Naval Good Shooting Medals
Arthur Hubert Bailey, M.B.E., R.N.
A particular appeal of this group is that it came with original photographs, badges and other items:
TOP: Seen here is a group shot of  Arthur Sr, Arthur Jr & his wife & son taken
circa 1935.
Arthur Sr is on the right & to his right is Arthur Jr.

LEFT: Here is a photo with his wife & two sons.  Arthur Sr wears his
medal group. The son on the left is Arthur Lionel Bailey & he has just
joined the RM.     Photo circa 1932.
"A Proud Father with his  son Arthur Jr,
who has just been awarded the MBE"
Pictured to the right is a Presentation Oar won
by Arthur Bailey whilst he was serving in the
Grand Fleet.

At that time he was a Warrant Officer serving
on HMS Revenge - inscription reads: 1st B.S.
(Battle Sqdn) Regatta 1918, W.O.'s Gigs, First
prize, H.M.S. Revenge.

I have only seen one other example with a
recipient's medal group and the reason for this
could be that it does not accompany the
medals when the family disposes of them.

The badge above is his wife's sweetheart badge
a small  enamel version of his Officer's Cap
Here are photos of two Cricket
Shields which he won in 1905
whilst serving  at Whale Island,
HMS Excellent, the RN Gunnery

Bailey was serving as a Gunnery
Instructor there at the time.
The first one is for his Batting
Average (41.3) and the second
one was for his Bowling
Average (9).
Bailey's Bosun's pipe

The pipe is inscribed, however due to much
use, the inscription has become quite faded.

It reads:

"A.H. Bailey P.O., Hotspur."

He served on Hotspur from Feb 01 to Mar '04.
HMS Formidable, the ship on which Bailey won
his Naval Good Shooting medal.

Shows her forward 12" turrets. These gun
turrets were huge structures each weighing over
50 tons - she carried two forward & two aft in
addition to multiple secondary armament.  All
the post 1896 to 1907 Pre Dreadnought
Battleships carried 12" gun main armament.
ABOVE: Gun Captain Badge

BELOW:This is a photo of father
& son taken  on the occasion of
Arthur Jr being presented with
the MBE. Arthur Sr again wears
his medals & the uniform of a
Serg't in the Home Guard.  Photo
taken Nov '44.
Arthur Hubert Bailey was born in Eastington, Gloucester, on 6 Apl 1879. He joined the RN as a Boy of 16 on 20 July ’95 giving his
occupation as “Sea”. He already had several tattoos on both arms! His first posting to sea was in the old battleship HMS Royal
Sovereign in which he was rated Ordinary Seaman on 6 Apl ’97. Rated an AB & ‘Trained Man’ on 1 Apl ’98 he next served on the
battleships HMS Mars, & HMS Australia.  

He then gets drafted to HMS Excellent where he qualifies as a Seaman Gunner 1st class on 23 Mar ’00 & commences his long
gunnery career. He then attends HMS Vernon & qualifies as a Seaman Gunner Torpedo on 27 Oct ’00. He then is promoted to
Leading Seaman on 2 Feb ‘01 & gets drafted to HMS Hotspur, an old iron turret ship of 1890. Whilst serving on Hotspur he is
appointed Gun Captain on 3 March & qualifies as a Diver 31 July ’01; gets promoted to PO2 on 20 Mar ’02, & PO1 & Turret Captain
1 & 3 July ’03 - so an excellent draft for him, & all before he qualifies for his 2nd GCB (Good Conduct badge – awarded after 8 years
adult service). Being promoted to PO1 with only 6 years adult service was very quick promotion for Bailey – he must have been
quite good in his job, & more importantly, his efficiency would have been noticed by both his Gunnery Officer & the Hotspur’s First
Lieut. both of who’s recommendations would have been essential for his advancement & promotion.  

After a short stint at HMS Terror in Bermuda he gets drafted back to Excellent to qualify as a Gunlayer 1st cl & Gunnery Instructor
in ’04-’05; then serves as Turret Gun Captain on the pre Dreadnought (1898) battleship HMS Formidable. He served on her for
almost 3 years.  A Turret Gun Captain was a position of importance & would have been filled by a senior & trusted Gunnery rating –
he would have been directly responsible to the Gunnery Lieut for his turret. To run one of these turrets a rating had to be very
good at his job & perform it well.
And very good at it he was as during Bailey’s time on Formidable (Dec ’05-Apl ’08) he qualifies at the 1907 Annual Prize Shooting
competition for the Naval Good Shooting medal on the 12” BL (Breech loading) gun.

This was the largest  calibre gun in service at that time in the RN. The gun barrel itself was in excess of 1 ton. The cartridge weight
of this weapon was approx 714 pounds, supplied with a cordite charge of 89 pounds to drive it out of the barrel with a muzzle
velocity of 1944 ft per second - a formidable weapon for the time! This gun was laid, trained, sighted & fired on a pre-dreadnought
Battleship without director laying/firing capabilities. The actual laying & training of the gun barrels would have been done via
hydraulic power, but Bailey’s crew would have had to sight & fire the gun by eyesight.

Bailey then heads back to Excellent to qualify as a Gunners Mate on 21 Oct ’09. He then serves as Gunners Mate on HMS Terrible,
Achilles & Jupiter in the pre war period.  He qualified for his Naval LS medal in Apl ’12 whilst serving on HMS Jupiter.

His service in Jupiter  was  followed by two drafts to Excellent & Vernon in ’12 &’13 to qualify as a Warrant Gunner.
His marks on this long course were:
Seamanship-86.3%; Academic subjects-88.6%; Gunnery-91.2%; Torpedo-88.2% - an excellent record !!!  

From HMS Vernon Bailey was Warranted as Gunner on 30 Jan ’14 & gets posted to HMS Iron Duke 10 Mar ’14.  He served on her
when she was Flagship of the Grand Fleet & saw all of the actions the Grand Fleet was involved in up to Dec 1916 including the
Battle of Jutland.  Hopefully his gunnery training came into good use that day!

On Dec 28 ’16 Bailey was posted to HMS Superb “for Instructional duties” & on 17 Feb ’17 to HMS Revenge (Flagship of Adm
Charles Madden), again, “for Instructional duties”.

Serving in Revenge he would have witnessed the surrender & internment of the German High Seas Fleet on Nov 28, 1918.

Gunner Arthur Bailey was awarded a Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on 17 July ’19
-- “for valuable services in HM Ships Iron Duke & Revenge, 1st Battle Sq’dn, Grand Fleet.”  
17 Gunners RN were awarded the MBE for their services in WWI.
Bailey was promoted to Commissioned Gunner on 1 Jan ‘20 with seniority backdated to 30 Jan 1914.

He remained on Revenge for the remainder of the war until being posted on
5 May ’20 to HMS Dido {Lt Cruiser & Flag of Captain(D) Local Defence Flotilla} “for Squadron Director Duties”.
He returns to HMS Excellent for the last time on 12 May ’22 & is discharged to pension on 1 July ’22.  He was just over 43 yrs of

Bailey was too old for call up in 1939, however he served as a Sergeant in the Home Guard in WWII, earning the Defence medal.  He
remained on the retired list of the RN until passing away on 13 Nov 1953, in his 75th year.

Whilst serving in the RN Bailey had two sons, one born in Apl 1914 & the other born in Apl ’21. Both of them joined the Royal
Marines & served in WWII.  His eldest son, Arthur Lionel, became an RM Musician & was the only Bandmaster in the RM to  be
awarded the MBE in WWII.  I am also fortunate enough have his medals in my collection.


One thing I have always wondered about with the Naval Good Shooting medal & the Fleet actions of WWI  ……. of the men who were
awarded the NGSM prior to WWI many were still serving in WWI & served on Battleships & Cruisers during WWI & likely participated
in one of the big Fleet actions – ie: Heliogoland, Dogger Bank, Dardanelles campaign, & Jutland, &  no doubt some of the smaller
actions, such as Falkland Is, as well.
What difference to the outcome of a Fleet battle would these men  have made??  Or would they indeed have made any difference at
all??   These battles were fought using director controlled firing – all of the NGSM’s were won by sight firing. They could see the
target(s). At Jutland, due to extreme distances & weather conditions the Grand & High Seas fleet never came into visual contact,
both sides knew what they were shooting at but due to poor visibility & distance they could not see the enemy ships!
What did these NGSM winners think & feel on the day that they were prepared for & waiting for their entire careers?? What went on
in their minds that day?????
The Family Frame                                                                                         Arthur Junior's medals can be seen here