns, 12 six inch Quick Firers, & several smaller guns.
Complement of approx 900, a greater number than some of the older ironclads
still in service. She remained in service until 1932.
|The Officers of HMS Terrible. Photo taken on |
their return from China, 1902. (N&I Illus)
Captain Percy Scott is in the centre,
Commander Ogilvie on Scott`s left & Fleet
Paymaster Baskerville on his left.