Reginald Francis GRIMLEY

GRIMLEY, Reginald Francis

Service Number: 586
Enlisted: 24 October 1912
Last Rank: Able Seaman
Last Unit: HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot)
Born: Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, 24 August 1887
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Career Naval Rating
Died: 23 June 1955, aged 67 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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Non Warlike Service

24 Oct 1912: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Boy, 2nd class, 586, HMAS Tingira, Enlisted in Sydney New South Wales

World War 2 Service

24 Oct 1912: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, 586, HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot)

Non Warlike Service

15 Oct 1913: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Boy, 1st Class, 586, HMAS Sydney (I) - WW1

World War 1 Service

24 Aug 1914: Promoted Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, HMAS Sydney (I) - WW1
9 Nov 1914: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, 586, HMAS Sydney (I) - WW1, Sinking of German Raider SMS Emden by HMAS Sydney off Cocos Keeling Islands Indian Ocean

World War 2 Service

23 Aug 1949: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, 586, HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot)

The Emden Silver Pesa

Reginald GRIMLEY's medal set includes a medal fashioned from a Mexican Silver Pesa.

These were Unofficial medals made from a silver Mexican dollar (pesa) and surmounted by a King's crown and scroll. The obverse of the dollar shows an eagle surrounded by a wreath and the words 'REPUBLICA MEXICANA'. The scrolls on the fitting above read 'NOV 1914' and 'HMAS.SYDNEY.SMS.EMDEN'. The reverse of the coin shows a liberty cap surrounded by stylised sun rays. Treasury details are located around the rim. The reverse of the fitting is marked with the maker's name, 'W.KERR SYDNEY' and engraved with the owners name.

Mexican dollar commemorating HMAS 'Sydney' and SMS 'Emden'. Obverse: An eagle, a snake held in its beak and talons, poised on a prickly pear. Legend: 'REPUBLICA MEXICANA'. Reverse: The cap of liberty, rays proceeding from it inscribed: 'LIBERTAD'. Legend: '8 R . ZS . 1894. F . Z . 10DS . 20 GS'. Set in a mount by W. Kerr with a crown and ring and bands engraved with the names of the two ships and date. On suspension bands: Obverse: 'NOV 9 1914 HMAS . SYDNEY . SMS . EMDEN.'

Following the capture of SMS 'Emden' by HMAS 'Sydney' off the Cocos Islands on 9th November 1914, 6,429 Mexican dollars were seized which were being carried on board as cash. 1, 000 were converted into medals with the addition of a clasp. Some were presented to the captain and crew of 'Sydney', the Admiralty and other public bodies in Australia. The remainder were sold to the public, the profits going to the Royal Australian Navy Relief Fund.

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Reginald Francis Grimely, RAN

From an article on the web site of London Auction House Dix Noonan Webb (based on Reginald Grimley's service record) 

Reginald Francis Grimley was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on 24 August 1897. He entered the Royal Australian Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on Tingira on 24 October 1912. On 15 October 1913 he was posted to the cruiser Sydney with the rank of Boy 1st Class and was advanced to Ordinary Seaman 2nd Class on 24 August 1914. In that capacity he was serving on the Sydney when she engaged and overcame the German light cruiser Emden on 9 November 1914. Remaining on the Sydney, he was advanced to Ordinary Seaman in August 1915 and Able Seaman in September 1916, finally leaving the vessel in September 1917. He spent the last year of the war as an A.B. on the Encounter, January 1918-June 1919. Grimley was advanced to Acting Leading Seaman when on the Adelaide in July 1927 and was confirmed at that rating in July 1928 when on the Anzac. In December 1930 he was awarded the L.S. & G.C. Medal when on the Albatross. He transferred to the Auxiliary Services as a Boatman in August 1939 and was awarded the Second Award bar to his L.S. & G.C. Medal in 1946. Latterly employed with the recruiting service, he was pensioned in 1952 and died on 23 June 1955.

The famous action took place on 9 November 1914 when the 2nd Class Cruiser H.M.A.S. Sydney encountered the German Light Cruiser S.M.S. Emden off the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. In a short but spectacular career in the Indian Ocean the Emden (Captain Karl von Müller) had bombarded Madras and captured or sunk some 23 allied vessels including a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer. In action with the Sydney, the slower and outgunned Emden was eventually beached in a wrecked condition on North Keeling Island.