DORSET, Allen Maxwell "Max" "Boy", DSM

Display Number:  1411  
Name:  Dorset  Allen Maxwell "Max" "Boy"
Rank:  Leading Electric Mech Service Number:  NZD1529
Date Joined:  5th October 1937 Date Discharged:  31st March 1952

"Max" Dorset joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1937 as a Seaman Boy 2nd Class. His first ship was the cruiser HMS Leander. In October 1938 he was posted to HMS Achilles by which time his rating had been advanced to Boy 1st Class. He was serving on her at the Battle of the River Plate on 13th December 1939. During the battle '"Boy" Dorset behaved with exemplary coolness, despite the carnage around him. He passed information to the guns and repeated their reports clearly' for the gunnery officers information. He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for his actions during the battle. He served aboard Leander again from 1941 to 1943, then ashore in HMNZS Philomel for the remainder of the war. Post war he went to sea for the last time on the cruiser HMNZS Bellona from 1947 to 1948. He left the RNZN in 1952. Known as "Max", he was universally called "Boy" Dorset during his time in the service, irrespective of his age and rating, for his actions at the Battle of the River Plate.  


Link to full profile  
Medal Description (Left to Right):  
  • Distinguished Service Medal 1938-1949 - Instituted in 1914 for senior and junior ratings in the Navy. Awarded for acts of bravery in the face of the enemy for which the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was not considered appropriate. 
  • 1939-1945 Star - Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
  • Atlantic Star - Awarded to personnel who served an additional 6 months in Home (United Kingdom), Atlantic or North Russian waters after first qualifying for the 1939-45 Star. The ribbon is water silk coloured blue, white and green. These colours symbolise service in the Atlantic Ocean, and in UK and North Russian waters.
  • Pacific Star - The Pacific Star was awarded for operational service in the Pacific between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.It was also awarded for certain specified service in China and Malaya (8 December 1941 - 15 February 1942), Hong Kong (8 December 1941 - 25 December 1941) and Sumatra (8 December 1941- 23 March 1942). The Green stripes on the ribbon symbolise the jungle while the central yellow stripe symbolises the beach. The outer red stripes symbolise the Army while the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy and the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force.
  • War Medal - Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag.
  • New Zealand War Service Medal - Awarded for 28 days' full time service or six months' part time service in any of the New Zealand Armed Forces, the New Zealand National Military Reserve or the Home Guard between 3 September  1939 and 2 September 1945. Eligible part time Home Guard Personnel must have completed their six months' part time service between 16 August 1940 and 1 January 1944 (the Home Guard was disbanded in December 1943). It was the first distinctively 'New Zealand' war service medal, which was emphasised by the use of the fern leaf motif on the suspender and the reverse of the medallion, and the national colours of black and white on the ribbon.