PHILLIPS, Smith Charles Albert "Bert"

Display Number:  1603  
Name:  Phillips  Smith Charles Albert "Bert"
Rank:  Able Seaman Service Number:  J6999
Date Joined:  ca. 1910 Date Discharged:  1923

Bert Phillips had an adventurous career in the Royal Navy, joining the submarine service in 1910, when the service was still in it's infancy. He served initially in B and D class submarines and qualified as a Leading Torpedo Man. In 1915 he was in the submarine E9, based at a Russian port in the Baltic, when she intercepted the large German cruiser Prinz Adalbert with Bert firing the torpedo that sank her. While operating in the Baltic, the submarine sunk eight merchant ships. For his exploits Bert was awarded the Russian Order of St George. By 1916 he had returned to the United Kingdom, now serving in the submarine E18, where in part of the operations around the Battle of Jutland, his submarine suffered an engine malfunction and was forced to surface. German aircraft bombed bombed her and Phillips was blown into the water, spending four hours there. He came to New Zealand in 1921 as part of the ship's company of HMS Chatham. Taking his discharge ashore in 1923, he spent his final years farming in Dannevirke.


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Medal Description (Left to Right):  
  • 1914-15 Star - Awarded to servicemen and servicewomen who served between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 in any "theatre of war", provided they had not qualified for the 1914 Star. Those eligible for the medal must have 'served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war' during the relevant dates of operations in that area. This included service in Gallipoli (25 April 1915 - 31 December 1915), Egypt (5 November 1914 - 31 December 1915) and service during the capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914.
  • British War Medal - Recognises the successful conclusion of the First World War. Its coverage was later extended to recognise service until 1920, recognising mine clearing operations at sea, and participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian.
  • Victory Medal - Was issued to all those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star, and to most persons who had already qualified for the British War Medal. It was awarded to all New Zealand troops serving overseas, except for those who arrived in Samoa after 30 August 1914 and those serving in Great Britain only. It is also sometimes referred to as the "Allied War Medal", because the same basic design and double rainbow ribbon were adopted by 13 other allied nations.
  • Cross of St George - A Russian medal that could be awarded to foreign servicemen. It was awarded to Albert Phillips for work he undertook in the Baltic Sea.