William Henry Chaston
Egypt and Sudan Medal 1882-1889, reverse dated 1882, 1 Clasp: Gemaizah 1888;
William Henry Chaston was born on 4th September 1863 in Kelsale,
Suffolk, and worked as a butcher before joining the Royal Navy as a Boy
2nd Class (No.107722) aboard the boys training ship H.M.S. Boscawen
from 11th February 1879, being then advanced to Boy 1st Class on 17th
March 1880, and posted aboard the iron screw frigate H.M.S. Inconstant
from 25th August 1880, he was rated as Ordinary Seaman on 4th
September 1881, and seeing service with the Detached Squadron and as
such was in time to take part in this Squadron's world cruise.

Chaston aboard Inconstant, left Spithead on 17th October 1880,
travelling to Vigo - Portugal where she was in port from 24th to 31st
October, and then on to Madeira, where she was from 6th to 10th
November, before sailing to Saint Vincent in the West Indies, where
she was in port for one dat, 20th November, and then on to Montevideo,
Uraguay, and was in port there from 22nd December 1880 to 9th
January 1881. Travelling to the Falkland Islands where she stopped
from 24th to 25th January, and then on to the Cape of Good Hope where
she was from 16th February to 9th April, her crew were as such involved
in the First Anglo Boer War, albeit briefly, as she then travelled to
Australia, stopping at Melbourne on 22nd May, Adelaide on 9th July,
and then Sydney from 14th July to 9th August, followed by Brisbane
from 16th to 20th August, and then out into the Pacific, stopping at Fiji
from 3rd to 10th September, and Yokohama, Japan from 21st October
to 1st November, and Kobe from 4th to 12th November, and then
Shimoseki, Russia, from 14th to 16th November, and Shanghai, China
on 23rd November, followed by Amoy on 15th December, and Hong
Kong from 20th December 1881 through to 11th February 1882, followed
by Singapore on 2nd March, Anjer, Java from 6th to 8th March, She
left Cape Town on 16th May and suffered a severe fire which caused
a 3 week delay in her arrival in the Mediterranean.

As a result, she was late for the bombardment of the Alexandrian forts.
She took on ammunition for the ships off Alexandria and assisted in the
operations. Consequently, the men on board were entitled to the Egypt
medal (without clasp)
HMS Inconstant

HMS Racer
Chaston was then posted to the flagship of the Port
Admiral at Portsmouth, H.M.S. Duke of Wellington
from 17th November 1882, and then the central
battery ironclad H.M.S. Hercules from 11th January
1883, he was advanced to Able Seaman on 27th
November 1883, and then posted to the gunnery
school H.M.S. Excellent from 28th February 1884,
followed by the torpedo school H.M.S. Vernon from
3rd October 1884, and then to the torpedo school
H.M.S. Defiance from 27th February 1885.

Chaston was next posted aboard the 8 gun gun
vessel H.M.S. Racer from 30th April 1885, and
was promoted to Leading Seaman on 27th January
1888, and then to Petty Officer 2nd Class and 2nd
Captain of the Main Top on 14th November 1888,
and when operating of the coast of Egypt and the
Sudan, he was one of the crew landed at Suakin,
who then served ashore with the Naval Detachment
at the battle of Gemaizah on 20th December 1888,
he being one of 3 men from HMS Inconstant who
were among the 30 men to gain the clasp Gemaizah
1888 to the Egypt Medal, having been previous
recipient's of the medal. Additionally,
approximately 60 men from HMS Racer received
the medal for the first time (named to HMS Racer) .
In addition a small number of medals were issued to
men from HMS Starling and to the Khedive's vessel
'Noor-El-Bahr' making this is a scarce clasp to the

Chaston was posted back to Vernon from 11th May
1889, and was then retitled solely as Petty Officer
2nd Class on 1st July 1889, and was retitled as
Petty Officer 2nd Class and Leading Torpedo
Officer on 18th July 1889, being then posted back
to Excellent from 14th October 1889, and Vernon
again from 30th January 1890, followed by the
battleship H.M.S. Audacious from 1st April 1890,
being rerated as Leading Torpedo Officer on the
same date, and then promoted to Petty Officer 1st
Class 1st May 1890, and pensioned ashore on 3rd
September 1891.

Shortly after leaving the service he became a coal
porter and on April 3, 1892, he married Lucy Jane
Adams who was 9 years his junior.  The marriage
took place at All Saints Church, Newington, (the
church was later destroyed in World War 2.)  By
the time of the 1911 census, William and Lucy had 9
children and all eleven  were sharing a house of 5
rooms at 25 Blackwood Street in South East London.

William Henry Chaston died on May 23, 1917 aged
only 54.

Provenance:  Bonhams July 2014