Henry (Harry) Tipper
|Egypt 1882-89, dated, no clasp (H. TIPPER A.B. H.M.S. "ACHILLES".)
Born at West Derby (now part of Liverpool) Lancashire on 24
November 1858, Harry was the seventh of nine children of Ralph
and Emma (nee Harris) His father was employed as a Porter with the
London & North Western Railway, at Waterloo Station in
Liverpool.His mother died when Harry was 10.
Harry joined the navy as a boy 2cl in October 1874, one month
before his 16th birthday. His Service Record shows his trade as
a Plumber. He served on Ganges until 1876, Resistance for a year
and then in 1877 he served on HMS Agincourt. After a refit in
1875 Agincourt was commissioned again in July 1877 as flagship
of Rear Admiral Sir John Commerell VC the second-in-command of
the Mediterranean Fleet. This was at a time when Russia and
Turkey were at war and the British government decided, in
February 1878, to send a squadron off Constantinople to deter
the Russians. Six ships of the Mediterranean Fleet, including
Agincourt, passed through the Dardanelles and anchored off the
Golden Horn. In Jan. 1879 Captain Alexander Buller assumed
command and from February to May she visited: Sicily , Cyprus ,
Crete Malta and Palermo before returning to Plymouth Sound in
Following this, he served on HMS Achilles from September 1880
first as an OS and then on August 1, 1881 he was promoted to AB.
He continued on the ship until January 1883 and at that time he
was discharged by Purchase. The payment being £12. The medal
roll indicates that his medal was sent to him on October 28, 1885.
In 1888, his father Ralph emigrated to Winnipeg in Canada and
Harry and three of his siblings went with him. In the 1891 Census,
Harry and two of his brothers are identified as "Mariners"
By the time of the 1901 census, Harry is living with his older
brother Alfred and his occupation is that of a Smith Helper. His
occupation listed in a 1905 Shipping passenger list was that of
His entry in the 1911 census shows him to be living with a different
brother, Ralph with whom he would later emigrate to the U.S. in
1913. He settled in Seattle with his brother and by 1920 he and
Ralph were living in Tacoma and working in a Shipyard as fitters.
I can find no further census information but at some point Harry
moved back to Canada and settled in North Vancouver where he
died aged 84 on Dec. 7, 1942. His two elder brothers died in
North Vancouver in 1922 and 1934 respectively and since he
doesn't appear to have drifted too far from them he could have
returned to Canada in the early twenties.
Harry seems to have made it a habit of lying about his age and in
most of the census or other documentation he understates his actual
age. When we swore allegiance to the U.S. for example he added 6
years to the year of his birth.
When she was launched in 1863 at the Royal
Dockyard, Chatham, the Ironclad Achilles was
described as the largest ship in the world.
HMS Achilles 1863
"This is, or soon will be, the Achilles, iron
armour-plated ship. Twelve hundred men are
working at her now; twelve hundred men working
on stages over her sides, over her bows, over her
stern, under her keel, between her decks, down in
her hold, within her and without, crawling and
creeping into the finest curves of her lines
wherever it is possible for men to twist. Twelve
hundred hammerers, measurers, caulkers,
armourers, forgers, smiths, shipwrights, twelve
hundred dingers, clashers, dongers, rattlers,
clonkers, bangers, bangers, bangers!"
Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveller,