ROYAL NAVY L.S. & G.C., V.R., narrow suspension
(Thos. M. Howe, Sick Bth. Stewd. H.M.S. Hibernia)

Thomas Millman Howe was born at Devonport, Devon, on
18 September 1843, and joined the Royal Navy on 10
February 1858, as a Boy 2nd Class, aged 14 years. He
was pensioned ashore in January 1882 and served a total
of 23 years 11 months. He received his medal in 1875.

His naval career began with
HMS Impregnable and
ended on
HMS Royal Adelaide he served in various
stations including a period on
HMS Sutlej, a
Constance-class 50-gun fourth-rate frigate, in the
Pacific from 1865-66. Notably, in 1865, when the
was docked at San Francisco, one-third of her
crew took the opportunity to desert. Following this he
served for 3 years on
HMS Zealous.

He appears in the 1891 census married to Annie and living
in Devon with his wife and two sons John and Arthur. At
that time he is shown as a licensed victualler. His entry in
the 1901 census at 19, Prince Of Wales Inn, Courtenay
Street, Wolborough, Newton Abbot, shows that in
addition to Annie, Arthur is still living at home
accompanied by his wife. In the 1911 census he is a
widower living with his son Arthur. He died in Newton
Abbot in 1917 aged 74

HMS Hibernia was a 110-gun first rate ship of the line
of the Royal Navy. She was launched at Plymouth
dockyard on 17 November 1804. She was flagship of the
British Mediterranean Fleet from 1816 until 1855, when
she became the flagship for the Royal Navy's base at
Malta and stationed in Grand Harbour.
Approximately 4,500 engraved medals were issued
between March 1875 and March 1877. The were engraved
by Hunt and Roskell at a price of one shilling a piece.
John Pinches took over the contract using a machine to
impress the naming at a cost of sixpence a piece.
HMS Zealous was launched on 7 March 1864 and commissioned in
September 1866, but was not completed until 4 October 1866.

She sailed for the west coast of Canada shortly after she was completed.
Upon her arrival the ship became the flagship, and reached her
operational base at Esquimalt in July 1867 (Esquimalt was the
headquarters of the Pacific Station); she remained moored there, at the
end of a telegraph link with Britain, until April 1869. During this time her
only sea service was for gunnery practice on two days every quarter.

As coal was extremely expensive on the West Coast of the Americas,
HMS Zealous generally used her sails and covered more miles under sail
than any of the other Victorian sailing ironclads, and in her whole career
never once travelled in company with another ironclad. She was also the
first British ironclad to sail further from Britain than the Mediterranean.